Cheryl Chow has brain cancer and does not have much time left, but the former teacher, principal, Seattle City Council Member and School Board Member has one more task to do - she wants to come out.
“Parents and kids, don't be afraid of saying that you're gay. I was afraid for over 60 years and those 60 years were wasted,” she said.
Chow, 66, says she feared the reaction of the Chinese community and her mother, restaurateur and King County Councilmember, Ruby Chow, whom she wanted to please.
She said her mother, in fact, was one of the first owners in town to welcome gay organizations to her restaurant.
“However, that didn't mean that she wanted me to be gay,” said Chow.
Chow dove into public service - on the Seattle City Council, and the Seattle School Board. For nearly 50 years, she coached the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill team.
Last month on the Drill team's 60th Anniversary, she told the team about herself and her partner, Sarah.
“I wanted them to feel good about themselves and I wanted them to have a role model that wasn't afraid to say anymore. I'm gay and that's okay,” she said.
Asked if she still thinks she'll get some pushback from the Chinese community, Chow says,”No, they can't do anything to me now. What are they going to do, kill me?”
Chow and Sarah Morningstar, an assistant principal, have been together for 10 years. They began running marathons because training was a way for them to be together in public.
Last month, Chow became a second adoptive parent to Morningstar's daughter, 4-year-old Liliana. The family celebrated with a trip to Disneyland.
“She will be a Chow. She will be in the drill team. Yes! Yes! This we know,” said Chow.
They say the cancer has robbed them of their plans, but not their love for each other.
“I've never been more proud of her through this journey and if it brings her some peace sitting down here with you then I'm all for it.,” said Morningstar.
“If I can save one child from feeling bad or even committing suicide because they felt terrible because they were gay, then I would have succeeded in my last crusade,” said Chow.
Chow was honored by her beloved girls’ drill team earlier this month with a plaque and a ride in a convertible through the International District