The valedictorian at Brigham Young University, a conservative university affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came out as gay in his commencement speech, saying he is “proud to be a gay son of God.”
In his speech, Matt Easton, a political science major, congratulated his classmates on their achievement, reflecting on those who overcame odds or obstacles in their lives, and recounting some of his personal victories, including surviving hernia surgery following a car accident and dealing with his mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis.
“It was in these quiet moments of pain and confusion that I felt another triumph, that of coming to terms, not with who I thought I should be, but who the Lord has made me,” Easton said. “As such, I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God.”
The audience cheered and applauded Easton, who later told the Salt Lake Tribunethat coming out was “a phenomenal feeling, and it is a victory for me in and of itself.”
Easton later share several clips of his speech on Twitter, saying he had already come out to his closest friends and family, but felt it was important to share his story publicly, both for himself and for other LGBTQ students at BYU.
BYU is known for urging its students to adhere to the tenets of the Mormon faith, which has not always been accepting towards the LGBTQ community.
BYU’s Honor Code Office has been criticized for investigating and punishing students, particularly LGBTQ ones, who they believe have violated the school’s code of conduct.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.