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Student banned from giving graduation speech due to plans to come out as gay

Joseph McCormick May 30, 2015

A gay student in a Colorado school was banned from giving a graduation speech in which he came out as gay, just before his principal outed him to his parents.

18-year-old Evan Young had planned to come out as gay in his valedictorian speech at Twin Peaks charter academy high school in Longmont.

However, after a dispute with school administrators who asked him to remove the disclosure about his sexuality, Young was told he could not speak.

He said he was told a few minutes before he was due to speak at the graduation on 16 May that he would not be able to speak or be honoured as a valedictorian.

The school contested the claims saying that Young did not submit a revised version of his speech, despite him saying he took on board suggested changes.

However shortly before the ceremony, school principal PJ Buchmann called Young’s parents and explained that the speech was problematic.

During the phone call, he told Young’s parents that he planned to come out as gay, despite that they did not already know.

Don Young, Evan’s dad, said they were originally receptive to the comments about the speech, but that he and his wife were unhappy with the way the situation was handled.

The school district said in a statement that Young’s speech included comments ridiculing the faculty and other students.

The school’s attorney Barry Arrington said a graduation speech was not the time for Young to “push his personal agenda on a captive audience”.

Young has been offered the chance to deliver his speech by Out Boulder, an LGBT group.

More: boulder, Colorado, outing, principal, US

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