A student was met with applause and a standing ovation when he came out as gay during an assembly at an elite Catholic school in Australia.
Finn Stannard, 17, publicly revealed he is gay in front of around 1,500 other students during the assembly at St. Ignatius’ College in Sydney.
The footage of the moment, taken in June, was published by SBS News on Monday (November 26).
Finn Stannard: “Announcing yourself to the world is pretty terrifying”
In the video, Stannard said: “Announcing yourself to the world is pretty terrifying because what if the world doesn’t like you?”
He discussed his own struggles with his sexuality and came out publicly as gay to the room of his fellow classmates.
“While my family handled the news of my sexual identity perfectly, outside of home, being gay has not always been easy.”
“Life was easier living as the straight eldest son,” Stannard said in the video.
“I had spent so long behind the façade of a confident, heterosexual man that I wasn’t sure if I knew how to be me.”
St. Ignatius’ College counts a number of prominent individuals among its ex-students, including former prime minister Tony Abbott, who opposed equal marriage in Australia.
Stannard posted about the moment on Facebook on Monday (November 26).
“I had the privilege and support of my school, my teachers, my friends and family to proudly stand before my peers and tell my story,” he wrote.
Stannard added: “My message to everyone is that you should never feel alone or scared because of who you are. Be yourself, be proud, and always accept others for who they truly are.”
The student even took his boyfriend to the school formal.
Finn Stannard says his family reacted “perfectly” when he came out as gay
In the video, Stannard said his family has been supportive of him ever since he came out as gay.
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His mother told SBS News: “I was in tears. We’re just so proud of him, so proud of the school, and so proud of the boys. It was truly special occasion.”
However, Stannard added that he has been taunted for his sexuality.
“While my family handled the news of my sexual identity perfectly, outside of home, being gay has not always been easy. I have been the subject of countless rumours and unpleasant jokes,” he said.
“Being different, whether it’s being gay or being part of another minority group, can be challenging but it does not have to be scary and isolating.”
This is the moment a gay student at one of Sydney’s most elite Catholic schools—that boasts former prime minister Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce among its alumni—stood up in a packed assembly hall of more than 1,500 students and came out pic.twitter.com/NyZxffFBmr
—SBS News (@SBSNews) November 26, 2018
Paul Hines, principal at St. Ignatius’ College, said Stannard’s speech was a “watershed” moment.
“I’m not sure anyone chooses their sexuality, that’s who they are and therefore we need to be open to that and to accept it and to make sure we live in communities of inclusion—and with that will come diversity,” Hines told SBS News.