A valedictorian at a Mormon college used their graduation ceremony speech as an opportunity to come out.
On 26 April, Matty Easton attended his graduation ceremony at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, United States and declared he was “proud” to be gay during an inspirational speech.
Easton, who studied Political Science at the Mormon college, shared a video of the speech on YouTube, where it has already racked up over 20,000 views in just a couple of days.
“I stand before my family, friends, and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God,” he said to applause and cheering from the crowd.
“I am not broken. I am loved and important in the plan of our great creator. Each of us are.
“Four years ago, it would have been impossible for me to imagine that I would come out to my entire college. It is a phenomenal feeling.”
During the six-minute speech, Easton also shared how his mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer during his studies and the experience had taught him “how to cherish and who to cherish.”
“Thank you to all those who have expressed love and support”
Following the online response to his speech, Easton took to Twitter to say how he was “overwhelmed by the reaction to my words today (in the best way possible!) Thank you to all those who have expressed love and support. It means everything.”
He further added: “During my time at BYU, I have slowly come out to my closest family members and friends. However, this is the first time I have publicly declared it.
“I felt it was important to share both for myself and for the LGBTQ+ community at BYU.”
BYU students are prohibited from ‘homosexual behaviour’
The honor code for BYU states that while “one’s stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue,” all students are required to “manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity.
“Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”
Rolling back on policies targeting LGBT+ people and their family members, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it would now allow baptisms for children of same-sex couples.