BYU valedictorian comes out during graduation speech

National

A valedictorian at Brigham Young University told thousands he’s gay at a school convocation.

Now, he’s receiving praise and criticism about his announcement.

“Not many people are given a platform where they can speak in front of all their peers and these peers families,” Matt Easton the BYU Valedictorian said.

Not many people have graduated from college with a 4.0.

Matt Easton earned his degree in political science and deeply enjoyed doing it.

“Overall on the day to day, my experience at BYU was quite wonderful,” Easton said.

He’d done research projects, studied abroad, internships, sang in an a cappella group — There was really one thing Matt hadn’t done at BYU.

“I’ve never come out publicly before, I had to — only my close relatives and my close friends, not even all of my family knew,” Easton said.

They were about to.

Tasked by the school with writing a speech that was a celebration for all, he made a choice.

Friday morning was when the world would know.

“I have felt another triumph, that of coming to terms, not with who I thought I should be, but who the Lord has made me to be. As such I stand before the Lord, my family, my graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God.”

-Matt Easton, graduation speech.

“Absolutely I was nervous. I’m still a little nervous about it. You know there’s people that are telling me I went too far, people telling me I didn’t go far enough. Ultimately I had to do what felt right to me,” Easton said.

He’s still figuring out what feels right long term.

By itself, being gay is not in conflict with the teachings of the LDS church but having a homosexual relationship is.

Can he live the life he wants as a gay, Latter-day Saint?

“There comes a time when I’m going to have to start thinking about these questions you know? Am I going to get married? Am I going to have children? What are these pressure that my family and my parents want for me to do? Are they a reality for me? Um… those are some pretty hard questions and I don’t have the answers to all of them,” Easton said.

For today though, he says his newfound support network is enough to get started.

“I just felt more support from such a large body than I’ve ever felt before, and I think that everyone deserves to have that feeling,” Easton said.

Easton put his speech up on YouTube, where it has been viewed thousands of times.

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