Matt Easton, a political science valedictorian and practicing Mormon at Brigham Young University came out as gay on Friday in a speech to the entire college.
Said Easton, to cheers: “I stand before my family, friends, and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God. 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,” he added. “It is a phenomenal feeling. And it is a victory for me in and of itself.”
Reports Quartz: ‘It is hard to overstate to what extent this speech is historic—and brave. Though openly LGBT students may attend BYU, located in Provo, Utah, its restrictive honor code forbids “homosexual behavior” and “all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” Acting on these feelings can, and does, result in expulsion from the university. (Heterosexual couples found to have engaged in “sexual touching” also face punishment, which may include mandatory worship, being placed on probation, or having their diplomas withheld.)’
Easton tweeted later that evening: “I am grateful to @byu_fhss for allowing me to share my authentic and vulnerable self to so many in our college. 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.”