A Brigham Young University valedictorian came out as gay in a powerful commencement speech that celebrated personal victories for classmates ― and his own.
Matty Easton said he persevered through battles with his creator over his identity.
“It was in these quiet moments of pain and confusion that I felt another triumph, that of coming to terms, not with who I thought I should be, but who the Lord has made me,” Easton told fellow graduates in the ceremony on Friday. (Watch above.) “As such, I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God.”
Cheers and applause followed.
“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.”
Among those praising his speech was the actress Kristin Chenoweth, who tweeted: “I stand beside you!! I say to you: YOU ARE LOVED!!!!!”
Easton, a 24-year-old political science major, had previously come out to family and friends.
BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has a strict honor code that has resulted in the punishment of LGBTQ students, the Salt Lake Tribune noted.
The church recently repealed a policy that considered same-sex married couples “apostates,” thus allowing their children to be baptized.
A former BYU student who portrayed the school’s sports mascot Cosmo the Cougar recently came out as gay.