Brigham Young University valedictorian Matt Easton came out as gay during his commencement speech to the school’s College of Family, Home and Social Science.
“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,” the 24-year-old political science major said during his speech.
The speech was approved by school officials prior to commencement day.
Later, Easton posted a series of tweets explaining that he had already come out to his friends and family but this was the first time he had publicly come out.
“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,” Easton writes. While I don’t speak for everyone—my own experience is all I can vouch for—I hope that people know that we ARE here at BYU, and we’re not going anywhere anytime soon.”
While I don’t speak for everyone—my own experience is all I can vouch for—I hope that people know that we ARE here at BYU, and we’re not going anywhere anytime soon.— Matty Easton (@easton_matty) April 27, 2019
According to BYU’s Honor Code, gay students are allowed at the school but “homosexual behavior” is prohibited.
“Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code,” the university policy reads. “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.”
In an interview with 2KUTV, Easton says he was nervous to give the speech.
“Not many people are given a platform where they can speak in front of all their peers and these peers’ families,” Easton said. “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.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently reversed its policy on not allowing children of same-sex parents to get baptized. Previously, children had to wait until they were 18 years old. Now, they are allowed to be baptized in the church at 8 years old.