Matt Easton, Valedictorian of Utah's Brigham Young University's class of 2019, made a very brave choice for his speech—he came out as gay in a speech that acknowledged the achievements of his peers, and himself.
Brigham Young University is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is not known for its acceptance of LGBTQ+ folks.
The school has an honor code that has led to the punishment of LGBTQ+ students in the past, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Easton spoke about his personal battles in coming to terms with his identity, and his journey to self-acceptance.
"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."
"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."
This personal growth took time, and some serious soul-searching, but it was worth it in the end.
"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 and it is a victory for me in and of itself."
You can view his full speech below:
BYU 2019 FHSS Valedictorian Speech www.youtube.com
Matt also posted some clips of the speech to Twitter, where he recieved overwhelming support.
Thank you everyone for your love and support today ❤️ I feel so so lucky to have had a chance to share some of my s… https://t.co/eC45m8T1E5— Matty Easton (@Matty Easton)1556337242.0
I am feeling overwhelmed by the reaction to my words today (in the best way possible!) Thank you to all those who h… https://t.co/WCMoOjTwgE— Matty Easton (@Matty Easton)1556337553.0
During my time at BYU, I have slowly come out to my closest family members and friends. However, this is the first… https://t.co/srPXuKoVkE— Matty Easton (@Matty Easton)1556337554.0
@easton_matty Good for you! Always be true to yourself!— Susan Smith (@Susan Smith)1556551600.0
@easton_matty Congratulations Matty! https://t.co/sVzkRy5mLP— Secular Students (@Secular Students)1556388788.0
@easton_matty good for you Matty. All the best for a lifetime of success. Kudos for being yourself. It will inspire others.— David #FBPE #FBR 🇨🇦🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@David #FBPE #FBR 🇨🇦🇬🇧🇺🇸)1556455994.0
@easton_matty Congratulations! Blaze down your path in full color! 🏳️🌈🏳️🌈🏳️🌈— Lance Mace (@Lance Mace)1556434299.0
@easton_matty TY for your inspiring speech. I live for the day that no one has to ever worry about coming out...tha… https://t.co/OGxg9Snu9c— Sue for AZ via OR (@Sue for AZ via OR)1556416778.0
Coming out is always a complicated, and often a scary, process. Kudos to Matt for choosing to be his authentic self even when faced with such a possibility of adversity.