The Brigham Young University valedictorian who came out as gay in his commencement speech made headlines.
Matthew Easton, the young man in question, stood in open defiance of Brigham Young University's strict honor code that saw the punishment of openly LGBTQ+ students when he came out in the face of peers and faculty.
BYU 2019 FHSS Valedictorian Speech www.youtube.com
In his speech, he dealt delicately with the pain of self-acceptance in the face of adversity:
"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."
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
I am grateful to @byu_fhss for allowing me to share my authentic and vulnerable self to so many in our college.— Matty Easton (@Matty Easton)1556337554.0
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
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… https://t.co/7QI3SsUxZM— Matty Easton (@Matty Easton)1556337554.0
I’m also especially grateful for the Poli Sci Dept @BYUPoliticalSci. I can’t even begin to name all the professors… https://t.co/2ysJHZBKmO— Matty Easton (@Matty Easton)1556337555.0
Ellen wasted no time in inviting Easton to her show to speak about his brave gesture.
Ellen Meets Inspiring Mormon Valedictorian www.youtube.com
"I'm trying to figure out my feelings, understand my faith, and on top of it...everybody is watching me," Easton said of his time at the school.
And then one single moment really brought Ellen (and the rest of us) to tears:
Easton talked about a student two years above him who came out on Facebook during his senior year, and due to the backlash from the Brigham Young University community, committed suicide.
"I saw him do that," he said.
"and I thought, 'Is that my future? Is that what I'm heading toward?' So I thought, if I came out at graduation, maybe a student like me—a freshman—gets to know that my future is something brighter. We can succeed. We can do what we want, accomplish our dreams."
@TheEllenShow @easton_matty Thank you for putting such incredibly brave and talented everyday people in your show. It always brings a smile.— SSH (@SSH)1557180857.0
@TheEllenShow @easton_matty I actually cried when he thought suicide would be in his future for being gay, like his… https://t.co/awvrtqTNjN— Rosie DeVita (@Rosie DeVita)1557191291.0
@TheEllenShow @easton_matty Everybody deserves to love who they want...weather it be male female, male male female… https://t.co/rhZeIwwEAN— Christine Duncan (@Christine Duncan)1557191056.0
@TheEllenShow @easton_matty Coming out is life changing in many ways. Some great and some challenging. Congrats on… https://t.co/KkUT17Mzbp— Major Tom to Ground Control (@Major Tom to Ground Control)1557180437.0
@TheEllenShow @easton_matty Not sure I could ever be that brave! #militarywife #duranieforlife #bekindtooneanother… https://t.co/RUmkOUEpBW— Anita Karr (@Anita Karr)1557183949.0
@TheEllenShow @easton_matty Everyone has a story🏳️🌈😁— KSHopkins 🌈Author (@KSHopkins 🌈Author)1557189334.0
Well, Easton is now setting his gaze to moving to DC eventually to put his chosen degree, political science, to work. Until then, he says he wants to "get involved" with the LGBTQ+ community in Salt Lake City.
And Ellen gave him $10,000 to start.
Don't make us cry like this, Ellen.
Incredible BYU graduate @easton_matty on @TheEllenShow living his best life! 🙌🎉 Let's remember that his best life… https://t.co/3Aq0p0ABmU— Kate *Abortion is healthcare* Kelly (@Kate *Abortion is healthcare* Kelly)1557241566.0
Watch our BYU political science valedictorian, @easton_matty, talk with Ellen about coming out in his convocation s… https://t.co/mDvn05ikSi— Adam Brown (@Adam Brown)1557172327.0
@easton_matty Hi Matt congratulation on all your success. I saw you on Ellen I'm so sad that the young man you wer… https://t.co/D9TyJLMFjy— kds13 (@kds13)1557170866.0
As a BYU PoliSci alum and sister with a gay brother this was really emotional for me to watch. Couldn't be prouder… https://t.co/tM7F89dqGv— Anna Bergevin (@Anna Bergevin)1557202680.0
@TheEllenShow @easton_matty You've got a great dad. I'm so happy for you Matty Easton.— Susan L. MacDonald (@Susan L. MacDonald)1557181445.0
We wish Matty the best on this new, and hopefully much more accepting, part of his life.