Brigham Young University student Matt Easton gave an epic speech at his college’s graduation ceremony when he announced publicly for the first time that he is gay.
In his speech, Easton, the Valedictorian for the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences at BYU, described that he was celebrating “a few of my own personal victories” during his time at the university.
The 24-year-old political science major included funny memories like getting hit by a deer while walking to class his freshman year and more serious moments like finding out his mother has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and how it led him to realize “how to cherish and who to cherish.”
He then described moments where he struggled with his own identity before announcing to the crowd, “I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God.”
Easton shared excerpts from his speech on Twitter, thanking those who supported him and adding, “I feel so so lucky to have had a chance to share some of my story with so many people.”
He also revealed that during his time at the school, he didn’t focus on some factors of his life as much as others.
“BYU has a very strict honor code, a lot of rules about homosexuality and being gay, so during my time at BYU my focus was almost entirely on my studies. I’m like, ‘I want to do well in school, I want to focus on my career and when the time is right, I’ll work on other aspects of myself.'”
He felt his speech was an opportunity for him to “focus on being more authentic. I thought I have this platform, I have this opportunity, and for me, this is what I want to do I want to finish my time and start this new chapter being as true to myself as I could,” he said.