The valedictorian at Mormon university BYU came out as gay in his graduation speech

  • Matt Easton, the political science valedictorian at Brigham Young University, came out as gay during a convocation speech at Salt Lake City’s Marriott Center on Friday.
  • He said he was “proud to be a gay son of God” as he spoke at the graduation ceremony.
  • He said he opened up about this sexuality because it was “important to share both for myself and the LGBTQ+ community at BYU.”
  • Easton later said on Twitter that he had previously came out as gay to close family members and friends.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

A valedictorian at Brigham Young University came out as gay during his convocation speech.

Matt Easton, the Mormon university’s political science valedictorian, opened up about his sexuality at graduation on Friday, saying later on Twitter that it was “important to share both for myself and the LGBTQ+ community at BYU.”

“I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today, to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God,” Easton said in his speech at Salt Lake City’s Marriott Center.

His speech was met with cheers and applause from the crowd.

“Four years ago it would have been impossible for me to imagine that I would come out to my entire college,” he said. “It is a phenomenal feeling and it is a victory for me in and of itself.”

Dean Ogles, the dean of BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, told INSIDER that the dean’s office saw and approved Easton’s speech before the event.

Easton said on Twitter after giving the speech that he had already come out to family members and friends, but this was the first time he spoke about his sexuality publicly.

Easton was applauded for his speech online. Actress Kristin Chenoweth was among those who praised him.

BYU was founded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has a strict honour code that has been criticised in the past for punishing students, particularly LGBTQ students.

The code says that “same-gender attraction is not an Honour Code issue” but says the university requires “a strict commitment to the law of chastity.”

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“Homosexual behaviour is inappropriate and violates the Honour Code,” the university policy continues. “Homosexual behaviour includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints repealed a policy earlier this month that deemed same-sex married couples “apostates” and barring their children from being baptized.

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