BYU valedictorian reveals he is gay during commencement speech

PROVO, Utah — A valedictorian at Brigham Young University revealed he was gay during a speech Friday at graduation, KUTV reported.

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Matt Easton, making a convocation speech for BYU’s College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, was met with applause from the audience.

“I stand before my family, friends, and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God,” said Easton, who is a political science major.

Easton said he told his closest friends and family members he was gay, but believed it was important to say it publicly -- for himself and the LGBTQ+ community, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Speaking Sunday with KUTV, Easton said he was nervous.

“Not many people are given a platform where they can speak in front of all their peers and these peers' families," Easton told the television station. "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.”

BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which earlier this month reversed a policy that called same-sex married couples "apostates" -- those who have abandoned their faith -- while barring their children from baby blessings and baptisms, the Tribune reported.

Easton said during his speech that four years ago, he believed it would have been impossible to come out, especially in front of a large crowd at graduation, KUER reported.

“Perhaps there are those of you who are here today who are afraid or uncertain about how to deal with the unique challenges you face,” Easton said during his speech. “I hope that my stories can serve as a reminder that BYU has given us the foundation to face difficult problems, both secular and spiritual and that through the Lord, all things are possible.”