A Mormon College Student Came Out During His Valedictorian Speech. He Was Inspired by Mayor Pete.

“I am proud to be a gay son of God,” BYU student Matthew Easton declared.

Wolterk / Getty

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A valedictorian at Brigham Young University, which is owned by the Mormon Church, was not expecting applause for a revelation he made during his commencement address. But when Matthew Easton told the graduating class of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, “I am proud to be a gay son of God,” the audience let out whoops of support.

Even though the church does not allow same-sex marriage, Easton’s dean’s office supported his announcement, telling him to “go for it,” according to the Washington Post.

“I am not broken,” Easton said. “I am loved and important to the plan of our great Creator. Each of us are.”

Easton, the valedictorian of BYU’s political science department, said that inspiration from Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg helped him reconcile his sexuality with his faith. “That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me,” Buttigieg said earlier this month in a speech to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Easton believes that the positive response to his coming out reflects a societal shift toward accepting LGBTQ identities among religious communities.

“My generation, and even more so the generation after me, we’re changing the way we talk about our identity and who we are,” Easton told the Washington Post. “It’s okay to be different, or not fit the norm. When I started at BYU, I didn’t think that. I thought that I had to be what everyone before me was. I do feel from my own experience that this is changing, or maybe I’m changing. I hope that our country, my faith, my community will follow in a similar fashion.”

Listen to the rest of his commencement address here:

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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