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

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:

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.