Gay BYU student comes out in valedictorian speech

Combined Shape

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A student who came out as gay during a valedictorian speech at Mormon-owned Brigham Young University has drawn praise from fellow students and notable figures such as Kristin Chenoweth and the husband of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

Matt Easton, 24, said Monday he hopes his decision helps ease loneliness felt by other LGBTQ students at the institution where an honor code forbids dating among members of the same sex.

“I hope they can know they’re not alone in the ways that sometimes I’ve felt alone at BYU, to know there’s support for them and they’re not broken,” he said.

It could also show other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the success that LGBTQ members can achieve, he said.

“We deserve to have our voices be heard,” Easton said.

Trending:
CNN's Don Lemon Fails to Get Guest to Take 'Bait,' Instead Gets Contradicted on Slavery

The political science major said only a few people knew about his sexual orientation before Friday, when he spoke the words, “I am proud to be a gay son of God” in a speech pre-approved by college officials.

Video of the speech posted online sparked accolades from Chenoweth, who tweeted her love and support as a straight Christian woman and Chasten Buttigieg, who responded with “Bravo!”

The church has a doctrinal opposition to same-sex marriage and intimacy, though the faith has gradually adopted a more compassionate stance. It said in 2016 that homosexuality itself is not a sin, and LGBTQ members have a valued place.

This month, the church reversed policies banning baptisms for children of gay parents. Advocates had called the policies demeaning and hurtful.

At BYU, hundreds of students rallied April 12, calling on officials to be more compassionate with violations of the honor code, which also bans drinking and premarital sex.

Easton, a Utah native and lifelong member of the faith, spoke glowingly about his academic and spiritual experience at BYU. He said he has gotten personal support from people who knew he is gay.

But he said there’s still a long way to go, like the school allowing an official club to support LGTBQ students. BYU didn’t immediately comment on Monday.

Easton said it’s only been in the past four years that he’s come to terms with being gay, and he’s still figuring out how he’ll reconcile it with his faith as he takes his first post-college job as a data analyst in Salt Lake City.

For now, though, he plans to plant a vegetable garden with his sister and his niece and will take the big questions one day at a time.

Related:
Police Respond to Simultaneous Mass Shooting and Fire in Maryland Neighborhood

“I wish I had all the answers to it and I don’t,” he said. “I take a day at a time and focus on my relationship with my family and God.”

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →






We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation