BYU valedictorian comes out as gay during graduation speech

Despite the challenges associated with studying at the university, Easton also said that he "met incredible friends" and thanked faculty mentors who made him feel welcome.

Speaking to local media outlets after the headline-making ceremony, Easton, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA, said he had previously come out only to some family members and close friends, but felt it was important to do it in a public forum for the sake of the LGBTQ community at his school.

"Four years ago it would have been impossible to imagine that I would come out to my entire college, it is a phenomenal feeling", he said.

"I stand before my family, friends, and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God", he said.

"Not many people are given a platform where they can speak in front of all their peers and these peers' families", he said.

"I'm still a little nervous about it".

"I know that kid is going to make it easier for somebody else", Mr Buttigieg, who is also gay, reportedly told BuzzFeed News. "Ultimately I had to do what felt right to me", Easton said.

"I am proud to be a gay son of God", he told the crowd as cheers of support erupted.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that being attracted to members of the same sex isn't a sin but acting on those feelings, including being in a gay relationship, is sinful.

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Two weeks before the speech, Easton said in an interview, he was required to submit it to the university for vetting, and it was approved as delivered, with no changes. Am I going to get married?

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

"It's been hard at BYU, I'm not going to lie". What are these pressure that my family and my parents want for me to do?

"I really tried to focus on taking the opportunity to celebrate a lot of people and groups on campus who don't always have their voices heard".

Easton graduated with a ideal 4.0 grade point index.

Easton says finding support after coming out publicly is enough to get started.

"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 policy reads.

Easton tweeted later that evening: "I am grateful to @byu_fhss for allowing me to share my authentic and vulnerable self to so many in our college".

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