LOCAL NEWS

Gay BYU Student Comes Out In Valedictorian Speech

Apr 29, 2019, 2:36 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:10 pm
FILE: BYU logo....
FILE: BYU logo.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) — A gay student who came out during a valedictorian speech at Brigham Young University has earned applause and admiration from fellow students and notable figures like actress Kristin Chenoweth and the husband of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.

Matt Easton said Monday he hopes his decision helps ease loneliness felt by other LGBTQ students at the institution where an honor code forbids dating between 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 LGBTQ members can achieve.

“We deserve to have our voices be heard,” Easton, 24, said.

The political science major said only a few people knew about his sexuality 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 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 toward a more compassion 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 that advocates said were particularly demeaning and hurtful.

The faith’s balancing act hasn’t always been smooth, with some initiatives raising hopes among LGBTQ members and others leaving them deflated. 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, and said he’s gotten personal support from people who knew about his sexuality.

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

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

Next up, he’s planning to plant a vegetable garden with his sister and his niece and will take the big questions one day at a time.

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

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Americans are using their credit cards more often as the economy opens....
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: The key to saving money on your credit card bills

More Utahns are carrying debt, but the thing is – many of those folks have no idea how much interest they are paying on their debt.
1 day ago
...
Matt Rascon

Man chases teens after shots fired at Taylorsville High

As parents and neighbors reacted to gunshots heard from the Taylorsville parking lot, one man ran towards the school.
1 day ago
Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

Tragedy to triumph: how a Utah family is honoring their son

The heartwarming way a Utah family is honoring the life of their son while helping others.
1 day ago
Mike Hayes says he noticed changes when he started intermittent fasting...
Ayanna Likens

The health benefits of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular and health experts say there are some benefits to it.
1 day ago
...
Candice Madsen

GM for Tabernacle Choir Retires after 21 Years

“For 21 years I’ve been part of the magic and I still pinch myself,” Scott Barrick said.
1 day ago
(GoFundMe)...
Ladd Egan

‘Ball of fire’: Utah man severely burned during backyard accident with gasoline

A Utah man suffered severe burns to his hands and face while trying to start a fire in his backyard fire pit.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Gay BYU Student Comes Out In Valedictorian Speech