An Australian student came out to his Catholic school during an assembly packed full of his classmates and teachers.
Finn Stannard was 17 when he shared his truth with more than 1,5000 people at St. Ignatius’ College, Riverview in Sydney. The school, founded in 1880 is a Jesuit day and boarding school for boys.
‘Announcing yourself to the world is pretty terrifying. What if the world doesn’t like you?’ he said in the speech.
‘Life was easier living as the straight eldest son. I had spent so long behind the façade of a confident, heterosexual man that I wasn’t sure if I knew how to be me.’
When he gave his speech, he was met with thunderous applause.
SBS News exclusively revealed video of the speech on 26 November.
This is the moment a gay student at one of Sydney’s most elite Catholic schools – that boasts former prime minister Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce among its alumni – stood up in a packed assembly hall of more than 1,500 students and came out pic.twitter.com/NyZxffFBmr
— SBS News (@SBSNews) November 26, 2018
Stannard said it was Australia’s vote to legalize marriage equality that gave him the confidence to deliver his speech.
Years of bullying and now support
In his speech, Stannard spoke of ‘countless rumours and unpleasant jokes’ lobbied his way while growing up. He also revealed the depression and anxiety he felt when people used the word ‘gay’ as a perjorative.
He said it made him feel like he would never be accepted.
‘Being different, whether it’s being gay or being part of another minority group, can be challenging but it does not have to be scary and isolating,’ he said to all listening.
‘Every single one of you can help, in your own way, by accepting others for exactly who they are.’
Stannard also said he had the support of both his family and school.
Principal Paul Hines stated: ‘I’m not sure anyone chooses their sexuality, that’s who they are and therefore we need to be open to that and to accept it and to make sure we live in communities of inclusion – and with that will come diversity.’
Earlier this month, Stannard took his boyfriend to the school formal.
He recently completed and received his Higher School Certificate and will begin university next year.
H/t: SBS News