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Mormon graduate says he came out because a gay classmate died by suicide

Mormon graduate says he came out because a gay classmate died by suicide

Matthew Easton

The Mormon valedictorian who came out during his graduation has revealed what motivated him.

Matthew Easton, the Brigham Young University graduate, went viral last week after a video of him sharing his testimony with his classmates, friends and family.

‘I am proud to be a gay son of God,’ he said.

Easton said his university, that is dedicated to Mormon life, has an honor code that could have got him expelled if he came out earlier.

Graduate said he was inspired by gay classmate


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This valedictorian came out in front of his entire class at BYU. I couldn’t wait to talk to him. Tomorrow.

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‘I chose to honor a student named Harry Fisher,’ Easton said, on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

‘It was his last semester and he decided to come out on Facebook. And because of the rhetoric and sort of response that he got from our community, he actually ended up [dying by] suicide.’

He also said: ‘I thought, “Is that my future? Is that what I’m headed toward?” So I thought, if I came out at graduation, maybe a student like me, a freshman, could see, you know, my future is something brighter.

‘It’s something better. We can succeed. We can do what we want to accomplish, our dreams.’

In his speech, Eaton wanted to get across that he didn’t feel ‘broken’.

He also said: ‘I am not broken. I am loved and important in the plan of our great creator. Each of us are.’

Watch his speech in full below:

Mormon Church and LGBTI people

While LGBTI students can attend BYU, they can be banned from campus if they engage in ‘homosexual behavior’.

BYU attitude reflects a wider issue concerning LGBTI Mormons.

Earlier this month, the Mormon Church (also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) removed a ban on baptizing children of LGBTI parents.

However, the church still considers being in a same-sex relationship a ‘serious transgression’.

See also

LGBTI people born Mormon react to the rule changes on baptism, apostasy

This Mormon video on how a family should accept a gay son is going viral, but this is what they think in private

Mormon leader calls for including people of diverse ‘sexual attractions’