A Mormon College Student Came Out During His Valedictorian Speech. He Was Inspired by Mayor Pete.

“I am proud to be a gay son of God,” BYU student Matthew Easton declared.

Wolterk / Getty

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

A valedictorian at Brigham Young University, which is owned by the Mormon Church, was not expecting applause for a revelation he made during his commencement address. But when Matthew Easton told the graduating class of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, “I am proud to be a gay son of God,” the audience let out whoops of support.

Even though the church does not allow same-sex marriage, Easton’s dean’s office supported his announcement, telling him to “go for it,” according to the Washington Post.

“I am not broken,” Easton said. “I am loved and important to the plan of our great Creator. Each of us are.”

Easton, the valedictorian of BYU’s political science department, said that inspiration from Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg helped him reconcile his sexuality with his faith. “That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me,” Buttigieg said earlier this month in a speech to the LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Easton believes that the positive response to his coming out reflects a societal shift toward accepting LGBTQ identities among religious communities.

“My generation, and even more so the generation after me, we’re changing the way we talk about our identity and who we are,” Easton told the Washington Post. “It’s okay to be different, or not fit the norm. When I started at BYU, I didn’t think that. I thought that I had to be what everyone before me was. I do feel from my own experience that this is changing, or maybe I’m changing. I hope that our country, my faith, my community will follow in a similar fashion.”

Listen to the rest of his commencement address here:

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate