LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 6, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Matty Easton, the Brigham Young University Political Science Valedictorian who came out as gay during his commencement speech late last month, appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Monday.
Easton gave the speech to BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, at the Marriott Center, which seats 18,987 people, on April 26 (see below).
Easton told the assembled crowd: “I’m coming to terms not with who I thought I should be, but who the Lord has made me be. As such I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God.”
After applause, he went on: “I am not broken. I am loved and important in the plan of our great creator. Each of us are. Four years ago, it would have been impossible for me to imagine that I would come out to my entire college. It is a phenomenal feeling. And it is a victory for me in and of itself.”
DeGeneres asked Easton what made him decide to come out publicly during the speech.
“It’s something I’ve been wrestling with my whole life,” Easton said. “Ultimately I decided, there’s no better place to do it than here. I thought, ‘I’m ready, this is a new chapter in my life, I’m graduating and I want to live more authentically, live more honestly.’ And more than that I want to give visibility to the other students who are gay who are maybe not so ready to come out.”
He added that he almost decided not to go through with it.
“It’s really scary, as a gay student,” Easton said. “I’m trying to figure out my feelings, understand my faith, and on top of it everybody is watching me and I’m so worried and afraid of losing all that I’d worked for academically.”
Easton told DeGeneres that the white Stole of Honor that he wore round his neck during the speech was a dedication to a man who was in one of his classes freshman year.
“I chose to honor a student named Harry Fisher,” Easton said. “It was his last semester and he was sort of in a similar situation as I was and he decided to come out on Facebook, and because of the rhetoric and the sort of response that he got from our community, he ended up committing suicide. He sat right in front of me and I saw him do that and I thought, ‘Is that my future? Is that what I’m headed toward?’ So I thought if I came out at graduation, a student like me, a freshman, could know, ‘No, my future is something brighter, it’s something better.”
He also told DeGeneres that his Dad told him before the speech: “Matt, if people have a problem with what you’re going to say, it’s a problem with them, not with you. We love you, we’re here for you and that’s all that matters.”
Easton said his plan now he has graduated is to move to Salt Lake City and start an internship there, then eventually work in Washington D.C.
The segment on “Ellen” has been viewed nearly 50,000 times on YouTube, while the original speech has been viewed nearly 205,000 times.
BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the Church last month announced it will reverse its 2015 policy and allow the babies of LGBTQ parents to be baptized.
LGBTQ parents can request that their children be blessed under the new policy. Their children can also be baptized “if the custodial parents give permission for the baptism and understand both the doctrine that a baptized child will be taught and the covenants he or she will be expected to make,” the Church said in a statement.
In addition, the Church announced that people in same-sex marriages and partnerships will no longer be classified as apostates, but as sinners on the same level as heterosexual people who have sex outside of marriage. The Church does not recognize legal same-sex marriages as legitimate.