BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– A high school senior, who was originally silenced from giving a valedictorian speech which he planned to announce he was gay, was able to deliver his remarks to a supportive crowd.
Daily Camera reports that Longmont charter school valedictorian Evan Young gave the speech at an Out Boulder awards ceremony at a private residence in Boulder.READ MORE: Demand For COVID Testing Increases With Arrival Of Omicron Variant
“I’m gay,” Young, who was wearing a cape, said to an enthusiastic crowd. “That’s what I am.”
Young explained that he felt no need to apologize for the person he is and expected classmates to approach various issues with acceptance.
“We can still be friends, even if we seriously disagree with each other,” Young said in the speech.
Prior to the speech the student released a statement saying his words would promote tolerance and respect and that “disclosing my sexual orientation in my speech would be the perfect catalyst for this discussion.”
The 18-year-old was valedictorian at Twin Peaks Charter Academy and held a 4.5 GPA and scholarship to Rutgers University. The principal cancelled Young’s speech minutes before the school’s May 16 graduation ceremony.
The school defended the decision saying Young did not resubmit the speech with the principal’s recommended edits, as required. However, Young and his father say a revised version was submitted with the requested changes, but that he was still barred from giving the speech after insisting on revealing his sexuality.
Prior to giving his speech Sunday, Young was introduced by Twins Peaks physics teacher Dallin Witt. Witt said the incident is an example of how homophobia is still very present.READ MORE: Long Hauler Recovers: COVID-19 Patient Goes Home After 158 Days In Hospital
“Evan Young’s story has truly resonated with people,” Witt said. “He was not honored before, but now is our chance to do just that.”
The speech itself included lighthearted anecdotes such as his “B” in art class and his gratitude toward Coca-Cola for providing him with caffeine, noting he wouldn’t be receiving any money from Coke for promoting the product.
“Unlike Hilary Clinton, I don’t make millions of dollars for flapping my lips,” Young said jokingly.
Young proceeded to expose some of his secrets, such as his hatred for homework, and his final and biggest secret: his sexuality.
The student’s mother, Alise Curry, said she was familiar with the speech but that hearing it come from his lips was “really great.”
In addition to giving the speech, Young was commended by state Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder. Supporters and advocates at the event emphasized the need for LGBTQ support and acceptance.
Out Boulder Executive Director Mardi Moore said Young only agreed to disclose his sexuality publicly to increase support for others.MORE NEWS: State Lawmakers Vow Change After Allegations Of Funeral Homes Selling Body Parts, Giving Families False Cremains
“I couldn’t be prouder of the young man,” she said.