An 18 year old valedictorian at the Twin Peaks Charter Academy in Colorado, was banned from giving his long awaited speech because he wanted to announce that he was gay.
Student Evan Young, from Longmont, Colorado, refused to remove the part of his speech where he revealed his sexuality. Following the refusal, the school’s head teacher was said to have phoned Young's father and “outed” him whilst refusing to acknowledge him with the prestigious academic title of valedictorian.
People across the US reacted to the news with outrage, and Young was finally given the chance to deliver his speech in front of hundreds of people at the annual fundraiser for the gay rights group Out Boulder. He delivered his uplifting and humorous speech on Sunday 31st June 2015.
In his speech, Young said, "You may have already suspected this, but I hope this does not change your opinion of me: I am gay."
He continued to outline the homophobia that still exists in world today, "I understand this might be offensive to some people, but it’s who I am. And whether you’ve always suspected this, or this is a total shock to you, now you know."
"When I was writing this speech, I was endlessly debating with myself whether I should reveal this, on account of how divisive an issue this is and how gay people tend to be stereotyped, and I thought that, if I did, I should repeatedly apologize and beg you guys not to think any differently of me."
"But then I realised: I don’t have to. I shouldn’t have to. If there’s one thing I learned at this school, it’s that we can still be friends even if we profoundly disagree with each other."
Young described delivering his speech and receiving his academic award as being "the greatest moment of my life so far."