BYU valedictorian says classmate's suicide inspired him to come out in commencement speech
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The commencement speaker who came out as gay at Brigham Young University’s graduation ceremony said he was inspired to do so after a fellow classmate who also came out committed suicide after being bullied.

Valedictorian Matt Easton said that he is "proud to be a gay son of God” during his commencement speech late last month.

On Monday, Ellen DeGeneres shared a clip of her interview with Easton that was set to air that day in which Easton disclosed his inspiration for coming out during the speech.


Easton explained that he wore a white Stole of Honor around his graduation robe to honor deceased classmate Harry Fisher.

“It was his last semester and he decided to come out on Facebook,” Easton said. “And because of the rhetoric and sort of the response that he got from our community, he actually ended up committing suicide.”

Easton fights back tears in the clip, saying that after Fisher’s passing he thought to himself, ”Is that my future?“

“So I thought if I came out at graduation, maybe a student like me, a freshman, could see, you know, ’no, my future is something brighter. It’s something better. We can succeed.’”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns BYU, teaches that attraction to someone of the same sex is not a sin, but acting upon those feelings, including being in a gay relationship, is sinful.