Coming out to one or two people can be hard enough for any gay teen, but could you imagine coming out to an auditorium filled with your classmates and their parents all at once? The daunting situation became reality for one Texas teen last week, who said coming out for the very first time in his Salutatorian speech at graduation just “felt natural.”
Mitch Anderson of Belton High School, boasting a 112.2 GPA and a perfect PSAT score, told local news outlet KTEM that his decision to come out was urged by gay champions in pop culture like Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Zachary Quinto. “They are all about standing up for who you are, being different, being unique,” he said. “They’ve gotten strong positive reception for their [actions].”
In his inspirational speech, Anderson talked about struggling with his own sexuality, and how accepting it finally allowed him to be true to himself.
From Anderson’s speech:
“I myself am guilty of self-doubt, relying on others to give my life definition. But that time has passed, and I feel the moment has arrived for me to be publicly true to my personal identity. So now, I can say, I’m gay. It is both a significant portion of who I am and an inconsequential aspect. It’s as natural and effortless to me as breathing. I couldn’t change myself even if I wanted, and believe me, I have.
Though he previously told no one about his plans to come out during his speech, Anderson says he was completely unfazed by the large crowd and impressed with the outpouring of support he experienced after. “I’ve received so much support and kindness,” he said. “Knowing that [people] found the speech inspirational has been really amazing.”
And though he’s received some negative feedback, this kid is taking it with a thick skin. “It’s a little bit hurtful,” he said “but it’s really no big deal. I’d rather they direct their hate and anger, at me, rather than someone else, because I know I can take it and blow it off.”
Mitch says he plans to attend the University of Texas in Austin next year, where he’ll study Biology and Psychology (and hopefully snag an equally amazing boyfriend while he’s at it).
To read Anderson’s speech in full, visit KTEM.