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Mormon Student Who Came Out at Graduation Ceremony Makes Ellen Cry

Mormon Student Who Came Out at Graduation Ceremony Makes Ellen Cry

Mormon Student Who Came Out at Graduation Ceremony Makes Ellen Cry

He shares the story of a gay friend who died by suicide.


Matty Easton, who made national headlines late last month when he came out as gay during his graduation speech from Brigham Young University, sat down with Ellen DeGeneres for an emotional conversation.

"My hands were so sweaty, I was so nervous,” Easton said of the experience. “I was going back and forth, you know. Am I gonna do this? Am I not gonna do it?" 

While he was a student at BYU, Easton says that he couldn't even hug another male, at the risk of potentially being reported and expelled because of the school's strict honor code. “It’s really scary as a gay student,” he told Ellen.

Easton then shared the emotional story of Harry Fisher, another gay BYU student. 

“It was his last semester and he was in sort of the same situation that I was, and he decided to come out on Facebook, and because of the rhetoric and the response that he got from our community he actually ended up committing suicide,” Easton told Ellen. “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, maybe if I came out at graduation, maybe a student like me, a freshman, could say, ‘No, my future’s something brighter, something better. We can succeed. We can do what we want and accomplish our dreams.’ So that’s why I chose to come out there.”

Easton says he honored his classmate with a white stole of honor during his graduation speech.  

Ellen tearfully summed up the conversation, “It’s all about visibility. A lot of times some people want to keep us quiet...and I think that we all want to be seen. What you did was pretty amazing, and especially to be here. You are going to be seen by a lot of people.”

Watch Matty's conversation with Ellen in the video below.

If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.

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