Evan Young was not permitted to speak at graduation after school officials found out he was planning to come out as gay during his speech. He had the opportunity to read his full speech, as intended, on Sunday at a fundraising event.
Evan Young, the 18-year-old valedictorian at Twin Peaks Charter Academy high school in Colorado, was not allowed to deliver his speech at graduation this month after refusing to edit out the section where he planned to come out as gay.
According to Young, he received several edits to his planned speech from the school's principal, BJ Buchmann, all of which he was fine with making — except for the edit asking him to remove the section in which he discloses his sexuality.
“One of my themes is that I was going to tell everyone my secrets,” Young told Daily Camera. “Most of the things were stupid stuff — books I never read that I was supposed to, or homework I didn't like. But then I gradually worked up to serious secrets.”
After the high school student refused to make the requested edits to his speech, Buchmann called his parents to inform them of its contents. “Mr. Buchmann called me and said, 'I've got Evan's speech here. There are two things in it that I don't think are appropriate.' One was he had mentioned another student's name. And then there was his coming out that he was gay,” Young's father recalled. The principal had inadvertently outed Young, as his parents were not aware of their son's sexuality prior to the phone call.
According to Young's parents, just minutes before the May 16 ceremony was scheduled to begin, they were informed their son's speech would not be happening.
“When we got to the part of the ceremony where in the program it said it was time for his speech there was just silence, there was no acknowledgement of his accomplishments,” Young’s mother stated during a press conference.
“The initial draft of the student's speech submitted for review was condescending toward the school and the student's peers and included, among other things, ridiculing comments about faculty and students. The draft speech also included references to personal matters of a sexual nature. None of these topics are ever appropriate for a speech at a graduation ceremony,” read the statement.