Gay Teen's Principal Tried To Shut Down His Graduation Speech

Photo: Courtesy of Comedy Central.
Colorado high school senior Evan Young wanted to use his valedictorian speech to come out to his classmates and community, an idea the principal of Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School wasn't into. After trying to force Young to remove any mentions of sexuality from his speech, the administrator banned him from speaking at the ceremony — and in the process outed Young to his parents.

Principal BJ Buchmann, according to Young, showed the boy's parents his speech while telling them their son would no longer be speaking at graduation. Buchmann did this before Young had the chance to come out to his parents himself. Fortunately, the Youngs were supportive.

Since news about Young's graduation was first reported by Democracy Now, some officials want to know if the school discriminated against the senior. Rep. Jared Polis, an openly gay member of Congress, has already called for an investigation into the school, according to ThinkProgress, which also found the school's lawyer to have long-standing connections to Christian conservative groups and Michele Bachmann's presidential political action committee.

According to the Associated Press, school board president Kathy DeMatteo said in a letter to Polis that Young was banned from speaking because of his "apparent intention to make a mockery" of the graduation ceremony, not for wanting to come out. The report doesn't say what part of Young's speech she found disrespectful.

Young did still have a chance to deliver his speech, even if he had to give it to a slightly larger audience than he'd prepared for. Larry Wilmore, host of The Nightly Show on Comedy Central, flew him out to New York and had him give the contested portion of his speech on TV Thursday night.

As you'd expect from a commencement address written by a teenager, Young's speech is a little bit goofy, but it's also sincere and optimistic — just like an 18-year-old who's about to graduate. "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 said.
Photo: Courtesy of Comedy Central.
Advertisement

More from Politics

The day after the debate, instead of shifting away from the issue, the GOP nominee doubled down on his weight-shaming comments. And on Friday, he took the ...
Election Day lasts just one day — a 24-hour culmination of the seemingly never-ending campaign season. But we’ll spend the next two, four, six years ...
GOP front-runner Donald Trump has gotten a lot of flak for some of the ridiculous statements he's made this campaign season, including that women who seek ...
If the chaotic party politics of the 2016 election have left you feeling completely birdbrained, this video is for you. The Founding Fathers (presented ...
Ebling has been by her friend's side through marriages, births, deaths — all the ups and downs of life. But she never expected her old playmate to be just ...
1. Major News: One person died in a Hoboken, NJ, train crash and more than 100 were injured. A commuter train crash on Thursday morning injured more ...
The Final Five are national treasures. They're basically a collection of perfect, perfectly happy humans. And who wouldn't be, especially after turning in ...
Throughout history, Americans have used activism as a tool to seek positive change in communities and in government. That's no different today. With ...
1. Here At Home: A teenager killed his father before opening fire at a school in South Carolina where he wounded two students and a teacher. ...
California passed a law Wednesday removing the state's 10-year statute of limitations for filing of child molestation and rape charges. Governor Jerry ...
Monday night was the personification of media bias and rigged politics
If you had to describe the current political climate in America, what word would you choose: volatile, toxic, or divisive? Perhaps all of the above. ...
Hillary Clinton has been a role model for our generation for years, and now she’s laying out a master class in taking on workplace sexism
1. Major News: A bill to prevent the government from shutting down and to fund the fight against Zika was stalled in the Senate. With a 45-55 vote, the...