A Texas high school student, Mitch Anderson, came out during his graduation speech last Thursday in front of his friends, family and peers. It was the first time he told anyone he was gay, and weaved it into a story about self-discovery and the struggle to figure out who he really was.
The 2013 salutatorian maintained a stellar grade point average while attending Belton high School, and received a perfect score on his PSATs in his junior year.
When Anderson found out he would be giving a speech, he decided it would be the right time to come out.
“I myself am guilty of self-doubt, relying on others to give my life definition,” he told KTEM. “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.”
Anderson says contemporary figures like Lady Gaga and Madonna influenced his decision because they represent being true to oneself as they exude confidence drawn from their uniqueness.
There was some negative feedback written on online community message boards, but Anderson felt it was important to talk about acceptance and celebrating diversity.
His parents were very supportive – hugging him and telling him they loved him when the ceremony was over.
Anderson is attending the University of Texas in the fall and plans to study Biology and Psychology with the hopes of becoming a doctor.