A valedictorian has reportedly been blocked by school officials from delivering his graduation speech after they learned he was planning to use the speech to come out as gay.
18-year-old Nat Werth, a senior at Sheboygan Lutheran High School in Wisconsin, had submitted a rough draft of his speech to the administration, in which he came out in it, according to BuzzFeed News.
“I knew that they wouldn’t let me say that at graduation, but I put it in the rough draft because for me it was part of the writing process and how I was reflecting on my high school career,” he said.
“I told them I’d be willing to take it out, but they didn’t trust me, because that’s when they found out I was gay.
“And because they knew that I was gay, they chose not to let me give the speech.”
In his draft speech, Werth explained the struggles he’d faced coming out as gay in a religious environment.
“Absolutely no-one should have to go through what I have gone through simply to come to the conclusion that homosexuality is not a sin,” he had written in his draft.
“God created everyone just the way they are and never intended for the church to disenfranchise an entire group of people.”
While Werth was blocked from delivering his graduation speech late last month, he’s using the opportunity to speak out against the administration.
“A lot of people have said they feel bad for me, but I’d rather have people feel happy that someone is finally standing up to the administration [and] speaking up for what’s right and trying to change Lutheran High School for the better,” he said.
Werth is planning to attend Northeastern University later this year.