When Christian Bales’ Catholic high school took away his opportunity to give a commencement speech at his graduation, he took matters into his own hands.

Bales, an 18 year old who identifies as gay and gender non-conforming, earned the honour of valedictorian of his graduating class.

The Diocese of Covington took away Bales’ chance to give a speech, deeming it too political, The New York Times reported.

“I did not think the speech was polarizing at all,” Bales said, adding that he was “kind of shocked” by the decision.

He was told there was no time to rewrite it and that it was too confrontational.

Bales had worn a floral-pattern jumpsuit and heels to his prom without objection, making the decision all the more surprising.

His mother said that the school’s principal had contacted her to ensure her son attended graduation in “appropriate male dress”, meaning no make up or accessories.

“He also told me that he had reached out to the superintendent of the diocese to ask for guidance because he has never had a student like Christian before and he didn’t know how to deal with it,” Bales’ mum said.

“Christian and I spoke about appropriate dress and how it is necessary to conform sometimes. Christian understood and respected this request. He was prepared to honor the dress code.”

The school’s student body president, Katherine Frantz, was also due to speak but had her speech cancelled as well.

Holy Cross High School went as far as to reprint the graduation booklets to remove mention that their speeches were ever planned.

“When the proposed speeches were received they were found to contain elements that were political and inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church,” the Diocese said in a statement.

Bales’ father suggested that he bring a bullhorn to school, and after the ceremony the teachers, students and their families gathered around Bales as he delivered his speech.

In the speech, he praised both the fight for gun control spurred on by the Stoneman Douglas students, as well as applauded classmates for attending a March for Life rally, a protest against abortion rights.

Bales said he didn’t know if his identifying as LGBTI contributed to his speech being pulled.

“That is not something they would admit to us. I don’t want to wish any ill will to the diocese or the school, but I want this to be a learning experience for everybody.”

You can read his full speech online here.

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