Last Thursday, a teenage boy came out for the first time. He didn't tell a friend or a family member first — instead, he informed his entire senior class in a speech at his high school graduation.
Mitch Anderson, the 2013 Salutatorian at Belton High School in Belton, Texas, a small town about an hour north of Austin, took the podium and delivered what can only be described as the best graduation speech of our time.
An excerpt from the end:
I would be remiss, however, if I failed to incorporate a Harry Potter reference to the theme of my speech, so I will. Be a Luna Lovegood, not a Pansy Parkinson. Be a little bit strange and off-kilter, and not so desperate to be popular. Strive for legitimacy, and skirt what makes you vapid. Find fellowship with everyone, not those you have preordained.
I have a few final, closing thoughts, before I turn over the podium. First, I find Zachary Quinto’s eyebrows very attractive. Second, I would like to be friends with Lady Gaga and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. And third, I would like everyone to remember that “Starships were meant to fly, Hands up and touch the sky, Can’t stop ‘cause we’re so high, let’s do this one more time."
This kid. I love him. Nikki, please give him front row seats to everything until the end of time.
“I’ve received so much support and kindness,” Anderson said of fellow classmates and others. “Knowing that [people] found the speech inspirational has been really amazing.”
Anderson said his parents knew nothing of his plans to come out that night, and have were extremely supportive afterwards.
“[My mom said] ‘I love you’,” and I said “I love you too,” he said. “Dad hugged me."
Although it hasn't all been sunshine and high fives, Anderson says he's undaunted by the haters. “It’s a little bit hurtful,” he said of negative comments. “But it’s really no big deal. I’d rather they direct their hate and anger, at me, rather than someone else, because I know I can take it and blow it off.”
Uh, can someone bottle this kid's joyful confidence and put it in the water supply? Actually, maybe Anderson can work on that himself since he's attending the University of Texas in Austin, and plans on studying Biology and Psychology, in the hopes becoming a doctor.