This year, graduation speeches seem to be catching a fair bit of attention. First, there was the Christian valedictorian who railed against atheist activists and prayed aloud. And now, there’s a salutatorian who took a very different angle, choosing to come out in front of his friends and family.

Mitch Anderson, a student at Belton High School in Texas, chose to use his public address, entitled, “Standing on the Sun,” as the key moment to tell those close to him that he is gay — something he had never previously admitted. He also shared the bullying and struggles he faced in high school as he tried to find himself.

“I myself am guilty of self-doubt, relying on others to give my life definition, but that time has passed, and I feel the moment has arrived for me to be publicly true to my personal identity,” Anderson said. “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.”

Gay Student Mitch Anderson Comes Out During Graduation Speech

Photo Credit: Facebook

Anderson went on to say that, even if he wanted to, he wouldn’t be able to change himself.

And how did those close to him react, you ask? According to KTEM radio, his parents were supportive. The salutatorian’s mother told him she loved him and his father hugged him after the speech. His classmates, too, were apparently supportive.

“I’ve received so much support and kindness,” Anderson told KTEM. “Knowing that [people] found the speech inspirational has been really amazing.”

While some critics have charged that the student made the speech all about himself, he believes he delivered an address that focused on being true to one’s self, while also advocating respect for others. Anderson said that celebrities, like Lady Gaga, among others, inspired him to come out and be himself.

The graduate will attend the University of Texas in Austin in the fall in hopes of one day being a doctor. Read the full text of Anderson’s coming out speech.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

Other Must-Read Stories: