- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Texas high school salutatorian took advantage of his graduation day podium to announce to his friends, family — and the public at large via national media coverage — that he’s gay.

Mitch Anderson said he was bullied in school but has been hugged and supported in the days since his coming out, the Daily Mail reported.

“I feel the moment has arrived for me to be publicly true to my personal identity,” he said during his commencement speech to a Belton High School crowd. “After I had realized I was gay, I hated myself. I wished and prayed endlessly that I could just go on with life normally, that I could be like everyone else. Being different felt like a curse.”

And afterward, to KTEM, he said that he had been nervous about making the announcement to so large a crowd, but when he walked to the podium, his nervousness disappeared.

“So many of the kids in my school are so completely open-minded,” he said. “But then, because you are in Texas, deep in the Bible Belt, you have a lot of people with very deeply rooted beliefs who are not accepting of it at all.”

Mr. Anderson said he had to sneak his announcement into his speech. He said in the Daily Mail he gave administrators a copy of his speech before the ceremony that did not contain the pertinent portions.

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