BYU valedictorian amazed by positive reaction to coming out as gay: 'Everyone deserves that feeling'
Matt Easton (KUTV)

A Brigham Young University valedictorian drew widespread attention after coming out as gay during his graduation speech, and he explains his decision -- and the fear that accompanied it.

Matt Easton had already told his close family and friends he was gay, and he was met with applause and cheers when he told the crowd gathered at the Mormon university's College of Family, Home and Social Sciences graduation ceremony, reported KUTV-TV.

"I was nervous, I'm still a little nervous about it," Easton told the TV station. "You know there's people that are telling me I went too far, people telling me I didn't go far enough. Ultimately I had to do what felt right to me."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds that same-sex attraction is not sinful, but acting on those feelings is.

"There comes a time when I'm going to have to start thinking about these questions, you know?" Easton said. "Am I going to get married? Am I going to have children? What are these pressures that my family and my parents want for me to do? Are they a reality for me?"

"Those are some pretty hard questions, and I don't have the answers to all of them," he added.

Easton's speech was reviewed and approved by BYU officials, and Easton said he was overwhelmed by the response.

"I just felt more support from such a large body than I've ever felt before," he said, "and I think that everyone deserves to have that feeling. Overall, on the day to day, my experience at BYU was quite wonderful."