BELTON, Texas (CBS Houston) – For Mitch Anderson, his salutatorian speech was as good a time as any to tell everyone that he was gay.
Anderson, the salutatorian for Belton High School’s class of 2013, came out during his speech last Thursday, detailing the struggles he felt as a gay teen and the eventual acceptance he found in knowing his own identity. KTEM reports that Anderson was undaunted by the challenge of coming out, saying it felt natural.
“I myself am guilty of self-doubt, relying on others to give my life definition,” he said in his speech. “But that time has passed, and I feel the moment has arrived for me to be publicly true to my personal identity. 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. I couldn’t change myself even if I wanted, and believe me, I have.”
Anderson said that Madonna, Lady Gaga and Star Trek star Zachary Quinto were his influences for feeling better about coming out. KTEM reports that Anderson’s parents were very accepting of his speech.
“It is hard and easy at the same time. 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. It does make you feel like you’re a second class citizen to them.”
He added: “I didn’t make the speech all about me. It’s about acceptance, about celebrating everyone.”