High School Valedictorian Comes Out in Graduation Speech

A very brave young woman even in 2015 when our society should be more accepting of those who are somewhat different and yet so very much like us. Acceptance is the key.

TIME

A Colorado valedictorian used her high school graduation speech as an opportunity to come out to her classmates—and she got a much bigger response than she expected.

Emily Spruell, 17, a Roaring Fork High School graduate who is bound for Bates College, was interrupted by a standing ovation during her speech when she told the crowd, “In my [semester] away from Roaring Fork I realized something about myself, something more than what fit under [the label] SMART GIRL. I realized that I am gay,” the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported.

Spruell then flipped over the sign she was holding up—which read “SMART GIRL”—to show a new label: “GAY.”

Even as she identified with these labels, Spruell also noted their limits.

“But you can also choose to give up the labels, to judge a person simply as a human,” she said as she concluded her speech. “This is our opportunity…

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