Many people are intimidated by public speaking, but Mitch Anderson used his graduation speech to not only talk about the importance of self-acceptance, but to reveal to everyone that he’s gay. He hadn’t come out to anyone before, and he used this opportunity to call for love and tolerance.
Mitch had been bullied in school, and in his speech he bravely opens up about how tough it was to find himself. However, he’s turned over a new leaf and he wants to help create a world where no one is bullied into thinking they’re worthless. We pulled some highlights from his great speech for you to check out below. The full speech is available online via KTEM.
After opening with thoughts on learning to love oneself, he bravely shares:
“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.”
On what others thought of him:
“There were moments when I believed I was next to nothing. But I learned that what others think of you is not nearly as meaningful as what you think of yourself. You cannot owe the quality of your existence to other people. You must evaluate your life and give it purpose.”
On what loving yourself brings you:
“Once you love yourself, you can be the best version of yourself. You will find success and happiness. You will find that being different is a wholly wonderful and joyous thing, because it will mark you for greatness.”
On bullies and those who put you down:
“The people who tear you down, who spit vitriol and ire, pity them. They lash out because they have intrinsic flaws that they refuse to face. They have unresolved deficiencies within that cause them to inflict harm on others. They have no external peace because internally there is a want of harmony.”
On what we can all do to have each other's backs:
“The world could use a little bit more love. Let us all not be so quick to judge. We ought to be a bit kinder to others. ... Think for a moment about what damage your words would do before speaking.”
On empowering yourself to be your best self:
“Please, embrace self-empowerment. You gain confidence, an unswerving belief that you matter and the ability of your existence to make an indelible mark on the world. You gain compassion and empathy. You will love and be loved. Most importantly, you will finally start living the life that you were always meant to live.”
And, his epic final thoughts:
“I have a few final, closing thoughts, before I turn over the podium. First, I find Zachary Quinto’s eyebrows very attractive. Second, I would like to be friends with Lady Gaga and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. And third, I would like everyone to remember that ‘Starships were meant to fly/ Hands up and touch the sky/Can’t stop ‘cause we’re so high/Let’s do this one more time.’ ”
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