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Larry Wilmore Helps Gay Student Give the Speech His School Banned

Thanks to The Nightly Show, high school valedictorian Evan Young was able to share his message of tolerance with the world.

Evan Young is 18-years-old, and the valedictorian of Twin Peaks Charter School. But when school officials found out that Young planned to come out as gay in his graduation speech, they banned him from making it. Evan was distraught that he couldn’t say his speech at his own high school graduation, so he did the next best thing: he said it on national television.


With the help of OUT Boulder, Larry Wilmore and The Nightly Show flew in Evan to say the speech this past Thursday. While the valedictorian was not able to deliver his speech to the 30 or so people in his graduating class, he was able to perform it for Wilmore’s 417,000 viewers. The violent hate speech Twin Peaks was most afraid of? Get ready:

“And that’s my biggest secret of all: I’m gay … When I was writing this speech, I was endlessly debating with myself whether I should reveal this, on account of how divisive an issue this is and how homosexuals tend to be stereotyped, and I thought that, if I did, I should repeatedly apologize and beg you guys not to think any differently of me.

But then I realized: I don’t have to. I shouldn’t have to. If there’s one thing I learned at this school, it’s that we can still be friends even if we profoundly disagree with each other.”

Later on in this clearly violent speech, Young encouraged everyone to hug each other. Watch the full video. Evan’s words are poignant, funny, and not-boring—the model of a speech.

Image via YouTube

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