Gay high school valedictorian barred from giving graduation speech improvises with a bullhorn

Christian Bales, the 18-year-old valedictorian of his graduating class at Holy Cross High, a Catholic school in Covington, Ky., found himself disinvited on graduation day, May 25, to give the commencement speech.

Bales is gay and describes himself as gender nonconforming, which he didn’t make any references to in his speech. However, The Diocese of Covington determined his speech too angry and confrontational. Accordingly, school officials deemed it “inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

In a bold response, Bales took a bullhorn — provided by his father — out to the lawn after the ceremony and gave his speech. Reportedly, a large group of his fellow students gathered around to listen and cheer him on.

“It was very empowering,” Bales told The New York Times. “The people who were surrounding us were the ideal audience.”

The valedictorian said he didn’t know if the diocese had acted against him because he is gay or gender nonconforming.

“That is not something they would admit to us,” he said. “I don’t want to wish any ill will to the diocese or the school, but I want this to be a learning experience for everybody.”

Watch Bales’ speech here:

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