Lifestyle

Teen Applauded After Coming Out To Classmates At School Assembly

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Image via Twitter/SBS News

The world might be a huge garbage fire except for this one small good thing that happened in Australia

A 17-year-old boy came out as gay at a school-wide assembly of 1,500 people — and got a standing ovation for his speech. The feel-good moment happened at an all-boys private Catholic school in Sydney, and the video of it is going viral.

According to SNS News, Finn Stannard gave the speech at St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, earlier this year, as Australia’s news swirled with issues related to gay rights, including whether religious schools should have the right to discriminate against gay staff and students. As he came out — to a packed room of boys wearing matching blue blazers for uniforms — the auditorium burst into applause as students rose to their feet.

“Announcing yourself to the world is pretty terrifying, because what if the world doesn’t like you? I decided that it was finally time to tell someone the truth,” Stannard said during his speech. “It wasn’t easy, but I told my mom that I thought I might be gay.”

He continued:

“A life living behind a mask is not a life any person should have to live. So, with that in mind, my message to you is this: Surround yourself with people who let you live as your true self. And never be afraid of asking for help. Find your own identity and be comfortable with who you are.”

“Being different, whether it’s being gay or being part of another minority group, can be challenging but it does not have to be scary and isolating,” he finished.

Stannard was able to make the speech with both the support of his mother and the school.

“Oh, it was amazing,” his mother, Megan Stannard, shared. “The fact that Finn was supported, the fact that his message was heard. I was in tears. We were just so proud of him, so proud of the school, and so proud of the boys. It was truly a special occasion.”

“Finn took a risk, he did, but he was committed to opening up an opportunity for other boys who may have an orientation,” said Paul Hine, the school’s principal. “I think in its own way, it was a watershed. We’ve never had a boy stand publicly and talk about their sexuality.”

In addition to helping other students at school coming to terms with their sexuality, Stannard himself also benefitted from speaking about his coming out process.

“When I said it, I just felt this energy pass through me,” the teen told SBS News,”and I felt that was the first time that I was proud of who I was, and I could announce it to all these people before me.”

“I’ve become a lot happier at school, I’ve met new people and come to understand who my real friends are,” he said “All of this seemed impossible to the boy I was a mere 12 months ago.”

After the speech, he took his boyfriend, Tom Moiso, to the school formal.

“I think the best part was seeing all these other people with their dates and not feeling any different,” he said.

The assembly was an annual gathering called “Friends Listen,” in which students open up about their personal struggles — and it’s not the first time a speech from the assembly has gone viral. In 2015, school captain Xavier Eales opened up about his struggle with depression in hopes of helping other kids at his school.

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