glenwood springs post independent
High school valedictorian comes out in graduation speech
Audience interrupted with a standing ovation

This week in Colorado, a high school valedictorian got a standing ovation when she came out as gay during her speech.

Emily Bruell used signs as props during her speech at Roaring Fork High School’s commencement ceremony. The speech was pre-approved by administrators at her school, a stark contrast from another valedictorian in Colorado who was banned from speaking when the school realized he planned to come out in his speech.

[Bruell] 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.

Bruell 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, Bruell 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 for a life without labels. Take it.”

Stories like this give me chills every time. Bravo.