School principal ‘tried to censor’ queer graduate’s moving valedictorian speech. It backfired, spectacularly


Bryce Dershem was sharing his turbulent experience of coming out at Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees, New Jersey, when his microphone was muted. Wearing a Pride flag draped around his graduation robes, Dershem congratulated his classmates for successfully making their way through school before speaking about his own journey. “For so long, I believed graduation was simply something that happened. I didn’t realise how wrong I was until it almost didn’t happen for me,” Dershem said. “We brand high school as four years of self discovery, but few of us even know where to begin. After I came out as queer [in] freshman year, I felt so alone. I didn’t know who to turn to for support.” At that point, his microphone was switched off. Video footage of the incident shows the school principal walking up to the podium, taking his microphone and the sheet of paper his speech was written on.

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