Florida Student Skirts ‘Don’t Say Gay’ in a Beautiful Graduation Speech

YouTube/ Liz Ballard
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A Florida teen giving a commencement speech found a beautiful way to communicate his LGBTQ advocacy to students after being told that if he mentioned the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, his microphone would be shut off.

Zander Moricz, the senior class president—and first openly gay president—of Pine View School for the Gifted, decided to use his curly hair to send a message about being yourself and staying true to who you are, no matter who tries to tell you otherwise.

“I used to hate my curls,” he said in his speech. “I spent mornings and nights embarrassed of them, trying to desperately straighten this part of who I am. But the daily damage of trying to fix myself became too much to endure.”

He continued: “There are going to be so many kids with curly hair who need a community like Pine View, and they will not have one,” Moricz continued. “Instead, they’ll try to fix themselves so that they can exist in Florida’s humid climate.”

In his speech, he didn’t say “gay” one time.

“I knew that the threat to cut the mic was very real, so I wasn’t gonna let that happen. I just had to be clever about it,” Moricz told Good Morning America this week of his decision to carry on with his speech, but with a twist. His original plan was to use his spotlight to criticize the state’s Parental Rights in Education, or “Don’t Say Gay” law.

“It effectively takes away the only guaranteed safe space from the majority of the entire LGBTQ population here,” he added.

Principal Stephen Covert told Moricz that if he chose to speak about the bill directly, that his microphone would be cut. The controversial bill forbids discussions about sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity in elementary schools.

Moricz has also been vocal about being silenced on Twitter, writing in part that he is the “first openly gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last. This threat is not the first that I have received from administration about my queer rights.”

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