The valedictorian of his class alleges he was barred from speaking at graduation because of his gender orientation, but the Kentucky school he attended claims he wasn’t allowed to speak because his speech was inappropriately political.
The 18-year-old valedictorian, Christian Bales, graduated on May 25 from Holy Cross High School in Covington, Ky. He couldn’t deliver the speech he’d prepared because Covington’s Roman Catholic Diocese determined it was “too personal, angry, confrontational, and political,” BuzzFeed News reported. Student council president Katherine Frantz had also prepared to give a speech at Friday’s graduation before being barred from speaking as well.
Holy Cross Principal Mike Holtz called the families of the two students Friday morning to inform them that they wouldn’t be able to speak because the content of their speeches was inappropriate for the graduation.
“Just myself being visible and existing has threatened them, in their minds,” Bales told BuzzFeed, alleging the diocese and school had banned him from speaking because of gender identity. Bales identifies as non-binary and dresses in female clothes, and dons makeup and women’s jewelry.
“It is still unclear to me why the diocese rejected my speech with no opportunity for revision and showed no consideration for taking my speech away from me, my family, and my classmates,” Franz also told BuzzFeed, expressing confusion over why she too was barred from giving her speech Friday.
Bales’ speech called the Stoneman Douglas teens in Florida “prolific” and used their “The young people will win” mantra throughout. He also wrote that the relation between wisdom and age is “misguided.”
Bales “mentions his inspiration from the leaders of March for Our Lives … [but] his address does not call for new gun control laws,” BuzzFeed reported. Bales did not mention the March for Our Lives. He referred to the March for Life, rather, and wrote: “Many of you went on the March for Life to protect the lives of the unborn.”
Bales and Franz delivered their speeches with a megaphone after the graduation on grassy spot near the graduation ceremony venue.
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