Florida High Schooler Tells His Coming Out Story in Graduation Speech Without Saying Gay

“As you know, I… have a curly hair.” The Harvard matriculate’s high school grad speech was censored by principle

Openly gay high schooler Zander Moricz says “curly hair” as a metaphor for being gay in his graduation speech in Pine View School in Osprey, Florida, after he was called to the principle’s office and has was warned to not use the word “gay” in his speech.

According to the student’s tweets, the principal went as far as to threaten him that the school administration would cut off his microphone, end his speech and halt the ceremony. Prior to the speech he had tweeted: “I am being silenced, and I need your help.” The tweet was retweeted over 36,000 times.

Moricz, who says he’s his school’s first ever openly gay Class President, was not allowed to talk about his activism but he came up with a brilliant way to shred “Don’t Say Gay” law in this censored graduation speech.

“I must discuss a very public part of my identity. This characteristic has probably become the first thing you think of when you think of me as a human being,” he said in his speech. “As you know, I… have curly hair.”

“I used to hate my curls,” he continued, “I used to spend days and nights trying to straighten this part of who I am, but the daily damage of trying to fix myself become too much to endure. So, while having curly hair in Florida is difficult due to humidity, I decided to be proud of who I am and started coming to school as my authentic self.”

At the end of his speech, the high schooler sends a coded message to other gay high schoolers. “There are going to be so many kids with curly hair who need a community like Pine View and they will not have one. Instead, they will try to fix themselves so that they can exist in Florida’s humid climate.”

Moricz talked about the speech Monday on Good Morning America. “I knew that the threat to cut the mic was very real, so I wasn’t gonna let that happen,” he said. “I just had to be clever about it. But I shouldn’t have had to be because I don’t exist in a euphemism. I deserve to be celebrated as is.”

The media’s attention in Moricz’s speech has significantly effected other high schoolers in Florida. William Harless, a recent Venice High School graduate in the state, credits Moricz as someone who inspired him to come out to his classmates and family by carrying a Pride flag across the graduation stage when his name was announced.

“With all the issues and topics coming out, I don’t want people who are in the LGBTQ+ community to feel they are censored,” he shared. “I want them to feel like they can walk across that stage expressing their true identity, and Zander’s speech as well as his movement is very important, because it affects people like me as well as my community.”