Watch: Florida High School Student on Mentioning Gay Rights in Graduation Speech

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday May 29, 2022
Originally published on May 24, 2022

Watch: Florida High School Student on Mentioning Gay Rights in Graduation Speech

An openly gay Florida high school student followed through on his plan to discuss gay rights in a creative way during his graduation speech.

As reported by Good Morning America, Zander Moricz, a senior and the president of his graduating class at Pine View School in Osprey, Florida, alleged on Twitter that he was being "silenced" by his school leading up to his big graduation speech.

According to Moricz, Pine View's principal warned him against mentioning the state's "Don't Say Gay" law and issues surrounding it in his speech.

He wrote, "My principal called me into his office and informed me that if my graduation speech referenced my activism or role as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, school administration had a signal to cut off my microphone, end my speech, and halt the ceremony."

But Moricz's speech reportedly went off without a hitch, even getting a standing ovation from his classmates and peers on Sunday, he said in an interview with Good Morning America.

"There was a lot of hate and a lot of fear surrounding the speech about what people were going to do if someone was going to react poorly because it was really present in the community," said Moricz. Worried about getting his mic cut, Moricz told GMA on Monday that getting public support from his peers was reassuring.

"To have a standing ovation like that and a response like that from all of these people was amazing," he said. "It was really a great finale for four years of high school."

How did he do it? Moricz reportedly referenced his "curly hair" as a code for LGBTQ+ rights and being gay.

"This characteristic has probably become the first thing you think of when you think of me as a human being. As you know, I have curly hair," Moricz said in his speech. "There are going to be so many kids with curly hair who need a community like Pine View, and they will not have one."

He continued, "Instead, they'll try to fix themselves so that they can exist in Florida's humid climate."

Well played!

Moricz says he plans to continue advocating for the LGBTQ+ community when he enrolls at Harvard University to study government this fall.

"I'm going to be concentrating in government so I can try and fix the same problems I'm trying to fix now," he said.

Watch his interview with Good Morning America below.