Gender Non-Conforming Valedictorian

Don’t give the kid an honor like valedictorian if you’re not going to allow that same student to give the commencement speech. It’s tradition. I’m sure it’s a small school where all the students are well-known, so you knew what Christian was like and deliberately chose to take this moment away from him.

The valedictorian banned from giving a graduation speech at his Kentucky high school believes the local church diocese stopped him from speaking because he’s gender nonconforming.

“Just myself being visible and existing has threatened them, in their minds,” Christian Bales, 18, told BuzzFeed News Monday, three days after his high school barred him from giving a planned speech at its commencement ceremony.

Bales, who said he often wears makeup and traditionally feminine clothing to school events, found out he would be valedictorian of Holy Cross High School in Covington, Kentucky, three weeks ago. The distinction meant he would be able to give a speech at the school’s graduation ceremony. His best friend, Holy Cross’s student council president Katherine Frantz, was also slated to give a speech.

But on Friday morning, Holy Cross’s Principal Mike Holtz called Bales’ and Frantz’s families to say that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, which oversees their school, had deemed their speeches inappropriate to read at that evening’s graduation ceremony.

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