Coming out is never an easy thing to do, regardless of what stage you are in your life. However, for a young person who’s studying in a religious institution, it is especially hard. For Nat Werth, an 18-year-old graduate of Sheboygan Lutheran High School, his coming out story was something he was planning to share. The teen successfully got to be the school’s valedictorian and planned to come out on stage for everyone to hear. But when his school read his draft, they told him he could no longer give his speech. Jennifer Lopez, who’s currently on her “It’s My Party Tour” heard about this heartbreaking story and decided to show her support for him in the most graceful way.
The singer invited Werth to her show in Milwaukee and the two met backstage. She posted this message to him on Instagram, “Everyone deserves love, ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 Nat, thank you for celebrating with me… Always standing with you. Continue to use your voice and spread only love and acceptance.”
Here’s the speech, provided by BuzzFeed, that Werth intended to say at his school in Wisconsin.
“On my own journey to self-acceptance, I have trekked through the depths of depression, found that God’s love is endless, and embraced the fact that I’m gay. Absolutely no one should have to go through what I have gone through simply to come to the conclusion that homosexuality is not a sin. God created everyone just the way they are and never intended for the church to disenfranchise an entire group of people,” he wrote. “The Bible mentions ‘love’ over 500 times. I sincerely believe that the next generation of Christians will eradicate homophobia in the church and proclaim God’s love to the LGBT community.”
Werth told BuzzFeed that when school officials said he couldn’t give that speech, he offered to change it, but they weren’t having it.”I told them I’d be willing to take it out, but they didn’t trust me, because that’s when they found out I was gay,” Werth said. “And because they knew that I was gay, they chose not to let me give the speech.”
The teen, who’s headed to Northeastern University in the fall, said this experience has helped him grow and made him realize how important it is not to shy away from speaking your truth.
“A lot of people have said they feel bad for me, but I’d rather have people feel happy that someone is finally standing up to the administration [and] speaking up for what’s right and trying to change Lutheran High School for the better,” he said.