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Florida Teen Uses His 'Curly Hair' As A Euphemism For Being Gay In Defiant Graduation Speech

Florida Teen Uses His 'Curly Hair' As A Euphemism For Being Gay In Defiant Graduation Speech
Liz Ballard/YouTube

Pine View School 2022 class president Zander Moricz had to get rather creative with his graduation speech this week to avoid censorship. Moricz is Pine View's first openly gay class president, and school officials swore that they would cut off his microphone if he mentioned being gay or any of his LGBTQ+ activism during his speech.

Moricz's creative solution was to talk about his struggles as someone with curly hair—he never mentioned being gay at all. It was clear to the audience that he wasn't really talking about his hair, however.

Moricz is the youngest plaintiff in a suit against Florida's so-called "Don't Say Gay Bill," officially called the "Parental Rights in Education" bill.

As such, school administration was aware of his activism and apparently decided that they needed to do everything they could to prevent him from using his platform as class president to speak out about politics.

Moricz tweeted on May 9th, just after his meeting with Pine View School's principal and being told that he would be silenced if he talked about his sexual orientation:

Moricz told ABC's Good Morning America on Monday:

"You don’t know how a very volatile and polarized community is going to respond, but it was amazing. I knew that the threat to cut the mic was very real, so I wasn't gonna let that happen. 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."

In his speech, Moricz told his graduating class and the audience all about how difficult it had been growing up with "curly hair," but that he eventually learned to love himself and navigate the world authentically.

"I used to hate my curls. I spent mornings and nights embarrassed of them, trying to desperately straighten this part of who I am. But the daily damage of trying to fix myself became too much to endure."
"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’ll try to fix themselves so that they can exist in Florida’s humid climate."

You can watch Moricz's full graduation speech below:

Zander Moricz Grad

Many on Twitter congratulated Moricz for his clever way of circumventing the school's attempts to censor him.

Moricz admirably found a creative way to circumvent his school administration's promises to silence him, but how many other LGBTQ+ youth in Florida—and other states where lawmakers are working to pass laws discriminating against them—aren't able to get so creative? How many valuable youth voices are we, as a society, missing out on because they are unable to speak out because of the repercussions?

That is why Moricz felt it was so important to speak out the way he did, so that future "curly-haired" kids would be able to speak openly about their identiy.