A Florida student was banned from speaking about his sexual orientation at his graduation. So he talked about his hair – but everyone knew what he really wanted to say.

Under no circumstances should Zander Moricz use the G word. The student is gay and was scheduled to give a speech at his year’s graduation from his school in Pine View, Florida. A great honor – but the headmaster was not comfortable with it. He impressed on Moricz that he was not allowed to use the word “gay”.

This was “inappropriate,” the 18-year-old told ABC7 from the conversation, and the microphone would be turned off immediately if he didn’t comply. The student stuck to it – and still made a mark. Instead of saying “gay,” he talked about living in Florida with “curly hair.” Moricz himself wears a wild curly mane. And since the discussion had already made waves beforehand, everyone knew what was meant.

Florida student talks about his curls

“I used to hate my hair, I was ashamed of it day and night and desperately tried to straighten that part of me,” Moricz said in his speech. “But the daily damage of trying to repair myself became unbearable.” Instead, he chose to be proud of himself. He also paid tribute to some teachers and friends at the school who helped him along the way.

In his graduation speech, Moricz also spoke about other students who are going through the same path: “There will be a lot of curly-haired youngsters who need communities like Pine View and won’t have them.” He had imagined his speech differently, but: “It had to be like this, for the thousands of young people who will be forced to speak like this throughout their school years.”

Protest against new Florida law

Moricz was referring to the “Parental Rights in Education” law that has been in effect in Florida for several months. Critics also speak of the “Don’t say gay” law. In German: “Don’t say gay” – as in the case of Zander Moricz. It bans the subject of “sexual orientation or gender identity” from schools at least up to third grade. According to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, this is to protect children. Critics of the law fear that children and young people will not have the opportunity to deal adequately with their sexual orientation.

The director of Zander Moricz’s school also did not want the student to make his homosexuality an issue in his graduation speech. “I’ve been told that my human rights are a controversial issue and not appropriate in the context of the school,” Moricz said. “It felt like getting a sledgehammer in the face.” Nevertheless, he found a way to present his cause – and thus possibly gained an even wider reach than if he could have spoken openly about being gay.

Sources: ABC7(1) / ABC7(2) / mattxiv on Twitter