The same Catholic Diocese that apologized to Native American Vietnam War veteran Nathan Phillips after video showed MAGA hat-wearing students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky chanting “built that wall” and making racist tomahawk chops and war whoops on Friday, also banned openly gay valedictorian Christian Bales’ speech at the High School of the Holy Cross last May, reports the New York Times.
In May 2018, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington said of Bales: “School officials and representatives of the Diocese of Covington reserve the right to review and approve all student speeches to be presented in public at high school graduations.”
“I have been on their radar as a rather non-gender conforming individual,” Bale told the Cincinnati Inquirer at the time. “I have worn makeup and bobby pins in my hair to school before. So it seems too much of a coincidence for my critical thinking to think this was just about the speech itself. But I wasn’t going to go up there and give my speech in full drag.”
Bales’ mother, Gillian Marksberry, said she suspected her son’s sexuality was the real reason the school banning his speech.
Marksberry revealed she had received a phone call from the school’s principal a week before the ceremony wanting to know if Bales would wear men’s clothing and not makeup or bobby pins to the ceremony.
“That was disturbing because in four years, I had never received a phone call from the principal,” Marksberry said. “No one ever reached out to me to help learn about my child.”
Bales protested the Diocese’s decision by reading his speech via a bullhorn his father bought him after his speech was banned.
His post-graduation speech called on his fellow classmates to “take what we’ve learned in this community and apply it to the world we are about to encounter.”
UPDATE: The NY Daily News has published a photo said to be “featuring Covington Catholic High School students clad in blackface during a 2015 basketball game.”
VIDEO: https://t.co/pFgrJA1N0Q From :06 to 1:06 you can see a teacher or coach of #CovingtonCatholic leading the teens in a chant– several of the Covington students are in blackface. At this game, black players on the opposing team were verbally abused. pic.twitter.com/gqyNRUjYXD
— Marcus Henry Weber (@MarcusHWeber) January 21, 2019
NY Daily News adds: While the origins of the photo couldn’t be verified, the official Covington Catholic High School YouTube account published a video last January boasting its basketball school spirit, and several clips, including one from 2012, showcase attendees chanting in black face, a mockery of the opposing players.