Arts & Entertainment
Let Dominic speak: Mt. Pleasant school un-invites former student to speak at graduation
By Crystal Proxmire
Originally printed 5/3/2012 (Issue 2018 - Between The Lines News)
MT. PLEASANT -
Dominic Sheahan-Stahl and his family are "shocked" after learning that Sheehan-Stahl has been un-invited from giving the speech at his younger brother's graduation from Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant. The reason? School officials found out on Facebook that Sheehan-Stahl is gay.
The 32-year-old actor lives in New York, but had been looking forward to a visit home to be able to see his youngest brother graduate from the Catholic school that three generations of his family had attended.
The phone call reportedly came just one day after students at the school heard a speech about bullying. According to a video made by Sheahan-Stahl and posted on YouTube, he had been invited to speak at his brother's graduation, but on April 25 his mother received a call from the school stating that he would not be able to speak because he is openly homosexual.
"I am an open and out gay man, and I have been for 14 years, and I have recently got engaged so I have my engagement photos on there," Sheahan-Stahl said in the video.
But his speech had nothing to do with being gay. "If you go through it there's not one inkling of the word gay, of me talking about manipulating people to be gay or anything like that. My speech is all about fear...and how fear can stop you from making a difference a lot. I've realized this whole reaction is from fear."
He said that his mother had been afraid of him "putting it out there" on Facebook, but that he wouldn't be afraid and hide who he was.
"I came from a family that is very accepting. My mom, I'm so grateful to have her, and my grandmother and my grandfather and all my aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters. My mom especially taught me to love unconditionally. ...This is the first time in my life I've actually been discriminated upon. I am very lucky because there are some people every day who get discriminated against."
He said he forgives the school, and calls it a bad decision. He also said he's not going to be quiet about it. Sheahan-Stahl said he still plans to give his speech at a different location. On May 20 after the SHS graduation he will be speaking at Warriner Hall on the campus of Central Michigan University at 1 p.m.
On Tuesday, the Midland Daily News reported that Sacred Heart Academy principal Denny Starnes had taken a three-day paid leave of absence. It was not clear if the leave was voluntary, but at a press conference on Frdiay Starnes made comments in which he said he did not agree with the decision to cancel Sheahan-Stahl's speech but he respected the church.Those interested can subscribe to updates at http://www.facebook.com/dominic.sheahanstahl. Students from Sacred Heart have also made a You Tube video to show their support.
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