“I wasn’t hiding anything from anybody — I never hid anything from anybody,” he said. “I was always as true to me as I knew how to be. If I was fibbing to you, it’s because I was fibbing to me.”
“I didn’t want to ask myself that question or figure that out or learn how to deal with that, because to me it was antithetical to all that is OK,” Smith told the audience, which included his father, stepfather and partner. “A. You’re going to hell for it. B. You’ll never have any friends again. C. What are you going to tell your family? And by the way, you’re on television on the craziest conservative network on earth. They’ll probably put you in front of a brick wall and mow you down. Of course none of that was true … that’s not how it was, but that’s how it felt.”
“It wasn’t until seven, or eight, or nine years ago, I started living my truth ... And when I told the truth, I guess it was considered that I outed myself,” he said. “I didn’t even think about it because I didn’t think I was in.”
Beyond his sexuality, Smith also took questions from students and gave advice about his journalism career, including how to tell the truth no matter where you work.
“Stick to your guns,” he said. “Don’t ever, ever compromise your values. Don’t ever say something that you know is not true and if you (do), you're duty-bound to correct it immediately.
“If you do that every time ... they’ll never be able to take you down.”