A volleyball coach who was fired for being gay appeared Thursday on Ellen DeGeneres' daytime talk show.

Inoke Tonga was terminated last month from Valor Christian High School in Denver, Colorado after he refused to delete social media posts that identify him as gay or included a positive LGBT message.

Students, alumni, and former staffers have spoken out against Tonga's firing.

Speaking with DeGeneres, Tonga said that he needed to speak up.

“I was scared to post about it or speak up,” he said. “But I've also told my kids to advocate for yourself and [to] advocate for other people when they can't. And it hit me, 'What sort of message you sending if you don't speak up?'”

Valor Christian High School, a private, Christian school, is accused of forcing the resignations of two gay coaches in the last year. School officials have defended their actions, saying that they require all staff, faculty, and volunteers to “live in accordance with” the school's Christian beliefs.

Ross Murray, senior director at the GLAAD Media Institute, said that Tonga's story highlights the need for the Equality Act, an LGBT protections bill that stalled in the U.S. Senate after clearing the House.

“Inoke Tonga’s story highlights the lack of legal protections LGBTQ people continue to face, and now millions of Americans can hear one example of anti-LGBTQ employment discrimination, thanks to Ellen’s platform,” Murray said. “It’s imperative that Americans learn from Inoke’s story and act to ensure that LGBTQ don’t face discrimination at work, at home, in places of business, or anywhere.”