I'm Gay | Jacob Rudolph | New Jersey | News

NJ High School Senior Comes Out as Gay to His Entire Class, Gets Standing Ovation: VIDEO


Our reader Scott Hester-Johnson sent us this clip of Jacob Rudolph, a high school senior in Parsippany, New Jersey, who came out to his entire class at their awards ceremony (Class Clown, Most Likely to Succeed, etc.) on January 18.

Says Jacob in the clip, as he accepted the award for Best Actor (my transcript):

"Sure I've been in a few plays and musicals, but more importantly, I've been acting every single day of my life. You see, I've been acting as someone I'm not. Most of you see me every day. You see me acting the part of 'straight' Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT. Unlike millions of other LGBT teens who have had to act every day to avoid verbal harassment and physical violence, I'm not going to do it anymore. It's time to end the hate in our society and accept the people for who they are regardless of their sex, race, orientation, or whatever else may be holding back love and friendship. So take me leave me or move me out of the way. Because I am what I am, and that's how I'm going to act from now on."

Writes Scott: "As I am a gay friend of his dad's, he sought out my advice before taking the plunge, but the decision was all his. The best part of the video is when he gets a standing ovation after he comes out. This is an amazingly courageous kid and I hope he gets the props he deserves."

Watch the amazing, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. You folks splitting hairs over the his use of "LGBT" must be a blast at parties.

    Oh, who am I kidding....you are more likely the person everyone spots across the room and tries to avoid because they will suck the life out of a conversation.

    Posted by: Sam | Jan 23, 2013 2:51:18 PM

  2. Great kid.

    He's the opposite of Jodie Foster. She pretends to come out while screaming "STAY AWAY!" by delcaring himself LGBT this kid makes clear he's part of our community -- not above and beyond it.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 23, 2013 2:55:43 PM

  3. I most definitely admire this kid, particularly since the most courageous thing I ever did in high school (almost 48 years ago at Provine in Jackson, Mississippi) was to exit through the center front doors, which, at that time, meant you were queer.

    Posted by: Bryan | Jan 23, 2013 2:58:38 PM

  4. The level of negativity on Towleroad threads never ceases to amaze me. A teenager just came out in front of his entire school (something I highly doubt any of you have done) and we're analyzing his terminology and whether, because he's an actor, people already knew.

    The only stereotypes being perpetuated here are of bitchy old faggots by bitchy old faggots. It's actually depressing.

    Posted by: Jeremy | Jan 23, 2013 2:58:45 PM

  5. @DAN: Oh bite me, troll. It goes without saying that he is brave to stand up in front of 300 students and do that. I still find his wording clunky and the overwhelming feeling I got watching it was from his group of peers that gave him a standing ovation. I have always found LGBT GLBT BLGTQ or whatever it is now weird and clunky-sounding. And I will continue to do so.

    Posted by: AJ | Jan 23, 2013 3:00:28 PM

  6. the "people probably already knew" thing makes no sense, either. you think it's easy being a Visible Target in highschool? it isn't. it wasn't. being "visible" or "obvious" (via perceptions or stereo/archetypes) only means you take your lumps harder, and earlier. in many cases it toughens you up faster. in most cases it makes it very clear that you have a choice: either work harder on your "act", or stop caring. this dude stopped caring, and his entire school will benefit.

    well met.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 23, 2013 3:01:59 PM

  7. Great video

    Posted by: reality | Jan 23, 2013 3:03:15 PM

  8. Well done. Extra well done for identifying as LGBT.

    Posted by: gwynethcornrow | Jan 23, 2013 3:03:27 PM

  9. AJ, feel free to post a video where you identify as Gay, then.

    can ya? didn't think so. which makes your "opinion" on his use of LGBT all the more relevant.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 23, 2013 3:05:54 PM

  10. "It goes without saying". Well AJ, it goes without saying that it's brave that somebody goes on a stage in front of a thousand of her peers and umpteen millions watching on TV to talk about being a lesbian is brave. But because she didn't say the two words "I'm gay" the b*tchy high school girls on this site don't think she really came out and go on like she is the worst person in the world! It also goes without saying that Jodie Foster is a lesbian.

    You are the one that goes on a website and instead of just congratulating this high school kid for doing a great thing, you poke holes in his speech because it offends your senses. Who is the troll?

    Posted by: DAN | Jan 23, 2013 3:16:25 PM

  11. Wow. A kid comes out, and a bunch of people behind computer screens - who may or may not be out themselves - lump on him for the verbiage he used. Give me a break.

    Well done, Scott.

    Posted by: Hank | Jan 23, 2013 3:36:00 PM

  12. Wow. With confidence like that he has a bright future ahead of him. Wish I'd been half as cool at that age.

    Posted by: Tim | Jan 23, 2013 3:38:06 PM

  13. This kid is amazing. Think for a second about the bravery needed to do this, in public, and in front of peers and their parents. And think about the strong, empowering rhetoric he used. It took balls to do what he did.

    To the people who quibble about him saying gay versus LGBT: does it matter? Being "not straight" is what makes coming out brave, whether you're L, G, B, T, or something else that isn't sexually "straight" or gender conformist. Using the term "LGBT teen" is, to me, a way of making his coming out less about himself and more about everyone in his position. Every coming out has meaning for all of us in the community, and we need to start realizing that.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 23, 2013 3:43:59 PM

  14. I can assure you, @LITTLE KIWI I am out. I came out when I was 17 back in 1992. Did I do it on stage back in 92? No. I stated previously that I feel I would have been chased with torches and pitchforks if I did. It took me several years to be comfortable telling strangers.

    He's a brave kid for doing that on stage in High School. We all know that. I think now and will ALWAYS think the words "I AM LGBT" are weird and clunky-sounding no matter the context. It's like saying "I am ADHD." It sounds weird and impersonal. I am not attacking him personally, just making a comment. Calm down.

    And this is the third time I am saying this: I was PERSONALLY more effected by the crowd's response than by what he said or how he said it. We have seen LOADS of coming out videos on here, but never have I seen one on a High School stage where a kid gets a roaring standing ovation from his peers. THAT is the part that affected me. Yes HE IS BRAVE BRAVE BRAVE but it's the overwhelming crowd response that got me to tear up.

    Posted by: AJ | Jan 23, 2013 3:47:23 PM

  15. i think we can all agree by now that "anti-LGBT" gay men are either completely closeted themselves, or Republicans.

    tomato, tomAHto.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 23, 2013 3:48:15 PM

  16. Jacob also brings up something really important in that speech: the toll on LGBT youth (and many adults) of having to act different every day. At school, at work, at home--everywhere. Every time I hear idiots say that LGBT people exist in the same civil rights space as everyone else, I want to tell them that you can't possibly pursue your life, liberty, and happiness in the same way when you live in a world that urges you to sublimate an integral part of who you are. Hopefully Jacob will be able to have a much fuller and freer life now.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 23, 2013 3:50:14 PM

  17. Epic win for the coming out. Minor fail for using bogus "LGBT" instead of saying what he is, which is gay. He isn't a transsexual or a crossdresser and at some point someone lied to him and told him that those 2 things are the same or closely related. They aren't.

    Posted by: Sonne | Jan 23, 2013 3:53:46 PM

  18. Really LITTLE KIWI? I can assure you I am neither closeted (as stated above) or a fkng Repugnican. Because a few of us bristle at being lumped into a weird, fluid acronym that changes every few years whenever GLAAD and the rest of them feel like it? I remember back when it was GLBT, then I was cursed out by saying it wrong because someone changed it to LGBT for some reason. Now it's LGBTQ. I'm sorry, but I will never be comfortable having a bunch of letters describe me or my community. What is the weird acronym for straight people? Latinos? African Americans?

    Posted by: AJ | Jan 23, 2013 3:55:05 PM

  19. @Kiwi:

    Law enforcement was notified about your comment earlier this week concerning bombing Fox News. Towleroad left the comment up, so I assume that it approves of your call to violence.

    Posted by: Rich | Jan 23, 2013 3:56:47 PM

  20. again, gay men who embrace the inclusivity of LGBT, and stand alongside their brother and sisters, tend to be a lot more empowered and, yeah, OUT.

    nobody lied to him and told them they're the same. he's confident enough and compassionate enough to see that we're all in it together. and unlike many a gay coward, he doesn't need to *couch* his coming out as gay with some distancing from the LGBT communities.

    and remember, y'all are free to be just as confident and empowered and show your own youtube video where you put a face to what Gay is, to you. ;-)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 23, 2013 3:57:48 PM

  21. Add a third person to that hat trick of LGBT Debbie Downers.

    Posted by: DAN | Jan 23, 2013 3:57:48 PM

  22. His dad is AWESOME! First, that he had provided his kid a home in which he felt safe, loved, and supported; second, that he proudly recorded his son's speech and is using it to send an uplifting message to others; and lastly, that he brought in an adult gay friend when his son needed advice about coming out. How great is it that dad already had at least one gay friend in his social circle who was close enough to his family to offer the benefit of his own experience?

    Jacob is a lucky kid.

    Posted by: sparks | Jan 23, 2013 4:07:11 PM

  23. @AJ:

    The big problem with LGBT is just that it is "clunky." The problem is that it is a damnable lie.

    "LGB" is somewhat clunky to say, but it is a perfectly legitimate concept because it is describing a group of people who all share and are defined by a common characteristic, namely their same-sex orientation. "LGBT" is clunky, but far more importantly, it also fundamentally deceptive. It deliberately misrepresents 2 or more groups of people as if they were one. "T" is itself an umbrella term which encompasses people with very different characteristics (intersexed vs. transsexual vs. crossdresser), most of whom are not gay. Many Ts don't even think T is a legitimate concept to describe them because it shoehorns so many different groups into one false one. I have no view on that, but it is very clear that adding "T" to LGB misrepresents to the world what it means to be gay. Unfortunately, this young man misinformed his whole class that he is definitionally linked to transsexuals. If they now consider him as something other than a man, it may be because they listened to how he described himself. Words matter.

    Posted by: Benjamin | Jan 23, 2013 4:08:13 PM

  24. I am BLT.

    Posted by: David | Jan 23, 2013 4:09:37 PM

  25. i dunno. i, as a gay man, am pretty darn aware that in the grand scheme of things "my struggle" is farther along that that of my transgendered and transitioning brothers and sisters.

    i don't care if it sounds clunky. it also sounds inclusive.

    why? because more of us are coming out and stepping up to be identified. it's not just "gay" or "lesbian".

    our brothers and sister, folks. bisexuals. transitioned/transitioning members. queer. questioning. intersex.

    while one may think the wording sounds "clunky" - it sure sounds to me like a bright young man whose empathy and compassion extend far beyond petty worries of "clunkiness"

    and there's no need to "weird acronyms" for straight people because, unless you hadn't heard, heterosexuality isn't exactly under threat, under fire, or a discriminated against class or group of people.


    i suppose it comes down to what you personally value most: being inclusive and showing solidarity, or trying "not to sound clunky"

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 23, 2013 4:20:21 PM

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