A New Jersey high school student shocked many of his fellow students and teachers during a ceremony honoring him as "Best Actor".
The Senior Award Ceremony at Parsippany High School in Parsippany, New Jersey was held on January 18th of this year. The ceremony was held to honor graduating seniors in various categories such as "Class Clown" and "Most Likely to Succeed". When Jacob Rudolph stepped up to the podium to accept his award for "Best Actor", he looks out into the crowd and thanks his fellow students for voting him "Best Actor". What he said next took some by surprise.
Without missing a beat, without any obvious signs of nerves, Rudolph says:
"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."
Some in the crowd cheer Rudolphs announcement, while others appear to cease whatever side converstaion they may have been having. Rudolph continues by telling the crowd:
"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."
He concludes by telling his fellow students to take him or leave him, he is who he is and that is how he is "going to act from now on". He then received a standing ovation.
Scott Hester-Johnson, a friend of Rudolph's father, told Towelroad that Rudolph asked for his advice before deciding to come out in such a public manner, but he left the decision up to Rudolph. He contunued by calling Rudolph an "amazingly courageous kid."
Hester-Johnson is not the only one who thinks Rudolph's decision was a courageous one. Rudolph's father, Jonathan, said the decision took:
"more guts than anything I’ve ever attempted in my life.”