New Jersey high school student Jacob Rudolph came out publicly to more than 300 classmates this month when he stepped up to accept the award for Class Actor during a school assembly.
'Sure, I've been in a few plays and musicals, but more importantly, I've been acting every single day of my life,' he told his classmates at the Parsippany, NJ school. 'You see, I've been acting as someone I'm not ... you see me acting the part of straight Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT.'
This got the noisy crowd's attention. He then explained that LGBT stands for 'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender.'
'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,' he explained.
He concluded the speech by saying: '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.'
Rudolph's classmates gave the teen an enthusiastic standing ovation as he left the stage. Later, his proud father posted video of his son's speech on YouTube with a written introduction which stated that his son's decision to come out to the school took 'more guts than anything I've ever attempted in my life.'
The video was shared by a gay friend of the father who sent it to Towleroad.com on Wednesday (23 January)