New Jersey high school student Jacob Rudolph has been getting a lot of attention since stepping up on a stage and coming out publicly to more than 300 classmates last week - a speech that was videoed and put onto YouTube.
'I've received countless Facebook messages from people I've never met before in my life - internationally even - congratulating me for what I did, saying how much they respect me and how brave it was for me to do what I did,' he told MSNBC's Thomas Roberts in an interview Friday (25 January). 'But I just have to reiterate that it wasn't really for me at that point, it really was for everybody else in the LGBT community.'
His speech took place at an awards assembly when he was voted Class Actor by his peers.
'I decided to do it in that way initially because I made the immediate connection between the irony of me acting every single day of my life and me being a stage actor,' he told Roberts.
The teen, who hopes to attend the Berkeley College of Music next year, talked to a gay friend of the family about what he planned to do and the friend said it would be even more powerful if it was videoed and posted online.
'I would not only be coming out for myself, but for those kids who maybe don't have the courage or don't know how to do it the right way,' he said.
His classmates gave Rudolph a standing ovation after the speech and that support has continued.
'My high school has been nothing but supportive,' he said. 'I can't thank them enough for that.'