Teenager talks about coming out to classmates at award ceremony

Jacob Rudolph on NBC NewsTeenage actor and musician Jacob Rudolph decided to use a school awards night to announce his sexuality to over three hundred peers. The video has proved an internet hit, yesterday Rudolph talked about why he chose a public ceremony to ‘come out’.

The 18-year-old has since hit headlines for the speech, which was uploaded in a video to YouTube by his father. The gong show saw Jacob accept the senior class award for being Class Actor.

Speaking to Thomas Roberts on NBC News, Jacob said of the ceremony,

“I decided to do it in that way because I made the immediate connection between the irony of me acting every day of my life and being a stage actor.” Adding, “By performing the speech in front of all of my peers and then having it videotaped especially, I would not only be coming out for myself but coming out for those kids who maybe don’t have the courage or don’t know how to do it in the right way.”

Jacob also notes on NBC News that he isn’t classing himself as homosexual or gay, instead, he uses the more wider spectrum term LGBT which covers Lesbian, Transgender and Bisexual too.

“I intended to come out as an LGBT and not say bisexual or gay or straight because I feel like those are the labels of the past. Especially in modern times when people are really questioning who they like and what they like I think that saying ‘I’m bisexual’, it could change in the future, I could be sexclusively for one sex or another. So I think that putting it in a more general term like LGBT is extraordinarily appropriate even though I’m not a lesbian or a transgender.” He notes.

 Transcript of the Speech: “So I would like to thank everyone for awarding me Class Actor. Sure I’ve been in a few plays and musicals.

“More importantly I’ve been acting every day of my life. You see, I’ve been acting as someone I’m not. When most of you see me every day, you see me acting the part of straight Jacob, when I’m in fact an LGBT teen, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender. I’m like the millions of other LGBT teens who have had to act every day to avoid verbal harassment and physical violence, and 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, move me out of the way, because I am what I am, and that’s how I’m going to act from now on.”

The speech was met with applause and cheers. Jacob notes his fellow pupils have been supportive as well as international spectators of the video.

Jacob’s mother told NBC4 New York, “It was an immediate standing ovation, my husband and I sat there stunned. It was instantaneous.”

“I received countless Facebook messages from people I’ve never met before in my life, internationally even, congratulating me for what I did.” Jacob told NBC News.

The 50 second acceptance speech has been seen by nearly 500,000 YouTube users since it was uploaded on Monday.

Share Button