By Alessio Tummolillo
A video making its way around the web shows high school senior Jacob Rudolph accepting a Senior Award for Class Actor, followed by his coming out to over 300 people including classmates, parents, and teachers. The entire event was recorded and posted by his father.
Jacob state in his acceptance speech that he has been acting every day of his real life. He tells the audience that everyone sees him as “straight Jacob” while in truth, he’s actually gay. Jacob goes on to make a rousing speech, not only about his own sexuality, but how hate needs to be defeated in the world.
“Unlike the millions of other LGBT teens who have had to act every day to avoid verbal harassment, physical violence…I’m not going to do it anymore,” he says. “It’s time to end the hate in our society, and accept 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.”
At the end of his speech, Jacob’s classmates give him a standing ovation.
In solidarity with his son, Jacob’s father, Jonathan, leaves a message to “Stop the Hate” at the end of the video.