Senior class awards are an annual event at just about every high school in the country. Whether it’s Most Popular, or Most Likely to Succeed, we all have aging yearbooks that remind us of who was supposed to succeed.
While most of us tend to forget our award winning classmates over time, that will probably not be the case for Jacob Rudolph’s senior classmates in Parsippany, New Jersey. Rudolph was on stage in front of his entire class to accept the award for Class Actor when he began an acceptance speech that will not soon be forgotten. .
"Sure I've been in a few plays and musicals, but more importantly, I've been acting every single day of my life," Rudolph said. "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. 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. 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.
Video of Rudolph’s speech, uploaded by his father, has become an internet sensation. Rudolph’s father also went on to say that his son’s speech "took more guts to do than anything I've ever attempted in my life."
As for Jacob, "It felt like this immense weight was gone," he stated. "I'd been carrying it around with me for years. It affected me academically, emotionally, socially. It's like my life is now before and after. I think that explanation is what made this whole process make sense."
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