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LGBT Student Comes Out at Par High: 'I Am What I Am'

in UNITED STATES, 28/01/2013

With the support of his family, a teacher and a few close friends, Jacob Rudolph, an 18-year-old senior, put aside his fears of discrimination and harassment and made a speech in front of 300 of his fellow students after he was proclaimed "class actor." And his father, Jonathan, was so proud of his son's courage that he put a video of the speech on YouTube.

An excerpt from the speech quotes Harvey Fierstein's award-winning musical "La Cage aux Folles:"
I've been in a few plays and musicals, but more importantly, I've been acting every single day of my life. 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.

In the speech's aftermath, Rudolph reportedly received a standing ovation, and his classmates and teachers, he told NJ.com, have been supportive. Reaction has been more split on the video's YouTube page, where congratulatory comments share space with anti-LGBT sentiments.

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