Jacob Rudolph, a high school senior who came out in front of his entire class during an awards ceremony, explained his motivation to MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts Friday.
Rudolph, a musician and actor, said:
“I decided to do it in that way initially because I made the initial connection between the irony of me acting every single day of my life and me being a stage actor, but as I started thinking about it more and more, and I talked with a very close gay family friend he explained to me that by performing the speech in front of all my peers and then having it videotaped especially would not only be coming out for myself, but also coming out for kids who maybe don’t have the courage or don’t know how to do it in a right way.”
Rudolph received thunderous applause and a standing ovation at the end of his speech.
Rudolph also told Roberts that his school “has been nothing but supportive” and that he has received numerous message on Facebook from people he’s never met.
“I really have to reiterate that it really wasn’t for me at that point, it was really for everybody else in the LGBT community,” Rudolph said.
Rudolph’s father uploaded the video of the speech to YouTube, where it quickly received over 400,000 views in less than a week. Jonathan Rudolph said his son’s decision to come out in front of his class took “more guts than anything I’ve ever attempted in my life.”
Rudolph told Roberts that he chose to say he was LGBT instead of gay because he felt those terms belong in the past and that people can change in the future.
You can watch Jacob Rudolph’s interview with Thomas Roberts, as well as the video of his coming out speech, below.