After Coming Out, LGBT Par-Troy Teen Takes Action
Par High student hopes a petition he is circulating will protect kids from "ex-gay" therapy.
Newly out and proud, a Parsippany LGBT teen is taking a stand to protect the dignity of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Jerseyans.
After coming out in front of his classmates at Parsippany High School last month, a videotaped moment that went viral on YouTube, 18-year-old Jacob Rudolph is taking action to protect others. The teenager recently launched a new petition on Change.org urging Gov. Christie to support pending legislation in Trenton that would ban the use of controversial gay “conversion” therapy on minors. This controversial practice is employed by some churches and conservative Christian groups in hopes of changing sexual orientation—despite the fact that so-called "ex-gay" therapies have been repudiated repeatedly by groups including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Pediatric Association and the American Medical Association.
“Every single day, kids across the state are forced to lie or feel shame about who they really are for fear of being rejected by their families and friends, or worse, being forced to undergo harmful 'therapy' intended to fix what is not broken,” Rudolph explained. “I'm incredibly lucky to have parents who love me just the way I am. I hope Gov. Christie agrees with my parents, and the more than 27,000 people who have signed my petition, that all New Jersey kids deserve to be loved and protected.”
New signatures on Jacob’s petition are sent via email to the governor, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, and Christie’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak. Christie has yet to comment on whether or not he will support New Jersey Senate Bill S2278, which has been co-sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney.
In his petition, Rudolph includes a warning from the American Psychiatric Association, which concluded that people subjected to "ex-gay" therapy are at a much greater risk for depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior. The document also cites statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the Trevor Project stating that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. That number doubles if a child's family rejects him or her because of orientation.
“By supporting this bill, Gov. Christie has an opportunity not just to protect kids from the emotional damage of dangerous anti-gay conversion therapy, but to save lives as well,” said Rudolph.
“More than a million people have watched Jacob's brave coming out story on YouTube, and now Jacob is hoping to turn that support into action that benefits LGBT kids all throughout his state,” said Mark Anthony Dingbaum, senior campaign manager at Change.org. “More than 27,000 people have already joined Jacob’s Change.org campaign, clearly inspired by this young man’s courage and conviction.”