With the new year, many reflect on 2013. For one Parsippany teenager, he has much to look back on.
It’s been a year since Jacob Rudolph captured the attention of the nation when he came out as LGBT during a school assembly. He earned a standing ovation from his classmates January 2013 and a video of the milestone went viral on YouTube. The video currently has 1,919,718 views.
Since then, he hasn’t slowed down in the national spotlight. Between graduating from Parsippany High School last year and beginning at Miami University as a music business student last August, Rudolph has been able to balance school, extracurriculars and his involvement in national initiatives, according to the Daily Record.
Among some of his achievements in the past year include testifying before the New Jersey Senate Health Committee in support of a bill that would ban the use of controversial gay “conversion” therapy on minors and creating a Change.org petition campaign that calls on Gov. Christie to support the bill.
In August, as school began for Rudolph, Christie signed the legislation. Conversion therapy is a controversial practice employed by some churches and conservative Christian groups in hopes of changing sexual orientation.
Change seems to be in the air. Last month, During Sunday’s worship at the United Methodist Church at Mount Tabor, a special vote was conducted to become a "’reconciling congregation,’ one in which all people, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity, are valued for who they are and welcome to participate in the life of the church,” said Rev. Amanda Hemenetz. Out of the 52 people who voted, 51 voted in favor of welcoming all people, including homosexuals.
With controversial change comes opposition and despite the threats and hate mail Rudolph receives, he still forges ahead.
“There are a lot of people out there that still don’t want progress to be made,” said Rudolph, in a recent interview with the Daily Record. “Those letters are a constant reminder of the work still to be done.”