In January, Jacob Rudolph came out as an LGBT teen to his fellow seniors at Parisppany High School in New Jersey and received a standing ovation in a video that quickly went viral. He has since launched a petition urging Gov. Chris Christie (R) to support a proposed ban to ex-gay therapy for minors. On Monday, Jacob testified on behalf of this bill before the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee, which voted to advance it. Powerfully declaring his identity as a bi teen, he told the panel about some of the responses he received to his viral coming out video:
RUDOLPH: Like every other LGBT person, I am not broken, I am not confused, and I do not need to be fixed. I did not choose my sexual orientation, but what I did choose was to pretend to be somebody that I was not. I came to terms with myself that I was bisexual when I was in the 9th grade, but I was truly afraid to share with anyone else who I really was. High school is challenging enough for teens who are straight, but it is even more challenging for LGBT teens, because they have to risk alienating their friends, being subjected to taunts and physical violence, and having their families reject them. […]
The video of my speech was posted online and has since received nearly 2 million hits. Of all the responses I have received, however, the ones that meant the most to me were those that were sent by five teenagers from various locations across the United States. Each of those five teenagers had something in common: they had made preparations to commit suicide before watching my video, yet after watching my video they all decided against it. Some of these teens had been rejected by their families, who’d believed they had chosen to be gay, and these families refused to accept them for who they are.
It is beyond baffling to me that anyone might actually believe that sexual orientation is a “lifestyle choice” that can be altered if desired. Even more disturbing, however, is that there are organizations whose sole mission is to “cure” LGBT individuals of their orientation through the truculent practices that have been deemed dangerously harmful and ineffective by the American Psychological Association and other meritable groups.
Watch his full testimony:
Those advocating for ex-gay therapy claim there is no evidence that it doesn’t work. Unfortunately for them, there is no evidence that it does work, and there is evidence that it’s harmful.