I will concede that there are many times that I get very depressed at the current state of LGBT rights. Yes, huge advances have been made in some ways, but here in Virginia progress seems to have passed us by and LGBT individuals remain third or fourth class citizens. Indeed, over the last 10 years in Virginia, the only advance has been that we can no longer be charged with a felony for consensual sex in the privacy of our own homes thanks to the 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. But then I see something like the brave coming out of New Jersey high school senior Jacob Rudolph (see the video above) and I realize that things have indeed changed for the better. Rudolph exhibits a courage and bravery that I could never have exhibited decades ago when I was his age. Here's a portion of the high schooler's statement as he received his school's best actor award:
Sure 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."
His remarks about living his life as an actor hit home with me. I did it for 37 years and know how soul killing it is. Kudos to Jacob Rudolph.