Coming out is rarely easy, making it all the more impressive that Jacob Rudolph, a New Jersey high school senior, did so in front of his entire class.
During the presentation of senior class awards, Rudolph was given the Class Actor award, an irony not lost on him as he addressed his classmates.
"Sure I've been in a few plays and musicals, but more importantly, I've been acting every single day of my life," he said. "You see, I've been acting as someone I'm not."
"Most of you see me acting the part of 'straight' Jacob, when I am in fact LGBT."
"Unlike millions of other LGBT teens who've 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," said the Parsippany, N.J. teen, "Because I am what I am, and that's how I'm going to act from now on."
Pretty inspiring - as was the huge ovation he received afterward.
Footage of Rudolph's speech was posted online by his father, who noted on the video that it "took more guts to do than anything I've ever attempted in my life."
Rudolph said later that "The more leaders who pop up in the LGBT community, the more it inspires others. It just becomes a whole domino effect."
"It felt like this immense weight was gone. I'd been carrying it for years."
"It affected me academically, emotionally, socially. It's like my life is now before and after. I think that explanation is what made this whole process make sense."
Well done, Jacob. Very well done indeed.