Jacob Rudolph testified, at the request of Garden State Equality, before the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Monday regarding state senate bill S2278, which would protect minors from so-called "gay conversion therapy."
On January 18, Jacob, of Parsippany, NJ, came out in an acceptance speech at his Senior Awards in front of over 300 students, staff and parents. In accepting the award for "Class Actor," he told his classmates, "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." Since then Jacob has become an advocate against so-called "gay conversion therapy."
He started a Change.org petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to sign the bill into law.
In the petition Jacob notes, "Major psychological, psychiatric, and counseling associations have found this ineffective and scientifically unsound practice [the "therapy"] to be harmful for young people. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association has concluded that a great risk of depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior result from anti-gay conversion therapy." Indeed, the American Medical Association, the Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, among others have all denounced such programs. You can watch Jacob's testimony below.
As this bill goes through the state government, it is likely to become a major news story as New Jersey would only be the second state in the nation, after California, to have such a ban. Media should refer to GLAAD's resource for covering "ex-gay therapy."