Jacob Rudolph, GLAAD's Communications and Public Relations Intern and a young LGBT advocate who has already inspired many, gave an empowering speech in front of thousands of people at the NYC Pride Rally to kick off the weekend's pride festivities.
Even though Jacob is only nineteen years old, he has already begun leaving a lasting mark on the LGBT community and proving his commitment to bettering the lives of LGBT youth. A couple of short weeks ago, Jacob was selected as a Point Foundation Scholar, an honor that is awarded to the most promising LGBT students to achieve their full academic success and leadership potential. Jacob is currently President of SpectrUM, the undergraduate LGBT advocacy organization at the University of Miami, where he is a rising sophomore.
But before he even began college, Jacob was already inspiring others to speak their truths and live honestly after a video of him coming out in front of his entire high school went viral. He was instantly embraced by the LGBT community. Jacob appeared on MSNBC and on Anderson Cooper, where he met one of his idols George Takei. He also started a Change.org petition and even testified before the New Jersey senate to pass a bill to protect youth from gay conversion therapy (and it was a success, with New Jersey becoming the second state in the country to ban mental health workers and therapists from performing gay conversion therapy on minors).
Jacob was invited to march with GLAAD in the 2013 NYC Pride parade alongside MMA fighter Fallon Fox, MTV's JWOWW, and LGBT advocate Shane Bitney Crone from the documentary Bridegroom. And now GLAAD is lucky to have Jacob as an intern!
During the NYC Pride Rally on New York City's Pier 26 Friday night, Jacob was one of the first featured speakers of the night. He was introduced on stage by Michelle Visage and spoke eloquently about his own experiences and hopes for the future, maintaining his composure despite being in the presence of an audience of thousands, as well as other inspiring speakers and LGBT leaders.
Look at this Instagram photo he took from the stage!
Jacob embodies the spirit of Pride, and as long as young people like him continue to speak up to make change happen, the future of the LGBT community is definitely in good hands.
Check out his speech here: