My name is Jacob Rudolph, and the video above is me coming out to my school as openly LGBT. I chose to come out in such a public way because LGBT youth need to know they are not alone. Now, I am asking for your help to encourage New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, to support a bill that would protect kids who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender from a dangerous practice.
Currently, the New Jersey state legislature is considering a bill that would protect minors from the harmful, discredited practice of gay conversion therapy, which subjects teens to psychologically damaging “treatment” by so-called psychology counselors who falsely claim they can “fix” the sexual orientation of children who identify as being LGBT.
Unfortunately, Governor Chris Christie has not yet said he will support this crucial legislation. Gov. Christie must be made to understand how critical such legislation is to protecting the thousands of teens like me from the dangers of gay conversion therapy.
Major psychological, psychiatric, and counseling associations have found this ineffective and scientifically unsound practice 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.
According to the CDC and the Trevor Project, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. And, that number doubles to 8 times more likely if LGB youth come from families that reject the child's sexual orientation.
Together, we can raise Gov. Christie’s awareness of these issues and obtain his support for the legislation that would ban gay conversion therapy. Together we can urge the governor to protect LGBT teens by endorsing the bill. By enacting the proposed statute, New Jersey has an opportunity not just to protect kids from the emotional damage of dangerous anti-gay conversion therapy, but to save lives as well.
I'm incredibly lucky to have parents who love me just the way I am, which is why it hurts me to know that, every single day, kids across the state are forced to lie or feel shame about who they really are, for fear of being rejected by their families and friends or forced to be subjected to harmful “therapy” intended to fix what is not broken.
Please sign my petition today urging Governor Chris Christie to protect New Jersey’s LGBT kids and to support state senate bill S2278.
Senior, Parsippany High School