January 27, 2013

Teen’s Coming Out Speech Raises Questions About Labels

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High School Senior's Coming Out Speech Is Moving And Thought-Provoking

Last week, Jacob Rudolph, a New Jersey high school student, received an award at school for acting and used his acceptance speech to retire from his most long-standing role, that of a heterosexual male. What sets this coming out speech apart from the recent wave (don’t get me wrong — EVERY public coming out moment, whether by a celebrity or a teen in a button-down, is like a warm hug around my tired soul) is Rudolph’s identifying himself as “LGBT” instead of just “gay”.

This speech stirs up a few interesting questions:

Are we, as posited by Jacob Rudolph, moving beyond the necessity of identifying as just L, G, B, T, or Q?

Are we possibly moving into an era where sexuality will be regarded (finally) as a much more varied spectrum, upon which one’s position isn’t always stationary, nor need it be?

Does refusing to pick just one letter of the acronym to identify by provide for much-needed flexibility to account for possible future personal sexual evolution?

Is this the next stepping stone along the path to the Acceptance Promised Land, where instead of needing to “come out” or “identify” as one thing or another, we can just all be satisfied that humans aren’t necessary “homo-, hetero-, or bi-sexual”, but rather are all just generally “sexual”, and that the TRUE specifics of that for each person are complex, personal, ever-fluctuating, and really not worth wasting time to externally define unless you’re, like, tryin’ to hit that?

Will coming out speeches ever not make me cry?

Between this teen and Cory Booker, is New Jersey somehow the new ground zero of cuteness in the US?

Is anyone else getting shades of James Marsden from this kid?

Is there anything that will make high schoolers shut the fuck up in any assembly ever? You’re killing the moment, #selfie generation. (But good cheering at the end. Way to bring it home.) TC mark

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