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Topics In the News
 
Inspiring Teen Jacob Rudolph Tells Senate Committee: "I do not need to be fixed."
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 03/19/13
Last updated on: 03/20/13
 
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On March 19, 2013, Parsippany, New Jersey high school senior Jacob Rudolph delivered moving testimony to the Health Committee of the New Jersey Senate, which is considering a bill that would ban state-licensed professionals from subjecting minors to sexual orientation conversion therapy, which is also known as "reparative therapy." Rudolph said, "I am not broken. I am not confused. I do not need to be fixed."

The bill, which is sponsored by openly-gay state Assemblyman Tim Eustace, a Democrat from Bergen County, would prohibit licensed practitioners from performing reparative therapy on minors, even with parental permission. If passed, New Jersey would join California, which adopted a similar law last year, as the only two states banning reparative therapy for minors. The California law has been held in abeyance pending a challenge by anti-gay groups.

The American Psychiatric Association and other professional societies have condemned reparative therapy as both ineffectual and dangerously misguided. The APA issued a statement in 1998 observing that "the potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since the therapist's alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."

Also testifying in favor of the bill was Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality. Stevenson told PolitickerNJ that the issue was personal for him because the first boy he kissed as a teenager in Oklahoma was exposed and sent to a "conversion camp" and subsequently committed suicide.

Following the moving testimony of Stevenson and Rudolph, the Senate Health Committee advanced the bill on a 7-1 vote.

Rudolph first came to national attention as the result of his coming out in January at an awards ceremony. Receiving an award for his acting in school plays, he said he had also been acting by having to pretend that he was straight. His coming out was greeted with applause from his classmates. When his father posted a video of his remarks on YouTube, it quickly received almost two million hits.

The video below is of Rudolph's speech before the Senate Health Committee on March 19, 2013.

The video below is of Rudolph's remarks in January, when he came out at his high school award's ceremony.

 
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