Friday, February 12, 2016

A gay teen's Christie campaign

Student's viral video could rival governor's YouTube impact

A gay teen's Christie campaign

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A New Jersey high school senior whose eloquent coming out video has gone viral is challenging Gov. Christie to outlaw "conversion" therapy for gay youth.
A New Jersey high school senior whose eloquent coming out video has gone viral is challenging Gov. Christie to outlaw "conversion" therapy for gay youth.

A New Jersey high school senior whose eloquent coming out video has gone viral is challenging Gov. Christie to outlaw "conversion" therapy for gay youth.

A Change.org petition originated by Jacob Rudolph, 18, of Parsippany, Morris County, urges the governor to support a bill prohibiting minors from "therapy" programs purported to change homosexuals into heterosexuals. More than 27,000 people have signed the petition so far.

Change.org issued a news release promoting the petition and the video -- which since January 21 has attracted more than 1.7 million hits on YouTube -- on Tuesday. The same day, the indefatigable media colossus in Christie's office unleashed another of its cinematic productions, this one a "teaser" for the governor's budget address.

(The Christie spot featured uplifting music and graphics; it looked rather like a teaser for an upcoming gubernatorial campaign commercial. But never mind...)

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Rudolph's video was made with a single hand-held camera during a school assembly. It recorded the moment when the young man let several hundred classmates know that he is gay.

"I think the power of Jacob's video lies in storytelling," says Shareeza Bhola, communications manager for Change.org. "He's a successful high school senior who has a bright future, and he's sharing this story with the world."

By phone, Rudolph says his video has "authenticity" born of self-acceptance and the support of his family and friends. "That's what makes it so believable," he adds.

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