Jacob Eiler (born 1979) is a human rights activist from Indiana. He is listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students and the National Dean's List for outstanding academic achievement. Eiler is an alumnus of the Indiana Youth Group and was a speaker for PFLAG and other groups. He is most well known for being on the front wave of the controversy surrounding homosexual youth coming out while attending school, and for the many media pieces featuring him regarding that topic.
Eiler refused to be treated differently, despite living in a small town in rural Indiana. He came out to himself and friends when he was twelve, but didn't tell his parents until he was sixteen. He was estranged from his family and received little or no familial support after that, moving in with a lesbian friend and working at a nursing home to support himself. Throughout high school he was harassed by other students, prompting him to utilize the press to pressure the school to give him better protection. In his senior year, he told some friends that he intended to bring his boyfriend to prom. When this spread around the school it upset many of the students.
The day before prom his car was vandalized, all four tires slashed, and had the word "fag" carved into the paint; there were signs in neighboring houses' yards adjacent to the high school with scriptures from the Bible claiming that God was against homosexuality. He filed a police report, which got picked up by the media. The Associated Press and Indiana state newspapers and television stations showed up at the prom to interview him as it was unheard of at the time for same sex couples to attend prom. Eventually he was flooded with calls and inquiries, which is how he gained some local and national notability.
Eiler has been in many newspapers, magazines, and other forms of media. He has been approached by and featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, Les-Bi-Gay Radio Chicago, Seventeen Magazine, OUT Magazine, Oasis Magazine, The Daily Show (on Comedy Central), and several private biographers and filmmakers. Although Eiler has declined any type of book or movie opportunities, he someday plans to write a book about his life to help others overcome adversity and prejudice.
- Associated Press. "Gay Teen-ager and His Male Date Spark Controversy at Senior Prom", Louisville Courier-Journal, 1997-05-04. Retrieved on 2006-06-06.
- Young, Marilyn. "Same-sex prom date: No problems", Anderson Herald-Bulletin, 1997-05-03. Retrieved on 2006-02-09.
- Nelms, Robby (November 2007). Wi-Fi & Netiquette. today's focus: technology. Indianapolis Star. Retrieved on 2007-12-12.
- Walsh, Jeff (September 1997). Oasis Profile: Jacob Eiler, 18, of Anderson, Indiana. Profiles in Courage. Oasis Magazine. Retrieved on 2006-06-06.
- Riethauser, Stéphane (October 1997). Chassé de la maison à 16 ans (French). Lambda Education. Retrieved on 2006-06-06.