Canadian actress Ellen Page came out as gay on Friday, Feb. 14 at the Time to Thrive Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Page is well known for her roles in the movie Juno as Juno MacGuff and Inception as Ariadne. The actress started out her speech thanking the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) community for holding the conference, commending those individuals that strive to better the lives of people struggling with their sexual orientations.
Founded in 1924, the LGBT movement fights for the acceptance of LGBT people in society. Followers of this movement advocate for LGBT rights, which encompass government recognition of same-sex relationships, adoption, anti-bullying legislation, non-discrimination laws, and more. The Time to Thrive conference was launched by the Human Rights Campaign and aimed at educating the adults to ensure the well-being of the LGBT youth.
Page spoke of the debilitating effects of superficial standards and social pressures on individuals: “Here I am, . . . representing . . . an industry that places crushing standards on all of us,” Page said. “Standards of beauty, of a good life, of success — standards that, I hate to admit, have affected me.”
According to the “Growing Up LGBT in America,” 63% of LGBT youth say that they feel that they will need to move to another part of the country to feel accepted. Furthermore, LGBT youth are twice as more likely to be verbally harassed or bullied at school.
However, Ellen Page is finally out.
“I’m here today because I am gay,” she told the audience, “and because maybe I can make a difference, to help others have an easier and more hopeful time. . . I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility [to help].”
Some claim that Page’s coming out was not big news. However, as Harriet Williamson, writer for the Belfast Telegraph UK, wrote, “Page’s coming out should be news, as long as we live in a world where homophobia still exists. It should be news, because she is giving hope to all of those who are still in the closet.”
Jisu Eom, a sophomore at Crescenta Valley High School, commended Page’s bravery in an interview with JSR.
“Ellen Page seemed really nervous when she was giving her speech, especially with her gestures,” Eom commented. “She had to stop frequently throughout the speech in order to collect her emotions. This issue was clearly important to her.”
Page’s message is clear: People should never let external forces dictate neither human character nor ability.
“I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission,” Page stated. “I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain.”