Midway through a speech at a Human Rights Campaign conference for LGBT teens on Valentine’s Day, Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page came out as gay in the most touching and heartwarming way possible.
“I’m here today because I am gay,” she said. “And because … maybe I can make a difference. To help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility. I also do it selfishly, because I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission.”
Her speech is heartwarming and honest and raw, and you’ll probably need a tissue or two to get through it. (Or just use your sleeve the way we did.) And her Valentine’s Day timing could not be better.
A lot of Twitter comments have been saying that it would be a better world if it would not be a big deal for a young actress to come out, and they might well be right. But for now and the world we live in, it is a big deal. It is a big deal for Michael Sam to come out and potentially be the first openly gay player in the NFL, and it is a big deal when a young Hollywood actress like Page comes out, too. She’s a beautiful, young, 26-year-old movie star with a healthy career that puts her in-demand in both indie movies and X-Men- and Inception-sized blockbusters. Coming out at this point in her career is incredibly brave, and we don’t think enough of Hollywood to think that it comes at no risk. Page acknowledged the “crushing standards” the entertainment industry puts on all of us, saying:
Here I am, an actress, representing—at least in some sense—an industry that places crushing standards on all of us. Not just young people, but everyone. Standards of beauty. Of a good life. Of success. Standards that, I hate to admit, have affected me. You have ideas planted in your head, thoughts you never had before, that tell you how you have to act, how you have to dress and who you have to be.
In the world we live in, it is a big deal when someone like Page comes out, and she did it bravely and honestly. We recommend watching the entire speech here: