Ellen Page comes out as gay: 'Maybe I can make a difference'
Published Friday, February 14, 2014 10:52PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 15, 2014 2:46PM EST
Canadian actress Ellen Page came out as gay during a speech to a conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in Las Vegas on Friday evening, saying she hoped to “help others have an easier and more hopeful time.”
Page made the declaration at Human Right’s Campaign’s inaugural Time To THRIVE event.
“I’m here today because I am gay,” Page said, according to a copy of her speech posted to the Human Right’s Campaign website. “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. 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.”
In a brief statement, Human Rights Campaign said it “congratulates Page on her brave decision to live openly and authentically.”
The 26-year-old hit it big in Hollywood with a starring role in Juno, and has appeared in big-budget films such as Inception and the X-Men series.
During her speech, Page admitted that the entertainment industry’s “crushing standards” of beauty and success have made it difficult for her to be herself.
“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,” she said. “I have been trying to push back, to be authentic, to follow my heart, but it can be hard.”
She also reached out to those who may be bullied at school “for no reason. Or you go home and you feel like you can’t tell your parents the whole truth about yourself. Beyond putting yourself in one box or another, you worry about the future. About college or work or even your physical safety. Trying to create that mental picture of your life -- of what on earth is going to happen to you -- can crush you a little bit every day. It is toxic and painful and deeply unfair.”
Page noted how she, too, faces intense scrutiny from the media.
“I try not to read gossip as a rule, but the other day a website ran an article with a picture of me wearing sweatpants on the way to the gym. The writer asked, “Why does (this) petite beauty insist upon dressing like a massive man?”
“Because I like to be comfortable. There are pervasive stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that define how we are all supposed to act, dress and speak. They serve no one. Anyone who defies these so-called 'norms' becomes worthy of comment and scrutiny. The LGBT community knows this all too well.”
Page hailed the courage of other celebrities who have come out recently, including top NFL prospect Michael Sam.
And she told the crowd that she, like they, has struggled with self-acceptance.
“You’re here because you’ve adopted as a core motivation the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another.
If we took just 5 minutes to recognize each other’s beauty, instead of attacking each other for our differences. That’s not hard. It’s really an easier and better way to live. And ultimately, it saves lives.”