When Ellen Page came out on Valentines Day at the HRC hosted Time to Thrive first annual conference for young people of the LGBT community many rushed to lend their support to the 26 year-old Canadian actress; one such supporter was author Anne Rice who got hostility for her words of approval. The 72 year-old American author, who gave new life to vampire fiction and created the character Lestat, posted a message of support on her Facebook page. Rice said that she applauded Page’s courage and that each time a “prominent person” came out, another blow against bullying, bigotry, stereotyping and ignorance occurred.
Fans of Rice reacted, for the most part, positively. The Queen of the Damned author relayed that most of her 917,000 followers on Facebook left many “substantive” comments on her page, but, many left hateful messages on her page. She explained that she deleted these hate filled quotes that purported to be Christian in nature. Rice, whose son Christopher is gay, said that she no longer has the patience to deal with that type of irresponsible belief with its talk of “sin and hellfire.”
Ellen Page coming out was met with support from more than just the LGBT community and Anne Rice added her voice of support only to get widespread hostility. The author pointed out that gay people, regardless of what they did in life, constantly face bigotry and ignorance. She also said that she hoped Page’s bravery inspired more celebrities to come out. According to Rice another Facebook user challenged her support. Her answer was that many Christians were very aggressive towards the gay community and she has explained that when these types of “hateful” messages are posted on her page, she will first delete and then ban them.
Sadly, it is not just Christians who have bias against the LGBT community. Hollywood may have had its fair share of sexual secrets, for instance the knowledge that Rock Hudson was gay happened to be one of the best known secrets in Tinsel Town. Despite this “acceptance” Hollywood has only recently started trying to cater to the LGBT community. As mentioned by many, it was not too long ago that another Hollywood Ellen, DeGeneres, came out and immediately afterward her award winning television show was cancelled.
Admittedly, DeGeneres managed to crawl out from under the rock that Hollywood attempted to put her under. She is now one of the most beloved personalities in the showbusiness town. Of course this older Ellen was pretty beloved before her admission. While it is admirable that Ellen Page made the choice to speak out about being a lesbian, it is a shame that this is still considered newsworthy. So much so that days after the Time to Thrive conference announcement was made, Page’s declaration is still trending heavily.
The fact is that Ellen Page’s coming out is being treated as headline grabbing news and that is sad. It shows that despite the attempts of the LGBT and organizations like the HRC to educate the population about people who do not fit the “Christian” norm of “approved” sexuality still has a long way to go. It is also just as sad that Page felt she had to hide her true self in a town that specializes in manufacturing dreams posing as reality. Anne Rice is just one of many who stood up to applaud Ellen’s bravery only to get hostility from many of her followers. Although it is not surprising, it is sad that anyone who comes out has to face such a barrage of media coverage. Wouldn’t it be nice if, in the near future, no one has to come out and can be accepted just as they are without feeling the need to hide their true nature. Ellen Page and Anne Rice would most likely agree.
By Michael Smith