Award-winning Canadian actor Ellen Page, star of the hit movie Juno and the voice of Jodie Holmes in the video game Beyond: Two Souls, came out as a gay woman on Valentine’s Day at the HRC’s THRIVE Conference in Las Vegas. Page said that she felt that because she was not being open about her sexuality, she was “lying by omission.”
Time to THRIVE is a conference for LGBT youth presented for the first time this year by the Human Rights Campaign. Ellen Page spoke at the inauguration of the conference, giving a nine-minute-long emotional speech describing why she supports the work of the HRC and the conference, in which she came out to applause from the conference’s attendees.
The 26-year-old actor echoed in her speech the feelings of many LGBT people who are in positions that prevent them from living openly, saying that it had a profoundly negative effect on all aspects of her life. Her voice wavered with emotion as she thanked the audience for inspiring her to use her platform to try to change the lives of young people who may feel like there is no hope because of their sexual orientation.
Ellen Page claimed that using the HRC’s Time to THRIVE conference to come out publicly as gay was selfish and “a little weird,” but went on to say that she hopes to use the spotlight that is on her to challenge the pressures put on all people by Hollywood’s standards.
With this speech, she joined the growing array of openly gay people in positions of note who hope to show that a person’s sexuality is not a hinderance and that people can succeed in any field regardless of whether they are gay, straight, or otherwise.
The admission of her sexuality came as a surprise to everyone who attended the conference, and the HRC posted the news to their Twitter, Facebook fan page, and Tumblr blog after her speech.
Additionally in her speech, Page addresses her concerns with the ideas of gender presentation that Hollywood imposes. She does so with an anecdote about a tabloid that had published a candid photo of her wearing baggy sweatpants on the way to the gym, asking why she insists on dressing like an enormous man. To which Page quipped that she enjoys dressing comfortably.
The actor will reprise her role as Shadowcat in the upcoming film X-Men: Days of Future Past, and will also star alongside Julianne Moore and Zach Galifianakis in Freeheld, an indie drama about a lesbian couple whose assets are frozen after one of them is stricken with a terminal illness. The film is based on a true story and has become something of a passionate project for her.
The HRC’s Time to THRIVE conference, at which Ellen Page took the opportunity to come out, is to be an annual event that provides scholarships and workshops to young gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. The conference this year is in Las Vegas, Nevada, at Bally’s Hotel and Casino, and will run from February 14 to 16.
By Robin Syrenne