At the HRCF’s Time to Thrive Conference, Ellen Page said perhaps for the first time, in front of an audience of strangers, words she kept close to her heart for many years and that carry an enormous implication to the LGBT community:
“And I am here today because I am gay. And because maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and more hopeful time.”
More often than not, right after actors or public personalities go under the spotlight to declare their true sexual orientation, comments such as “Why does it matter?” “Was it really necessary to share it with the world?” “It won’t change anything for anybody else” come out from all corners, but have we really stopped to discuss the answers and consequences of such questions?
We need to understand that it matters, because only a small percentage of gay actors come out during their careers, fearing they will never get an acting job again. And an A-list actress not accepting any industry’s overwhelming norms and expectations is a refreshing change. It is necessary because children all over the world are scared of coming out to their families and friends, and they need a young role model of strength, perseverance and courage. They need to know there is a better and brighter future ahead and that it’s okay to be who you are and to love freely. It will change so much for her and others because living with this agonizing truth trapped inside your chest is soul crushing, as Page put on her speech:
“I’m tired of hiding. And I’m 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 that pain.”
Ignorant questions like those drive potential “come out speeches” to never happen. Because as much as such speeches are a liberating chapter in one’s life, they are also about sending a message of hope. People like Ellen Page, actors, presenters, reporters, footballers, singers, performers and artists have the power of using their life story to change for good how people view each other. They have the power to change the future to a time where being straight won’t be automatically assumed of everyone. Talking about your sexuality will be as easy as saying if you like carrots or beetroot better. A better future with less hate towards one another, a future more accepting of differences and a more inspiring future to our youth.
To learn more visit Human Rights Campaign’s Website