Ellen Page: “I’m here today because I’m gay

By Martin Pengelly in New York, The Guardian Updated at 2014-02-16 07:28:55 +0000


Ellen Page, the Canadian actress who made her name in the 2007 indie hit Juno and has gone on to star in films including X-Men: The Last Stand and Inception, has announced that she is gay.

Speaking in Las Vegas on Friday, at a Human Rights Campaign-organised Time to Thrive conference of counsellors who work with teenagers who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual or queer, she said: “I’m here today because I’m gay, and because maybe I can make a difference.”

She added: ““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.”

In a speech which lasted for a little more than eight minutes, Page was given two standing ovations. The first came after the 26-year-old announced that she is gay.

After citing the examples of “the football hero Michael Sam” (the Missouri college star who came out this week), the actress Laverne Cox and the musicians Tegan and Sara Quin, Page said: “I’m tired of hiding, I’m tired of lying by omission.

“I suffered for years because I was afraid 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.”

Page also addressed persistent media rumours about her sexuality, saying: “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. And the writer asked: ‘Why does this petite beauty insist upon dressing like a massive man?’ Because I like to be comfortable.”

It was reported on Saturday that the article in question, published by E!, had been taken down from the website eonline.com. E! reported Page’s Las Vegas speech, which it called “moving”, on Friday night, quoting a passage in which she said: “Here I am, an actress, representing – at least in some sense – an industry that places crushing standards on all of us.”

E! did not quote Page’s remarks about its own article.

On Friday, Page continued: “There are pervasive stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that define how we are all supposed to act, dress and speak and they serve nobody. Anybody who defies these so-called norms becomes worthy of comment and scrutiny. The LGBT community knows this all too well.”

In a 2013 interview with the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman, Page addressed the rumours about her sexuality, which she famously satirised in a 2009 Saturday Night Live skit.

She said: “It will sound like I’m making this up but I don’t think I even thought about it at the time. I just thought the skit was funny. All of that gossip is silly – people caring about [celebrities’ personal lives] – I just don’t get it.”