Ellen Page, the 26-year-old Canadian actress best known for her lead role in the 2007 blockbuster film Juno, revealed Friday that she is gay.
She made the announcement in a moving and deeply personal speech delivered at Time to Thrive, a conference to promote the welfare of LGBTQ youth held at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
“I’m here today because I am gay,” Page, 26, told the audience, “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 am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission,” Page proudly and defiantly declared. “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.”
Page first shared the inner turmoil she’s felt since she was thrust into the Hollywood limelight following the blockbuster success of 2007’s Juno.
“It’s weird because here I am, an actress, representing — at least in some sense — an industry that places crushing standards on all of us,” Page said. “Not just young people, but everyone. Standards of beauty, of a good life, of success — standards that, I hate to admit, have affected me.
“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. I have been trying to push back, to be authentic, to follow my heart, but it can be hard,” she admitted.
Page, who paused frequently to collect herself as her emotions swelled, added that reading about herself in the tabloids can be a trying ordeal. She mentioned one article, accompanied by a paparazzi photo of her wearing sweatpants on the way to the gym, that asked, “Why does this petite beauty insist upon dressing like a massive man?” (The answer: “Because I like to be comfortable,” a line that drew laughter and applause.)
That kind of gender stereotyping serves “no one,” Page said. She then went on to single out examples of “courage all around us,” naming “football hero Michael Sam,” Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox and musicians Tegan and Sara Quin for their contributions to furthering LGBT visibility and pride
You can watch Ellen’s entire 8-minute speech below.