Ellen Page: Why coming out is a big deal and why we should care

Standing at a podium in front of hundreds of people with trembling fingers and a wavering yet passionate voice, actress Ellen Page gave both us and herself something far more memorable than chocolates and teddy bears for this past Valentine’s Day. On Friday, February 14th, Page came out as gay at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Time to THRIVE conference in Las Vegas. The talented Juno and Inception star gave an incredibly moving speech, claiming that she is coming out because “I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission..” Page continues to say “I am young, yes, but what I have learned is that love, the beauty of it, the joy of it and yes, even the pain of it, is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.” Go Carol.

Articles regarding Page’s speech were plastered on nearly every social media feed, generally receiving positive remarks. However, an overcast of tweets and social commentary erupted from the excitement, asking “why should we care” about Page’s honesty and personal life. These skepticisms on the importance of Page’s words emphasizes the troubling confusion between the personal life of an individual and the power that social One’s sexual orientation is, indeed, a very personal matter, yet has a great deal to do with identity and self-awareness as well.

The more honest Page is with herself, the more honest her image as a Hollywood actress and role model will be.

It is true that Page’s coming out is not any more important than anyone else’s, but it sure does make a social statement. As Mary Lambert posted on her Facebook page, “Incorrect responses to a public figure coming out (OR TO ANYONE COMING OUT): ‘We already knew’ ‘Who cares’ ‘I’m coming out as straight. ha ha.’ 1. Visibility is an incredibly powerful tool against homophobia. 2. Homosexuality is illegal in 83 countries. 3. Heterosexuality is not a hurdle.” It no longer becomes “just a personal issue” when an entire community of people are internationally abused and discriminated against and now has a new, powerful public figure that they are able to look to for support.

By coming out, Page’s social roles and images have already changed monumentally. I have faith that her fan base and credibility have and will grow stronger and vaster in numbers. This is a celebration for acceptance and broadening of LGTBQ representation in Hollywood. This is the well-being and support of others that have faced traumatizing discrimination against them, merely because of their sexual orientation. This is so people feel less alone and become more honest with themselves. And this is why we should all care.