Ellen Page: Shattering the Closet Door
The Advocate’s Person of the Year was revealed yesterday on MSNBC’s The Last Word
There’s coming out, and then there’s really coming out. Ellen Page did the latter, forgoing the Photoshopped People cover and bursting through the closet this year with a ferocity rarely seen.
“I’m here because I’m gay,” the Oscar-nominated Juno actress said on Valentine’s Day to a gathering of LGBT youth at a Las Vegas Human Rights Campaign conference. “I am 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.”
The truth really did set Page free; she instantly embraced her new role as advocate, speaking about her coming out to a variety of media personalities, such as Ellen DeGeneres and the hosts of Good Morning America. She presented the Stephen F. Kolziak GLAAD Media Award to transgender actress Laverne Cox, clearly thrilled with her newfound ability to declare her solidarity with another LGBT hero. GLAAD’s pairing of Page with Cox was on-point, as the two women are both members of a very exclusive club: successful, respected celebrities who aren’t simply out, they’re role models who relish the job.
Page hasn’t signed on to activism full-time, though, as her coming-out hasn’t diminished her star power — in fact, it may have burnished it, thanks to an increased visibility and more resonant voice. After starring in much-loved girl-power movies like Hard Candy, Whip It, and X-Men: Days of Future Past, Page is currently filming the apocalyptic drama Into the Forest with fellow out actress Evan Rachel Wood. Her longtime passion project, Freeheld, is also getting off the ground. The movie tells the story of Laurel Hester (played by Julianne Moore), a dying woman fighting for her pension benefits to be transferred to her partner (Page).
The 27-year-old is also producing the movie, a project that has the potential to alter mainstream perception of LGBT issues in a monumental way (it’s written by Philadelphia screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, after all). During her big speech in Las Vegas, Page had said, “Maybe I can help others to have an easier time.”
Something tells us her coming-out was just the first page in a story that’s bound to make an easier and easier time for those who follow. — Neal Broverman