Column by Jocelyn Hommes
Recently, popular actress Ellen Page announced she is a lesbian at the 2014 Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “Time to Thrive” conference. Page, age 26, is famously known for her role in 2007’s “Juno.”
In her nine minute long speech, Page started off by addressing issues that the LGBT community faces every day.
She encouraged young people in the gay community to keep strong against the hate and abuse they receive for their sexuality.
After speaking for a few minutes, Page paused and said, “I’m here today because I am gay.”
The crowd started applauding and gave her a standing ovation. She goes on to tell the crowd, “Thank you. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for giving me hope, and please keep changing the world for people like me.”
Of course, Page is a well-known actress and such big information about her would make the news.
However, even a week after her coming out, her sexuality is still making headlines.
Why, even in 2014, is it still such a big deal for celebrities to come out? And should their coming outs be such a big deal?
The answer is yes. As it stands today, gay marriage is allowed in 17 states.
More and more people are announcing their support, and it would seem as if being gay no longer gives a negative connotation, at least to most people.
However, no matter how much support and openness surrounds the LGBT community, there are still many bigoted people in the world who are uncomfortable with the idea of celebrities coming out.
That is precisely why Ellen Page, although strong in her words, appeared a bit nervous on stage in that conference.
That is why it took British diver Tom Daley almost a full year to announce he was in a relationship with a man.
That is why there has been such a commotion over NFL prospect Michael Sam’s announcement that he is gay.
Do not confuse their actual sexuality and their coming outs.
Although it is a big deal that these celebrities have come out, it’s not their sexuality itself that is a big deal.
If you’re gay, you’re gay, and that’s just the way it is. The sky is blue, Harry Potter is a wizard, Iowa has a lot of corn and gay people are gay.
It’s okay and people shouldn’t treat it as such a huge issue. The difference between that and coming out to the public, however, is how much guts it must take celebrities to come out to the entire world.
Everything they do is already judged by people who don’t even know them, and yet they still work up enough courage to out themselves.
The haters are still out there, and no matter how much we try to deny it, we still live in a very hetero-normative world.
And that is why I applaud Page for mustering up her courage and revealing the truth about herself.
As an open lesbian, she can stand as a role model for young teenagers who are afraid to come out and inspire them to stay strong.
Congratulations on the brave speech and positive attitude, Ellen. Keep doing what you’re doing.
Hommes is a first-year English major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org