Ellen Page comes out

Ellen Page 2Actress Ellen Page is no stranger to geek culture, appearing in indie hit movie Juno, intense horror flick Hard Candy, triple A video game Beyond: Two Souls, and playing Kitty Pryde in the up-coming X-Men: Days of Future Past. But last night, while speaking at The Human Rights Campaign’s Time to THRIVE, a conference to benefit LGBTQ youth, Page made an emotional announcement; “I am gay.”

Page appears visibly nervous in the video of her speech at the conference. “I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission,” Page said with growing confidence after her revelation was met with a standing ovation. “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.” Her statements reflect that LGBTQ youth are at a significantly increased risk for suicide and mental health issues, much of which has been linked to homophobia and rejection.

The 26-year-old Canadian actress spoke to why she has not spoken out until, citing the pressures placed upon her by the Hollywood industry. “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, having to pause frequently in order to collect herself. She went on to say that the strict gender roles enforced by the industry serve no one.

A rattled and emotional Page concluded the speech by wishing the audience a happy Valentine’s Day, finishing with a quick, “I love you.”

Since going online, the video of Page’s speech a has been watched over 1 million times, and people have been taking to Twitter to voice their support, Sir Patrick Stewart and House of Cards star Kata Mara included. Unfortunately, not everything being said on Twitter is positive. The hashtag “#ellenpageisafaggot” is horrifically trending right now, showing how far we still have to go when it comes to gay rights. While many are expressing feelings that Ellen Page’s announcement is not surprising, the profound negative reaction online shows how much strength and courage it must have taken. Despite massive leaps and bounds in the right direction, bigotry is still prevalent within our society.

Watch Page’s touching and raw speech below.

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