- Here’s to You, Ellen Page - 15 February, 2014
- Make-up and Feminism Can Go Hand in Hand - 13 January, 2014
- The Rainbow Curtain: Russia, LGBT Rights and the Winter Olympics - 17 August, 2013
While Britain slept beside their lover or felt forlorn in their singledom thanks to the hangover of the supposedly most romantic day of the year, one celebrity was busy changing the mechanics of Hollywood. As actress Ellen Page stepped onto the Human Rights Conference podium, little did the world know what was coming next.
‘Here I am, representing an industry that places crushing standards on all of us,’ accepted the star. Picking up her hammer, Ellen then decided that it was her time to chip away at the rocks, by announcing to the world that she is in fact gay.
When an A-list celebrity like Ellen decides to come out in public, she is undoubtedly delivering a global service. Not only exercising her own personal freedom to love whoever she deems fit, the star recognises that not only may she be able to help a member of the LGBT community have ‘an easier or more hopeful time’, but the world’s experience and reception of what it means to be gay can be given scope too. The woman is an indie film phenomenon, winning over our hearts as the indiscernibly witty Juno McGuff, kicking some serious arse in Hard Candy and even making Whip It that little bit more bearable. She’s incredibly good at what she does, and hopefully, people will finally stop asking when she and Michael Cera will get together. However, I digress. Whether you’re a lover or a hater of her art form, Ellen Page has made one of the most compelling outs for the gay community since Jodie Foster’s dubious speech, solely to try and make the world a little bit better.
In her incredibly emotive address, the actress simply identifies the thing that Putin cannot – that not every single one of us does want to make a political statement about our sexuality, and even though we may be proud of who we are, we just want it to be accepted as a facet of oneself that is as normative as picking up a toothbrush in the morning. ‘Love, the beauty of it, the pain of it, is the most incredible gift to give and receive as a human being,’ she says. ‘We deserve to experience love fully, equally, and without shame or compromise.’
‘I suffered for years because I was scared to be out,’ said Ellen. ‘My mental health suffered, and my relationships suffered.’ It is on that note that we realise what a struggle we still have on our hands. Negotiating her way through ‘the pervasive types of masculinity and femininity’ that Hollywood perpetuate, it is hard enough to be a healthy woman in the cogs of Hollywood, regardless of deviating from the heteronormative binary. Too many of us accept the Barbie and Kens of the Hollywood archetype, desiring our stars to be beautiful, plastic, malleable and ours to take. When Ellen stepped onto that stage last night, she raised a flag not only in honour of the LGBT community, but of our perception of the cult of celebrity as a whole.
However, in spite of the thoughts I note the video to evoke, there is nothing better than experiencing the real thing. Watch the speech, share it, and be proud of who you are. For despite the fact that we all may love different people, there is a platonic union between all of us that raises those goosebumps, reminding us that Ellen has achieved her aim – to make the world a little bit less horrible.