I freakin’ love the movie Juno, I wish there was a classier way to express my particular sentiments for the film, but that exact word “freakin’” sums it up perfectly. Canadian born actress Ellen Page flawlessly embodied the starring character of Juno, a quirky pregnant teen with a knack for the unusual. The movie somehow managed to instil in me an inexplicable longing for effortless eccentricity, along with an insatiable desire to acquire a hamburger phone. The bottom line is that Ellen Page made the movie, and post-Juno she continued on in spurts of unusual roles debuting in the movies Whip It and Inception, along with the raunchy series Trailer Park Boys. On screen and off, Ellen Page is intriguingly relatable; something about her helps you coax out that inner weirdo that seems to only come out after the fifth date or a few shots of tequila.
This year, at the 2014 Time to Thrive conference, Page was presented with an opportunity unmatched by her roles on the silver-screen that has profoundly impacted her life, and the lives of LGBTQ youth across the country. The Time to Thrive conference presents a unique chance for advocates and youth professionals to learn and create opportunities to further the safety, equality and well-being of LGBTQ youth. As a guest speaker at this year’s conference on Valentine’s Day in Las Vegas, Page explained to the audience the context of living the Hollywood lifestyle, often submitting herself to beauty and sexuality standards at the cost of her mental and physical health. After an emotional requiem to a life of hiding and suppression, Page explained, “I am here today because I am gay,” to the thunderous reception of conference goers.
“Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and social responsibility,” said Page.
Coming out isn’t something society shrouds anymore, but the way that Page acknowledged the debilitating stereotypes and pressures Hollywood manufactures regarding genres of sexuality was exhilarating and profound. I completely commend Ellen and I can only imagine her relief and invigoration post-conference. However, I can’t help but to sit here and wish that in the near future, “coming out” stories of celebrities no longer grace the likes of the news. The essence of the matter still boils down to the shock value society places on sexual diversity, that somehow straying from the inherent norm of “straightness” identifies an intrinsic and noteworthy difference. No other actress or actor has felt particularly compelled to tell the world they are straight.
This video is still well worth the search on YouTube, as she sheds light on an array of issues facing LGBTQ youth and the eloquent fervour of Page’s speech is enough to draw tears. Maybe one day, being gay won’t be so newsworthy.