Ellen Page made our hearts skip a beat last year when she came out of the closet.
This week the actress spoke to Variety about how she feels Hollywood helped pave the way for LGBT rights, and what coming out meant for her.
I’m happier than I probably could imagine. Now it doesn’t feel like I was ever not out. It’s hard for me to imagine not existing in the way that I’m existing now. It boggles my mind that it seemed so difficult and so impossible. I wish I’d done it sooner, quite frankly. Some dark cloud has completely evaporated, thank goodness.”
There are still not many young people out in Hollywood. There’s this narrative that people are attached to: You cannot come out because it’s going to hurt your career. And that’s potentially true. When I made the decision to come out, I wasn’t naive to that.”
On Hollywood, being out and acting she said
… the roles that do exist, you’re specifically a device for the male character or you’re hypersexualized in regards to the male gaze. For whatever reason, people can believe straight actors playing gay roles, but there’s this idea they can’t believe gay actors playing straight roles. And for me, it got to a point where it didn’t matter.”
Hollywood (for all it failings) has helped drive LGBT stories to a larger audience. There is now growing acceptance for gay and lesbian story lines; and gay rights and marriages.
Aside from all the silliness of Hollywood and what we do, stories are told that are really important, and that touch people and transform how they feel about things, whether it’s been “Philadelphia,” “Brokeback Mountain” or “Milk.” And I think it definitely can change minds and push things forward.
Whenever you’re telling a story about a minority group, it’s potentially not as appealing because there’s a feeling it’s not going to get the audience a financier needs. I feel like that’s been proven wrong time and time again, particularly when you’re looking at the diversity on TV right now. You can tell that’s what people want.”
On coming out, and her new role as LGBT spokesperson, the actress added
I feel extremely fortunate and humble when I have experiences with LGBT people who come up to me and say how I helped them come out. Those moments are really extraordinary. They are typically really emotional. The biggest feeling I get is gratitude. I totally stayed in the closet, and I felt guilty about it. I was finally able to get out, and that was my life journey. I’m interested in gay issues. It’s natural for that to be a part of my life.”