In February 2014, Ellen Page stood on a stage at a Human Rights Campaign event in Las Vegas and told the large crowd that she is gay.
I’m here today because I am gay. And because maybe I can make a difference. To help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility…
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. 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.”
Since then, the actress has become an outspoken LGBTI activist, attending pride events, and even recently confronted Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz on his anti-gay views.
But for Page, who plays a lesbian in the new film Freeheld, it is still painful when she thinks of her former closeted self.
Talking to BuzzFeed News she said;
I’m embarrassed to say how closeted I was. I get sad thinking about it, honestly, because it was painful. And painful for people I was in relationships with. Just all-around destructive. Intolerance and closetedness is just a ripple effect of shit.’
Page, was still a teenager when she was thrust into the limelight with an Oscar-nominated performance in the 2007 film Juno.
After that, she made an effort to hide the women she was dating by, for example, leaving a hotel by a different entrance and ‘noooo public interaction.”
She remembers, with disgust, saying things like: ‘Go in the bathroom when room service comes’ or ‘This is my friend.’
She says now:
I feel bad about it. And I did start feeling really guilty about it. And I think that I should feel guilty about it.
Page came out shortly before filming of Freeheld, a film close to her heart which she is also producing.
It tells the true story of police detective Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) who finds out she has terminal lung cancer and seeks to leave her benefits to her partner Stacie Andree (Page).
The prospect of making the film helped Page come out publicly.
First of all, I didn’t want to be a closeted person anymore,’ she says. ‘But then also: “What, are you going to not be an out gay actor when you shoot a movie like that?” Of course not. And it is people like Stacie and Laurel that inspire you.”
She found making the film to be freeing.
It was a special experience for me personally: what it represented in my life. It was nice to play a gay person. I’m gay! It was nice to fall in love with a person onscreen who is the kind of person that you’d fall in love with.”