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Saturday
Feb152014

Congrats! Ellen Page Starts a New Gorgeous Chapter

Have you heard? Ellen Page came out as gay last night. Her reasoning...

Maybe I can make a difference... I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility. I also do it selfishly because I'm tired of hiding and I'm tired of lying by omission."

Her moving speech and commentary after the jump...

Photo Credit: Ramona Rosales

The entire 8 minutes is well worth watching but she really gets cooking with beautiful truth about how to fix the world and how to free ourselves around the 4½ minute mark.

When I heard the news last night my first thought was "it's about time" but then I stopped myself. Because you know what I'm tired of? Snarky headlines and bitchy online commentary about how 'this surprises no one'  and 'Duh!' and so on every time a queer famous person speaks their truth. Listen, gaydar is a real thing (are we still calling it that?) and the gay community has basically claimed Ellen Page since she first broke out in the Aughts. I'm right there with any of you who find it hard to understand why celebrities wait as long as they do and sometimes get angry at them (my one-sided history with Jodie Foster is, uh, complicated). They have such a large platform from which to make a difference and we've already seen the change they can cause (Ellen DeGeneres, hello) but that doesn't change the fact that they are still people who deserve our emotional generosity. They have fears, career anxiety, personal baggage, complicated family dynamics, and probably conflicting feelings about their own lives the same as any of us might have about ours. 

So the best moment in the speech isn't the coming out, but in her voice-shaking confession about what being in the closet cost her and the the exhilarating relief of 'standing on the other side of that pain'. You can practically see all the weight of the Post-Juno stardom flying off her shoulders like winged bricks.

Essential Page: HARD CANDY (2005), JUNO (2007, Oscar Nomination), WHIP IT (2009)

Ellen Page turns 27 in a couple of weeks and it's true that the last few years of her career have been curiously muted and nowhere near as exciting as the first handful. But she's a beautiful and versatile actress, adept at both comedy and drama. There's no reason why the next few years can't be the best of her career. The late twenties and early thirties are, by and large, the big ones for female movie stars. 29 is the actual most common age to win Best Actress gold and 32-34 is the (unscientific anecdotal) most frequent time to do your most iconic work. We could be entering The Golden Age of Ellen Page, now that she's freed herself from unrealistic expecations and can just be herself. Hollywood (and every other corner of Pop Culture for that matter) likes to try to mold people as "the next..." or to shove them, with all of their weird square peg edges, into smoothed out round slots. But the only real way to be the most successful entertainer you can possibly be is to be the best version of yourself... yes, even if your job is to be other people. It's why all the greatest stars throughout history are unique creatures and not directly comparable to others. I hope Page starts wearing glam suits to formal events because why pretend that you like dresses when you have said since the very beginning that you don't?

Let's hope Freeheld (imagine how tough that would have been to promote while still in the closet?) and X-Men Days of Future Past and whatever comes after them give us the best Ellen Page we could ever get, now that she's her best Ellen Page.

 

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Reader Comments (12)

I just finished watching the video and I think there's something in my eye. What a perfectly moving speech.

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Thank you, Nathaniel! I, too, am super tired of the post-coming out snark parade that my fellows seem to delight in offering. Can you imagine everyone coming together to celebrate every new member of the rainbow family? It would just so joyous. Anyway, I'm happy to come here to celebrate "totally queer-balls" Ellen Page with Team Experience.

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

The thing is that when a celebrity comes out the intention is not to surprise people. So to look at it that way and say "why is this even a surprise" or "i ve been saying that years ago" is to completely miss the point. The point is this is a highly visible person who is aknowledging their sexuality publically and in a way saying "i m gay, i m normal and i m very successful". And that is a great message for young and old people who feel oppressed, in the closet and just wanting the same kind of liberties their straight counterpart enjoy. A lot of times gay people oppress themselves. . They just cannot come to terms with the fact that their sexuality is completely normal, it is no outside the norm. It s just a variant. And people like ellen page make a statement that this is just normal and that you can speak up and be what you and have plenty of warm support. I never liked ellen page as an actress too much but i m willing to get excited for her movies now because i like her as a person now. And it would be all the more amazing if this inspires a male movie star to come out because this is where the real stigma lies.

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

Unrelated, I can't get over how much she looks like Kelly Preston in the clip (to me, at least). Very eloquent, heartfelt sentiments, though.

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Wonderfully said

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianZ

Love her speech and love this commentary. (Chalk up Inception as being an essential from her too, and everyone should also check out Touchy Feely.)

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I must confess that I started watching Ellen's speech with certain condescension, but she won me over. Well done!

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

It was beautiful. Good for her!

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVal

Touching and lovely. I'm so excited for the next stage in her career!

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Love her. Now, let's get her another "Juno" or "Whip It"-level project!

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

This post is a good demonstration of making the effort to be less horrible to each other :)

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

"I'm right there with any of you who find it hard to understand why celebrities wait as long as they do and sometimes get angry at them (.....They have fears, career anxiety, personal baggage, complicated family dynamics, and probably conflicting feelings about their own lives the same as any of us might have about ours. "

I'm glad you wrote this. Frankly after reading that Jodie commentary I lost a lot of respect for you and frankly regretted making a financial contribution to your site in the weeks before that.

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

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