Ellen Page has come out as a gay woman.
The star of the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past made the announcement in a moving and deeply personal speech delivered before several hundred attendees at Time to Thrive, a conference to promote the welfare of LGBT youth held at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
“I’m here today because I am gay,” Page, 26, told the audience, “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.
“I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission,” Page proudly and defiantly declared. “I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain.”
Page first shared the inner turmoil she’s felt since she was thrust into the Hollywood limelight following the blockbuster success of 2007’s Juno.
“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,” Page said. “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,” she admitted.
Page, who paused frequently to collect herself as her emotions swelled, added that reading about herself in the tabloids can be a trying ordeal. She mentioned one article, accompanied by a paparazzi photo of her wearing sweatpants on the way to the gym, that asked, “Why does this petite beauty insist upon dressing like a massive man?” (The answer: “Because I like to be comfortable,” a line that drew laughter and applause.)
That kind of gender stereotyping serves “no one,” Page said. She then went on to single out examples of “courage all around us,” naming “football hero Michael Sam,” Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox and musicians Tegan and Sara Quin for their contributions to furthering LGBT visibility and pride.
A tearful Page concluded her eight-minute speech by wishing the audience a happy Valentine’s Day, sweetly adding, “I love you.” The remarks were met with a rousing standing ovation.
Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Page worked in Canadian television before making her first stateside splash in 2005 revenge-thriller Hard Candy. She then played Kitty Pryde, aka Shadowcat, in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. But it was her breakout performance as the pregnant teen title character of Juno that catapulted her to international superstardom.
Next, Page will appear in indie drama Freeheld, starring opposite Julianne Moore as a gay couple whose pension benefits are frozen after one is diagnosed with a terminal disease. The fact-based film, a passion project for Page, also stars Zach Galifianakis.
A representative for Page tells THR that the actress is not currently submitting to media interviews. Page did post several short statements to Twitter, however, thanking HRC and “everyone for all the love and support” in one. In another, she replied to a request from House of Cards star Kate Mara to “be my Valentine.”
“Yes please,” Page wrote.