At the Time to THRIVE conference held by the Human Rights Campaign on Valentines Day this year, actress Ellen Page came out as gay. The actress came on stage for her speech and let the audience know that the time had come to move away from the “lying by omission,” and alleviate the suffering she caused herself and those she cared about. You may ask yourself why the Juno and X-Men: Days of Future Past star’s announcement of being gay is such big news. And that’s the thing, the very act of a public figure coming out, especially one as well loved and known as Ellen, is still a big deal.
That’s where we stand with our forward social progress today. We’ve moved over the last decade to a society where celebrities are comfortable letting the public know their true selves. Ellen herself acknowledges the importance of this trend stating, “Maybe I can help others to have an easier time.” No, what celebrities do in the public eye isn’t often important. But when you see so many being accepting and loving of all, perhaps it will help a young teen who is confused and scared to have the strength to get through the tough times. Because on the other side of all the hate that still exists in the world is a love and acceptance that is growing each day.
Speaking to the audience, and what the Human Rights Campaign is working towards, Ellen said the following:
"You’re here because you’ve adopted as a core motivation the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another. If we took just 5 minutes to recognize each other’s beauty, instead of attacking each other for our differences.”
What’s fantastic about Ellen’s speech is how focused it was on the work that is happening, and needs to continue, regarding the treatment of people. We all deserve to feel loved, to not be shamed or treated horribly by our peers simply because of who we are. We’re taking those steps, and it’s a slow process to change the world, but despite all those who still shout their homophobia to the heavens, each day we take a step towards equal human rights for all.