Often the biggest fears of anyone who is living an ‘alternative’ lifestyle is that they are alone, that no one can possibly understand what they are going through and that there is no hope for the future. Celebrities publically coming out have the power to dispel all of these thoughts. .
Generally speaking, I believe we should focus on the work of celebrities rather than their personal lives. We don’t need to know what they had for breakfast or who they danced with in a club to appreciate their talents. However, when a celebrity has the power to improve so many lives by speaking openly about their sexuality, I think they have a responsibility to do so.
For example, Ellen Page very publically came out during a speech at HRC’s Time to Thrive conference. She says she did so because she felt a “social responsibility” to be honest and to stop “lying by omission”. She realised that by refusing to speak out about her sexuality, she was inadvertently supporting the idea that it was something to be ashamed of and something that should be kept hidden. By speaking out about it, she’s not only taking the steps towards making herself happier, but she’s also showing millions of people that it is okay to be “different” and that they are not alone.
Many of us look to our idols for reassurance, for hope, and for proof that our dreams can come true. To see someone that we admire pushing back against prejudice while still being successful and admired can be the motivation we need to do the same. Ellen Page has over 1.2million followers on Twitter. That’s 1.2million people who may have heard her message that we should all be kinder to one another. If only one extra person from that vast number gains the courage to also come out, or if one extra person accepts the sexuality of a loved one, surely her speech was worth it.
Some have criticised celebrities for being vain enough to think we care about their sexuality or to think it’s important enough to make a speech about. Yet, all you have to do is look at some of the comments on the video of Ellen’s speech to know that it is important to some. People’s lives have changed for the better all because Ellen stood up and told the world that she was gay.
If I was a celebrity I would rather want to be remembered for the person I truly was than the one I pretended to be to fit in. I would want to be a role model to those struggling with their identity. I would want to be brave like Ellen Page.
On Friday, February 14, 2014, actress Ellen Page speaks about the brave decision to live openly and authentically. Check out the video of Actress Ellen Page Coming Out Of The Closet.