Ellen Page, the Canadian actress and star of Juno, recently came out as gay. Since our society is obsessed with other people’s sexuality, the media exploded with this news. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) visibility is so important, but I couldn’t help but feel bothered by the amount of coverage she received. Why did people care so much about her sexuality?
It’s because coming out still matters.
We live in a heteronormative society in which opposite-sex attraction is seen as the norm. People are seen as straight until proven otherwise.
When I was struggling to come to terms with being gay, I spent countless hours crying in my bedroom and desperately searching the Internet for stories about people who were LGBTQ. These brave people – real or fictional – helped me realize I wasn’t alone and their experiences made a huge difference for me.
I could see myself in their stories. I could see myself in Page’s story.
There’s still so much stigma associated with being LGBTQ, and Page's coming out highlights the need for us to continue sharing our stories without any shame. You can check out my op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen here and in the paper tomorrow.
When you have a few minutes, please watch Page’s speech. It’s beautiful, powerful, courageous and honest. Our stories can help people understand the world around us and help individuals know they aren’t alone in their experiences.
Page wanted to make a difference by telling her story. I hope I can do the same by continuing to share mine.