This Saturday morning, I was trying to figure out where I could watch the movie “Whip It” starring Ellen Page, when I saw a search result informing me that Ellen Page has come out as gay. Interested, I clicked on the link and proceeded to watch one of the most moving speeches I’ve ever seen.
When the speech ended, I could not stop crying. In case you haven’t yet seen the speech, it was a simple clip of Page speaking at the Human Rights Campaign Conference on Valentine’s Day. The speech first dealt with issues such as equal rights for all people regardless of sexual orientation, but it served another purpose: it allowed Page to publicly come out as gay.
As I watched the speech, I found myself wishing that a world where love and moral tolerance for people with all identities could really come to life. “In time,” I assured myself. “In time.”
In her speech, Page spoke out against masculine and feminine stereotypes by citing a tabloid story where one writer asked about Page: “Why does this petite beauty insist upon dressing like a massive man?” When I heard about this ridiculous comment, I was quite irate. Why do we keep judging and hating on one another for looking and being who we are as human beings? That is society, or it could just be the cultural norms of magazines and glamour that we consistently attach ourselves to too much. Page replied humorously with a dry, “Because I like to be comfortable,” and then explained that “these masculine and feminine pervasive stereotypes serve no one.”
I believe that no one should ever feel subjected to hatred or discrimination because of who he/she is. I have always felt that people should be judged for the “content of their character”, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently put it, and for that reason, I was proud of Page’s brave speech. Page made clear that no one should be judged for who he/she loves, saying, “I am young, yes, but what I have learned is that love, the beauty of it, the joy of it and yes, even the pain of it, is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.”
By standing up for the values she holds, and for inspiring the world with her bravery, Ellen has inspired me along with many others. Together, we should never fear where we come from. Where we come from is beautiful in itself. And although there is a long way to go before prejudice ends and people are accepted no matter who they are, I believe that that day will come. And even if the world rejects you and gets you down, remember the caption from the movie “Whip It” (which I did finally end up watching): “Be your own hero.”