On Valentines Day, actress Ellen Page came out in a speech for the Human Rights Campaign. This confession wasn’t much of a surprise to me at first, until I listened to her speech in which she confesses to being in hiding and to have fallen victim to the social stereotypes that media and pop culture push onto people every day. That surprised me.
Page is usually very vocal on a number of different social issues and her vulnerability in her speech spoke to me. It resonated with me for a number of reasons.
In order to justice to Ellen Page and the countless individuals who struggle with their sexuality on a daily basis, I would like to share my story. I like to pretend that I am a very self-aware individual so when I came to the decision to “come out” I knew that there would be little surprise. My confidence in who I am took a bit to foster, but I would like to point to the six individuals in my life who have built my inner character from the ground up. Those six individuals would be my grandmother, mother, and four aunts.
If you are reading this, please keep in mind that my family is insane. A household that includes six strong-willed, independent Irish women is not something to take lightly. In most cases you should probably run away. If there is anything about these six women that has been instilled in every child born into this family it is the blatantly unapologetic way we have all come to grasp who we are individually. The Mulvey-way, if you will, is to take claim of yourself and throw it in the face of an unready population.
This fortitude that I grew up with allowed me to one night reach out to my older brother and my eldest cousin and say “Hey, guess what? I’m gay.” In not so many words the reaction was what I knew it would be – “Yeah, so what?”
Ellen Page’s speech made me realize, that while I was confident in who I was, it is a whole different monster to actually say it aloud. It took until the last possible second to say it to my mother and sister, and even longer still to say it to my father.
If you haven’t seen Ellen Page’s speech, I highly urge you to watch it. Not only does she emote an amazing message about the weirdness of her being at the podium, but she deftly criticizes America’s mainstream media while simultaneously exposing her soul.
You can watch her full speech here.