Ellen Page is recognized as a prominent actress and voice for the LGBTQ community — but it took her quite a while to get there. The 32-year-old told PorterEdit that she was pressured by Hollywood execs to stay quiet about her sexuality throughout the beginning of her career, to the point where her mental health was gravely impacted.
“I was distinctly told, by people in the industry, when I started to become known: ‘People cannot know you’re gay,'” Page told the publication. “And I was pressured — forced, in many cases — to always wear dresses and heels for events and photoshoots.”
The actress, who is now happily married to 24-year-old dancer and choreographer Emma Portner, didn’t come out in Hollywood until 2014, nearly seven years after she became an Oscar-nominated actress for her role in the movie Juno. But the speculation that followed Page throughout that time was extremely destructive, especially considering the complications of her own private self-discovery.
“I was 20, I had just fallen in love for the first time with a woman, and I was still navigating my own stuff, while people were writing articles headlined: ‘Ellen Page’s sexuality sweepstake.’ There was a tabloid magazine that I saw at every checkout, in every gas station, with a picture of me on the cover, and the question: ‘Is Ellen Page gay?'” Page recalled. “It was very detrimental to my mental health.”
When she was just 18, the actress had even been outed on set by her X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner, which added to her cruel experiences as a closeted woman in Hollywood. And although she admits that it has gotten better for people in the industry to come out today, she assures that there’s still a lot that needs to change.
“I remember being in my early 20s and really believing it was impossible for me to come out. But, over time, with more representation, hearts and minds have been changed,” Page told PorterEdit. “It doesn’t happen quickly enough and it hasn’t happened enough, particularly for the most marginalized in the community. But things have got better.”
Now, Page is doing her part in order to make things better by working on projects that represent the LGBTQ community — such as her upcoming Netflix limited Tales of the City, her previous film Freeheld and her Viceland show Gaycation.
“I feel a sense of responsibility,” Page said. “I want to be able to help in any way I can, and I want to make queer content.”
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• Jussie Smollett breaks silence after alleged attack: ‘My body is strong but my soul is stronger’