Setting example not always easy

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Celebrities are known at times to take a stand on an issue or publicize a personal detail. Depending on the subject, it can require courage – as we can surmise was the case with Ellen Page this past weekend.

An Oscar-nominated actress from Halifax, Page made the announcement Friday that she is gay, publicly, at the Time to Thrive conference – an LGBT (lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual) youth event sponsored by the gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

Her speech was reported to be quite emotional, as one might expect. It had personal ramifications – Page, 26, said she was “tired of lying by omission.” She added that hiding her sexuality over the years had caused her spirit, mental health and relationships to suffer.

That’s a message coming from someone in the public’s eye. Think of how that same weight might be experienced by countless others due to their sexuality and a fear of being misunderstood or a target of discrimination.

And for those who ask why this revelation from Page ranks as a news item – such comments have been made – it’s because she, as a highly regarded actor, chose to announce it in a public forum. Furthermore, in making such a personal detail known, consider the potential inspiration to help other people – of any age – struggling with such a dilemma.

Her speech met a standing ovation, not surprising, given the audience – an event sponsored by a gay advocacy group. But Page deserves applause from the community in general.

We know after the fact of big stars who went through life hiding the fact they were gay – we can only imagine at what cost. As Page said, the film industry places actors under crushing standards.

Other celebrities in recent years have come out publicly – and some have urged other well-known personalities who are gay to do the same. One comment suggested Page’s speech should be “played at every high school in North America.” Young people shouldn’t be made to feel a personal trait as a burden.

Organizations: Time, Human Rights Campaign

Geographic location: Halifax, North America

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