This speech I first read about in Mark Shrayber’s article (Jezebel) by Ellen Page in which she comes out at Time To Thrive, a conference focused on the welfare of LGBTQ youth is inspiring, least of it because she comes out. Ms. Page didn’t make it all about her, though her pain in getting to this point was obvious. She was humble and had a lot of beautiful insight and advice, none of it new, but all of it needing to be repeated. Often. This includes being aware of the pervasiveness of masculine and feminine standards that we are all bound by, but serve no one. We can do more together than any one person can do alone. It’s so much easier to respect each other’s beautiful qualities than to tear each other down over differences — it can save lives. Loving others begins with loving ourselves. Love is the most beautiful gift to give and to receive. Etc.
This speech isn’t just about being gay. It’s a speech for everyone who’s ever afraid to voice who they are, afraid to show all of their selves for fear of being less loved or accepted, who has had to hide some of themselves to fit some societal norm. It’s for those girls who are branded as ‘sluts’ or people mocked as “fat” — and bullied — because that too is about societal labels and patriarchy and sexuality. So although it’s powerful that Ms. Page came out, all else that she had to say before and after is as powerful. It’s actually what enabled her to finally come out. Ultimately, that kind of strength is what will enable anyone in hiding to come out from the shadows.
Women in the public eye, like Jennifer Lawrence may be a media favorite, but there are many women who are true to themselves, even when it’s not easy, though not as “quirky. As much as I love her as an actress, although JLaw — tall, thin, blonde — is lauded for her authenticity, it’s actually people like Mindy Kaling, Lupita N’yongo, Melissa McCarthy, and Ms. Page who have far bigger obstacles to overcome and remain as authentic — and as Ellen Page showed, more articulate.