Will Hollywood ever be truly accepting?

Ellen Page comes out as gay at Time to Thrive Conference

The Spectrum

The crowd before her rose to their feet, an eruption of applause broke out and the Twittersphere exploded in response.

The speaker choked up with emotion, but smiled as she accepted the support being sent to her from around the room.

Former Oscar nominee Ellen Page announced her true sexual identity during the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's (HRCF) Time to Thrive speech in Las Vegas on Feb. 14, telling the room and the watching world that she was a lesbian.

"I am here today because I am gay," Page said. "I am tired of hiding, and I am tired of lying by omission."

Support flooded in while many people took to social media to raise the question: Why is someone's coming out still a major headline?

While our generation is significantly more accepting than years prior, only 69 percent of 18-34 year olds and 52 percent of 35-54 year olds support gay marriage (according to Gallup.com). Only 38 percent of those 55 years or older showed the same support. In such a society, someone's sexuality is still breaking news.

The young actress was thrown to the top of U.S. trends on Twitter, fellow celebrities offered public support and E! News promptly removed its web article that said Page looked like a "massive man."

The intense pressure of Hollywood's industry has taken its victims dignity across decades - Page refused to be one of them.

Page emphasized the harm of gender stereotypes and the "standards of beauty" that circulate throughout society.

Addressing the supportive audience, Page said: "You've adopted, as a core motivation, the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another."

The entertainment industry grasps onto an inherent desire for negative, destructive gossip. Page is by no means the first celebrity to oppose the backlash and abuse that a gay person faces in that setting every day, and she won't be the last.

While the entertainment industry's perception and reception of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) community is changing for the better, its stigma still remains.

Noting the privacy deprivation that comes with fame, many would argue that those in the entertainment industry should expect the scrutiny. But despite the troubling truth that many publications flourish on downfalls of the famous, Page acknowledged a fact that many celebrities tend to overlook: the problem is not only with those in the public eye, but with all ages and walks of life.

Her speech resonated with many, as she bravely confronted the dishonor attached to the LGBTQ community and addressed a much wider audience: everyone. Page pleaded that ignorant and negative stereotypes be removed from our societal vocabulary. But is this possible?

The HRCF's Time To Thrive conference highlighted the importance of eliminating gender discrimination and inspired solutions that will ignite a universal acceptance of all sexual orientations.

The positive response from Page's speech makes a courageous jump away from previous generations and toward a time when confessing sexuality is no longer even necessary.

Page's speech further promoted an image of a society that accepts the openness of all sexualities. Her public move valiantly underscored a vital need for change.

email: megan.weal@ubspectrum.com