So the very talented actress Ellen Page has come out. Good for her. I don’t care.
Absolutely no interest whatsoever.
It angers me that people still are forced to come out publicly like she has done – in Ellen’s case clearly quite a difficult and painful experience, her speech whilst brilliant and delivered eloquently was clearly the most difficult thing she’d ever said. She’d agonised over every word and run through that speech a million times in her head, I’m sure.
But really someone’s sexuality should not be an issue for anyone but themselves and whoever they wish to share that with.
I wish there was no such thing as “coming out” and I long for the day that these stories stop being news.
It seems a ludicrous double standard to me that we’re just weeks away from the historic change in the law to allow same-sex marriages in England, yet there’s still a prurient interest in a celebrity openly revealing themselves to be gay.
But what makes Ellen Page’s coming out announcement different is what she says in her speech – she’s already countered my point about it not being necessary quite neatly.
She says as someone in the public eye, with a profile – a celebrity, if you will, it’s her “personal obligation and social responsibility” to speak out about her sexuality, so that others in the same position as her might take some comfort that they are not alone.
So, now I feel like a bit of a shit, for saying “I don’t care” in the first line of this blog post. ‘Cos that’s really, actually quite important what she’s saying there.
As a white, straight, middle class male – I’m lucky to have never been the victim of an –ism or a –phobia. Nobody’s mocked my skin colour, nobody’s made lewd comments about my appearance in the street, nobody’s picked on me because of who I fancy.
So maybe I shouldn’t weigh in to this issue about coming out. It’s not my department. Nothing to do with me. And I should let those who’ve suffered speak up and speak out, for they know how it feels to be a victim and I don’t.
Except, I think it IS something to do with me – and everyone.
Just as Ellen Page says her announcing her sexuality is a “personal obligation and social responsibility”, so I should speak up and air my view that we ought to be in a position where nobody bats an eyelid – or even better that there is no appetite or interest in these sorts of stories in the first place. Because I think it’s just as important for the victims of bigotry to know that not everyone else in the world is a bigot and actually yeah, I know there’s loads of people who’ve gone through what you’ve gone through and can empathise from direct experience, but I and lots and lots of people like me can/will/do support you too and are supporting change for you, even if it doesn’t really affect us personally ourselves.
So, to edit what I said right at the start of this posting: Ellen Page has come out – excellent news, I’m really proud of her, I hope she’s happy and her words give comfort and confidence to thousands of others. And Ellen and all those that come – as you might term “after Ellen” – you have my support any time you need it. Which you probably won’t. But the offer’s there 🙂