On Friday 14th February, actress Ellen Page gave a speech at the Human Rights Campaign‘s ‘Time to Thrive’ conference in Las Vegas. As part of an inspiring talk on the problems of intolerance toward homosexuality, she came out as gay, the video of which you can see below.
After the initial and predictable reactions of either praise or outrage, the debate on whether the sexuality of celebrities matters raged on. Fundamentally, there are two sides of the argument: either that it should, or it shouldn’t, be reported by the media.
Some may argue that the coming out of a celebrity is simply the individual’s decision to reveal that they are gay (or otherwise), and it is not newsworthy material. If you forgive the pigeon-holing, a summary of the argument is “I don’t care about celebrities.”
But in a world where homosexuality is far from universally accepted, the figures with the most exposure and influence should be lauded for bravely choosing to reveal their homosexuality. In industries such as that of Hollywood film – where homosexuality can mean the unspoken decline of a career – fantastic actors and actresses such as Ellen Page are paving the way to a more accepting society. We are gradually making our way toward this brighter future, but far too slowly.
such as the denigration of homosexuality by the Russian government and the Winter Olympics in Sochi demonstrate these continuing problems. Of course many people like to moan and groan about the perpetual reports of every aspect of celebrities’ private lives in the media. Though by their very definition, these celebrities are, and will continue to be, written about, examined, and analysed by the media, and in turn the public. Celebrities are often looked up to as good role models, and (usually) rightly so.
Do not dismiss Ellen Page’s coming out as not being newsworthy simply because you choose to ignore the blatant problems of intolerance that still exist in global society today. Celebrate her bravery and be glad for the new freedom that she must feel as a result.
Sam Friend is a student at Manchester Metropolitan University, studying History and Politics. He is passionate about reading, writing, and music. You can follow him on Twitter here.