On coming out of the closet


愛してるよ、璃紗 by 河原ファンタジ, on Pixiv

While we are in the midst of Sydney’s Mardi Gras (Feb 7 - March 2), I’ll take this opportunity to reflect back on the event of Ellen Page ‘coming out as gay’ a week ago.

Who is Ellen Page, I hear people ask? I wouldn’t know either, since I only know a handful of those million dollar actors, but she is at least familiar and I know her as the actress who plays teenage mother in the controversial film, Juno.

That’s not the question I want to ask here though. The question is, why do gay people have to ‘come out’ and announce they are gay anyway? Why do gay people have to continuously live in fear and hide what they are?

You don’t see straight people having to make an announcement that they are heterosexual, so why the double standard? Why do people automatically recoil from the concept that someone can love someone of their own gender.

We have to ask ourselves how society got to this stage.

Ellen Page speaks much more eloquently:

In her Time to Thrive speech, Page touched on the pressures of fitting the mould of a Hollywood star and the industry’s “crushing standards” on “not just young people, but everyone”.

“Standards of beauty. Of a good life. Of success. Standards that, I hate to admit, have affected me. You have ideas planted in your head, thoughts you never had before, that tell you how you have to act, how you have to dress and who you have to be. I have been trying to push back, to be authentic, to follow my heart, but it can be hard.”

When I was younger, in high school, a friend told me that another friend of ours seemed like she could be a lesbian and could be coming on to me, so it would be a good idea to stay away from her. My first reaction was shock, before I asked myself: what’s really wrong about that? There was no shame in being gay, and just because we were good friends didn’t mean she was coming on to me. Innocent until proven guilty, even before the fact she was gay or not.

As Page says, “We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.” Love is love. If you’re presented that chance to grasp it, grab it for what it’s worth and hold on tight.

Illust by 河原ファンタジ, on Pixiv. Not mine.