Ellen Page: Labelling actors who play gay roles as 'brave' is borderline offensive

'I’m never going to be considered brave for playing a straight person, and nor should I be'

Heather Saul
Friday 28 August 2015 17:22 BST
Actress Ellen Page came out as gay in 2014
Actress Ellen Page came out as gay in 2014 (Getty Images)

Undertaking a lesbian or gay role should never be considered a courageous move for an actor - something that Ellen Page is keen to reiterate.

The Academy Award-nominated actress dismissed calling actors who undertake lesbian or gay roles on screen ‘brave’ as “borderline offensive” when she was asked about her role in a forthcoming film.

Page very publicly came out to an LGBT audience in Las Vegas in 2014 and has been a vocal proponent of gay and lesbian rights ever since, most recently confronting the Republican contender Ted Cruz on legislation that allows workplaces to discriminate because of a person’s sexuality.

Ted Cruz speaking with Ellen Page at the Iowa State Fair (CBS News/YouTube)

Her latest role comes in the form of the lesbian partner of Julianne Moore’s character in the forthcoming drama Freeheld. The film follows the true story of a New Jersey police lieutenant’s battle to have her pension benefits passed onto her domestic partner after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In an interview with Time Magazine, she was asked if her decision to undertake a lesbian role was “brave” - a label that Page was quick to condemn.

“When people are [called] brave in regards to playing LGBTQ people, that’s borderline offensive,” she replied. “I’m never going to be considered brave for playing a straight person, and nor should I be.”

“It’s hard to say this, because the context of the film is so deeply tragic, but for me there was a deep sense of peace on set that I had not felt in a really long time, potentially since I was a teenager and first having these really beautiful, fortunate moments in films.

“There was something about being out, getting to play a gay character, and getting to play a woman who is so inspiring to me—it was such an amazing experience for me. Honestly, if I played gay characters for the rest of my career, I’d be thrilled. I wish I could, honestly!”

Page described herself as “very, very closeted” when she signed onto Freehold, leaving her depressed.

“The moment I came out, I felt every cell in my body transform. I was happier than I ever could have imagined. You feel excited about life, and motivated and inspired. You want to do more. You want to go on adventures. For the most part that was gone.”

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