This Valentine’s Day, during a speech at the Human Rights Campaign Conference, Page publically came out as gay.
While Valentine’s Day is often associated with the flowery images of chocolates, candle lit dinners, champagne, and roses, it also brings with it an overbearing undertone of fear. There is the fear of possibility: “What if he proposes? What if he doesn’t propose?” There is the fear of expectation: “What if this is not perfect? What if I don’t impress her enough?” Then there is the fear of loneliness: “What if I am in this same spot, eating this same damn flavor of ice cream, next year?” The latter seems the most recognizable thought process of the season. More than ever, people are starting to despise Valentine’s Day. This distain does not stem from their dislike of chocolates and chalky candy hearts, but rather a fear of being alone and never having that happy ending found in a romantic comedy.
A fear of loneliness is not an emotion foreign to Juno actress and Oscar nominee, Ellen Page. This Valentine’s Day, during a speech at the Human Rights Campaign Conference in Las Vegas, Page—who is 27 years old—publically came out as gay. Page proclaimed, “I’m tired of hiding. And I’m tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of that pain… maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and more hopeful time.” The X-Men actress’ speech yielded a standing ovation, flurries of tears, and various tweets of support from her fellow celebrities.
Feeling lonely on Valentine’s Day is truly a terrible feeling—trust me, I spent mine watching Hairspray and eating from a box of Cheese Nips; however, can we take a minute to consider how painful that one day is for closeted LGBT individuals? I came out a while ago, so it is sometimes difficult to recall the intense feeling of isolation and loneliness of my past life. Though when taken into consideration, my uneventful night is Disney World compared to the nights of those who feel trapped by their sexuality. I wonder how many LGBT young people sat at home while their friends went on dates, wishing they could do the same with someone they cared about. I wonder how many Valentines were not sent, out of fear of being scrutinized for the sender’s sexual orientation. There is no reason to sulk about being alone on one holiday when there are people who feel that they must be alone or unhappy for eternity.
Page’s speech could not have been given on a more fitting day—one that personifies love. She mustered up the courage to love herself in order to inspire others. Maybe that is what is important about Valentine’s Day: not booking a table at the expensive restaurant, but showing your love. Not through your credit card, but through your actions. Not just to others, but also to yourself. The advice Juno’s father gives to her mid-movie seems perfectly fitting: “The best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are.”