Published on March 3, 2014 | by Hollie Bracciale

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Yes, coming out is news

Hollie Bracciale

Hollie feels that celebrities ‘coming out’ spreads a positive message to members of the LGBT community who may be victims of homophobia [Hollie Bracciale]

In light of the recent exposure of the horrific acts of violence against the LGBT community in Russia, stemming from homophobic fascist mind-sets, Ellen Page felt it was the right time to show her support by coming out as lesbian in an eight minute speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive conference in Las Vegas earlier this month.

The Juno star talked about her struggle with sexuality and revealed how she has suffered for years due to keeping her sexuality a secret because of the repressive standards of Hollywood.

“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, and I’ve been trying to push back, to try to be authentic, to try to follow my heart,” Ellen said about the film industry, before talking about society as a whole.

“There are pervasive stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that define how we are all supposed to act dress and speak and they serve no one. Anyone who defies these so-called norms becomes worthy of comment and scrutiny, and the LGBT community knows this all too well,” she added.

Mirrors

Society is governed by these norms from dated masculine and feminine ideologies that serve only those who fit them.

With the media as our mirror of society, we are constantly shown a reflection that supports heterosexual dominance, in stories usually concerned with heterosexually dominated sectors of society.

As these are chosen as the most pressing issues of the day and what is deemed newsworthy, not including regular stories about the successes of the LGBT community sends the message that they are unimportant and irrelevant.

Until now, homophobia has become the ‘issue du jour’.

In the same admirable way that Olympian diver Tom Daley did when he came out as bisexual last year, Page is using her fame to send out positive messages to those battling with repressive homophobic attitudes.

This is where young, attractive Page comes into it. If she were fifty and overweight, would her message be important? Yes, of course, but we wouldn’t hear it.

Giving attention to young, attractive, famous faces like the actress in question is a rare but important inclusion of homosexual relationships in the media.

Commendable

But rather than showing support, people are instead arguing whether or not this commendable act of honesty is in fact news.

In the same admirable way that Olympian diver Tom Daley did when he came out as bisexual last year, Page is using her fame to send out positive messages to those battling with repressive homophobic attitudes.

Showing support for the many men and women who are attacked in Russia or suffering in the UK and US because of their sexual orientation, celebrities and sports personalities are speaking out about why society needs to accept homosexuality, by putting themselves in society’s figurative line of fire.

As Page says in her speech, “maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and more hopeful time – [which] for me I feel is a personal obligation and a social responsibility.”

Lying by omission

It is sad that a celebrity’s ‘coming out’ needs to be classed as news, but the more the message is repeated, the more impact it will have on negative attitudes towards homosexuality and transgender communities in society.

It is, in a way, support for the people who are afraid to be open about who they love, and are left to live their lives lying by omission because of society’s arrogance.

In my opinion, it is the media’s responsibility to replace the disillusioned traditional ideology of same sex relationships that are constantly portrayed in the press, broadcast and film, with stories of same sex relationships as the norm so they are not seen, by homophobes, as a deviation.

As Page puts it: “This world would be a whole lot better if we just made a simple effort to be less horrible about each other.”

 

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