Ellen Page has consistently spoken out against homophobia inside and outside Hollywood: from discussing Mike Pence’s anti-LGBTQ history to calling out Chris Pratt for attending Zoe Church. Now, in an interview with Porter magazine, she’s sharing how people in the film industry pressured her not to come out.
Page explained that, after she filmed Juno, which was released in 2007, rumours about her sexuality began to be covered in the tabloids. “I was 20, I had just fallen in love for the first time with a woman, and I was still navigating my own stuff, while people were writing articles headlined: ‘Ellen Page’s sexuality sweepstake,’” she said. “There was a tabloid magazine that I saw at every checkout, in every gas station, with a picture of me on the cover, and the question: ‘Is Ellen Page gay?’” She added that the media coverage was “detrimental to my mental health.”
Juno catapulted Page to a new level of fame — and people in Hollywood began warning her not to come out. She said, “I was distinctly told, by people in the industry, when I started to become known: ‘People cannot know you’re gay.’ And I was pressured – forced, in many cases – to always wear dresses and heels for events and photo shoots.” She added, "As if lesbians don’t wear dresses and heels. But I will never let anyone put me in anything I feel uncomfortable in ever again."
At the time, Page felt like she’d never be able to come out. “I remember being in my early 20s and really believing it was impossible for me to come out,” she said. “But, over time, with more representation, hearts and minds have been changed. It doesn’t happen quickly enough and it hasn’t happened enough, particularly for the most marginalised in the community. But things have got better.”
Today, she said, the prospect of coming out in Hollywood feels “completely different.” She herself came out in 2014, in a memorable speech at a Human Rights Campaign conference. In the Porter interview, she explained that she came out in part because “I felt, and I feel, a sense of responsibility. I want to be able to help in any way I can, and I want to make queer content.”
Page has been doing just that ever since, starring alongside Julianne Moore in 2015’s Freeheld, creating the docu-series Gaycation, and appearing in the upcoming Netflix limited series Tales of the City, which she noted “offers a lot of representation.” The cast and crew includes trans and nonbinary folks, including actress Daniela Vega and director Silas Howard. However, she added, "there’s still so little out there" when it comes to depictions of LGBTQ people in the media.
In the Porter interview, Page also spoke about her love for her wife, dancer and choreographer Emma Portner. The two got married in early 2018. “I’m so in love,” Page said. “I love being married. I’ll be walking my dog, and I start talking to people, and I end up telling them about my wife and making them look at our Instagram. I’m that person.”