Hollywood actress Ellen Page, best known for her role in the movie Juno, has announced she is gay.
During an emotional and deeply personal speech on Friday at a conference in Las Vegas aimed at GLBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) youth, the Canadian actress said she was "tired of hiding" and "lying by omission".
"I'm here today because I am gay. And because ... maybe I can make a difference," Page, who is set to star in the upcoming X-Men instalment with Hugh Jackman, told the audience.
"To help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless, for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility."
"I also do it selfishly, because I am tired of hiding and I am 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 all that pain."
She hopes her revelation will help other young people who are struggling with their sexual identity.
"There are too many kids out there suffering from bullying, rejection, or simply being mistreated because of who they are. Too many dropouts. Too much abuse. Too many homeless. Too many suicides."
The 26-year-old said she had grappled with her inner turmoil since 2007 when she was thrust into the Hollywood limelight following her starring role in the hit film Juno where she played a pregnant teenager.
Following her announcement, celebrities showed their support, among them gay Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson who tweeted: "Love love LOVE @EllenPage & the message she sent out today! What a perfect way to end Valentine's Day!"
Fellow actress Anna Kendrick, 28, also took to Twitter, writing: "Congrats to you, you light, talent, and beauty."
And from American actress Kristen Bell: "So honest & funny & articulate. She shines."
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."
Page's outing comes just as the casting of her gay rights movie Freeheld is being finalised. Earlier this week it was announced Julianne Moore will be playing her lover in the indie drama.
Last year she worked with Australian Hugh Jackman in Canada to film X-Men: Days of Future Past which is due for release in May.
Page said she was inspired to speak out after American footballer Michael Sam's revelation earlier in the week that he was gay.
She described Sam as a "hero" for his bravery, and said she had learned a lot from others who have publicly announced their sexual orientation.
She also went on to single out another example of "courage all around us," siting Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox.
"We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise," she told the crowd.
The website for the Human Rights Campaign, which hosted the conference in Nevada, congratulated the star for her “brave decision to live openly and authentically."
In a tweet, it wrote: "Congratulations @EllenPage for taking the steps to live openly and come out as lesbian."
Page finished her eight-minute long speech by wishing the audience a happy Valentine's Day, adding: "I love you."
On Saturday, following the positive reaction to her announcement, she tweeted thank you to "everyone for all the love and support".
You can watch Page's coming out speech below.
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