I love Ellen Page. At only five feet tall, she is a delightful, hilarious and adorable woman. Ever since she starred in the movie Juno, I have wanted to achieve her cavalier sarcasm and snarky attitude. I have often looked up to her (though only figuratively, I would tower over her in person). It was especially when she came out as gay at the Human Rights Campaign Conference of 2014 that I felt especially proud of her. As a celebrity she makes a very public impact with what she says and does. Coming out in such a public way made me, a semi-closeted queer, feel inspired and ready to be myself in every part of my life.
The reason I say semi-closeted is because at the time of her coming out, I had yet to tell one last person about my queerness: my dad. This is because the reactions I imagined him having ranged from semi-comfortable acceptance to disownment. I had zero clues as to what he would say, especially after he had bemoaned Ellen Page’s ‘overly public’ coming out. He just did not understand why it was such big deal or why she had to take over this conference about human rights. It wasn’t all about gay rights and why can’t she just keep that stuff private? Hearing him say this at the time made my blood boil. Furious and scared, I waited until I was about to leave home for a summer job. I had prepared my own little speech of sorts.
As I waited, I desperately hoped that my childhood hero and the hero of my new reality could peacefully coexist.
I had planned to rave about how Ellen Page and other queer celebrities were a beacon of hope. I wanted to rant on and on about how many kids out there were too scared to be themselves. I wanted to throw all the articles about queer teens losing their lives to depression and suicide in his face.
Most of all, I wanted him to look me in the eyes and tell me everything was going to be okay.
Because even though almost everyone in my life had already accepted me, I was terrified. The most important opinion had yet to be decided, and if he didn’t accept me…well, I didn’t want to think about it.
When I finally told him, he was getting ready to leave me at my aunt’s house. I counted my breaths and clenched my fists as I spoke. It was now or never.
I told him that I thought it was great that Ellen Page had come out and asked him why he had made fun of her. He mumbled something about her coming out recently and that he was just commenting on the news.
I then said something along the lines of, “ I think it’s good that she came out recently. In fact, I did, too”. Much like myself, my dad is never speechless. However, for about thirty seconds he stared straight into my eyes, trying to decide if I was joking. And then, he smiled just a little.
He said, “Okay.”
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