Ellen Page Thinks “Brave” Isn’t the Right Way To Describe Actors Playing LGBTQ+ Roles
In a Time magazine interview, Ellen Page shook off the descriptor “brave” when she discussed her upcoming role in Freeheld. “Maybe this is a bad thing to say, but I have a hard time when people call actors brave,” she said. “I don’t really get that, because our job is to read something on a page.”
When people are [called] brave in regards to playing LGBTQ people, that’s borderline offensive. I’m never going to be considered brave for playing a straight person, and nor should I be. It’s hard to say this, because the context of the film is so deeply tragic, but for me there was a deep sense of peace on set that I had not felt in a really long time, potentially since I was a teenager and first having these really beautiful, fortunate moments in films. There was something about being out, getting to play a gay character, and getting to play a woman who is so inspiring to me—it was such an amazing experience for me. Honestly, if I played gay characters for the rest of my career, I’d be thrilled. I wish I could, honestly!
Personally, I agree that “brave” can seem condescending sometimes when used in this context. Is it “bravery” when actors (especially actors with a lot of privilege) accept these sorts of roles, or should supporting these projects be seen as an act of basic human decency?
Ellen Page went on to emphasize the importance of telling these stories, as well as the stories of other marginalized groups:
Native American and Native Canadian people: Where are these stories? I want to see these stories! And I’m hoping the shift is going to come really quick now. It’s evident from what people are watching on television that people want diversity. They want it. …I want to see gay stories, of course, because I’m gay, and I want to connect to a reflection of my life on film. But I also want to see what it’s like to be a young Native person, African-American, African-Canadian. Hopefully that will keep changing.
Page also discussed her current plans to do more film production; she has two upcoming projects that are “gay” — and, she adds, “That’s even a pain to have to call it that.”
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