Last night, HRC Foundation’s conference promoting safety, inclusion and well-being for LGBTQ youth kicked off in Las Vegas.
The conference will engage a broad audience of youth-serving professionals, including K-12 educators, mental health providers, pediatricians, religious leaders, recreational athletic coaches, and youth development staff at places like Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCAs. Time to THRIVE provides a “one-stop-shop” opportunity for these professionals to build awareness and cultural competency, learn current and emerging best practices, and gather resources from leading experts and national organizations in the field.
Don’t forget to tune in to watch LIVE as Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, delivers special remarks at Time to THRIVE on Sunday.
BREAKING: HRC congratulates Ellen Page on her brave decision to live openly and authentically
Tonight actress Ellen Page came out as lesbian from the stage of HRC’s inaugural “Time to THRIVE” Conference. HRC congratulates Page on her brave decision to live openly and authentically.
Perhaps best known for her roles in movies like Juno,Inception and X-Men, Page’s indomitable spirit sets a powerful example for LGBT and allied youth around the world.
Coming out — whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or allied — is a deeply personal and arduous journey for every individual. Send your congratulations to Ellen Page.
Read her complete remarks below.
Hello! Wow. Thank you.
Thank you Chad, for those kind words and for the even kinder work that you and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation do every day—especially on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people here and across America.
It’s such an honor to be here at the inaugural Time to THRIVE conference. But it’s a little weird, too. Here I am, in this room because of an organization whose work I deeply admire. And I’m surrounded by people who make it their life’s work to make other people’s lives better— profoundly better. Some of you teach young people—people like me. Some of you help young people heal and to find their voice. Some of you listen. Some of you take action. Some of you are young people yourselves…in which case, it’s even weirder for a person like me to be speaking to you.
It’s weird because here I am, an actress, representing—at least in some sense—an industry that places crushing standards on all of us. 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.
But that’s why I’m here. In this room, all of you, all of us, can do so much more together than any one person can do alone. And I hope that thought bolsters you as much as it does me. I hope the workshops you’ll go to over the next few days give you strength. Because I can only imagine that there are days—when you’ve worked longer hours than your boss realizes or cares about, just to help a kid you know can make it. Days where you feel completely alone. Undermined. Or hopeless.
I know there are people in this room who go to school every day and get treated like shit for no reason. Or you go home and you feel like you can’t tell your parents the whole truth about yourself. Beyond putting yourself in one box or another, you worry about the future. About college or work or even your physical safety. Trying to create that mental picture of your life—of what on earth is going to happen to you—can crush you a little bit every day. It is toxic and painful and deeply unfair.
Sometimes it’s the little, insignificant stuff that can tear you down. I try not to read gossip as a rule, but the other day a website ran an article with a picture of me wearing sweatpants on the way to the gym. The writer asked, “Why does [this] petite beauty insist upon dressing like a massive man?”
Because I like to be comfortable. There are pervasive stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that define how we are all supposed to act, dress and speak. They serve no one. Anyone who defies these so-called ‘norms’ becomes worthy of comment and scrutiny. The LGBT community knows this all too well.
Yet there is courage all around us. The football hero, Michael Sam. The actress, Laverne Cox. The musicians Tegan and Sara Quinn. The family that supports their daughter or son who has come out. And there is courage in this room. All of you.
I’m inspired to be in this room because every single one of you is here for the same reason.
You’re here because you’ve adopted as a core motivation the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another. If we took just 5 minutes to recognize each other’s beauty, instead of attacking each other for our differences. That’s not hard. It’s really an easier and better way to live. And ultimately, it saves lives.
Then again, it’s not easy at all. It can be the hardest thing, because loving other people starts with loving ourselves and accepting ourselves. I know many of you have struggled with this. I draw upon your strength and your support, and have, in ways you will never know.
I’m here today because I am gay. And because… maybe I can make a difference. 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. I am young, yes, but what I have learned is that love, the beauty of it, the joy of it and yes, even the pain of it, is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being. And we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.
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. You can change that and you are changing it.
But you never needed me to tell you that. That’s why this was a little bit weird. The only thing I can really say is what I’ve been building up to for the past five minutes. Thank you. Thank for inspiring me. Thank you for giving me hope, and please keep changing the world for people like me.
Today fair-minded Americans across the country are celebrating monumental victories after watching history unfold at the Supreme Court.
HRC President Chad Griffin will celebrate at a community this evening in West Hollywood alongside attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, Prop. 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, West Hollywood Mayor Prop Tempore John D’Aminico and many more community leaders
How are you celebrating equality today? Let us know by posting your photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #time4marriage.
Can’t make it out to one of the celebrations in the wake of today’s monumental victories? We have you covered. Watch the livestream of the rallies in West Hollywood right here, tonight at 8:30 p.m. EST.
HRC Statement on Reintroduction of the Respect for Marriage Act
Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court found Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, lawmakers in both the House and the Senate reintroduced the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA). RMA would fully remove DOMA from the books and establish a clear rule for the federal government that all married same-sex couples – regardless of what state they currently live in – have access to equal rights, benefits, and protections under federal law.
“Today’s historic victories at the Supreme Court impact same-sex couples across the country, but there’s much work ahead of us to ensure that every couple can fully enjoy the recognition Justice Kennedy so eloquently wrote about in the majority opinion in Windsor,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The Respect for Marriage Act will finally expunge DOMA’s discrimination from our nation’s laws and provide certainty to every married same-sex couple that their federal recognition will follow them wherever they may live or travel.”
The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced in the House by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and 160 cosponsors, including bipartisan support from Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Richard Hanna (R-NY). Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is sponsoring the Senate version. Forty Senators have signed-on as co-sponsors.
Federal agencies can and must change their policies, regulations, or practices to ensure same-sex couples – regardless of where they live – have access to the federal benefits and protections they deserve. However, the Respect for Marriage Act would, in one action, create a single, government-wide rule that lawfully married same-sex couples living in states where their marriage is not recognized can equally access all federal benefits and protections.
“We have an obligation to ensure every same-sex couple – whether they live in Arkansas or New York, Kansas or California, can share in today’s emotional and deserved victory,” added Griffin. “We have momentum on our side, and it’s only a matter of time until the remaining parts of DOMA are entirely repealed.”