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Celebrating Dale Hansen and Ellen Page

February 17, 2014

By John Corrado

For my Monday column this week, I’ve decided to share two videos that speak for themselves.  Although the subjects couldn’t be more different, the first an older sportscaster from Texas and the second a young Canadian actress, they offer powerful messages of equality that quickly went viral and are both absolutely worth celebrating.

The first happened after football player Michael Sam came out as gay, prompting controversy in some circles, and a stunning response from Texas sportscaster Dale Hansen.  His brilliant monologue blasts the hypocrisy that the NFL allows men who have committed violent crimes to play for their teams, but there is a backlash if they “love another man.”  His speech is powerful and beautifully delivered.

The second happened on Friday when Canadian actress Ellen Page, who received an Oscar nomination for Juno back in 2007, spoke openly about being lesbian at the Time to Thrive conference for LGBT youth in Las Vegas.  “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,” the 26-year-old actress eloquently said in her powerful speech that was shared all over the internet.  “I have been trying to push back, to be authentic, to follow my heart, but it can be hard.”

Both of these videos challenge the stereotypes that are present throughout much of the entertainment world, which Ellen Page eloquently referred to as “an industry that places crushing standards on all of us.  And not just young people.  Everyone.  Standards of beauty, of a good life, of success.  Standards that, I hate to admit, have affected me.”  The actress later added that “there are pervasive stereotypes about masculinity and femininity that define how we’re all supposed to act, dress and speak, and they serve no one.  Anyone who defies these so called norms becomes worthy of comment and scrutiny, and the LGBT community knows this all too well.”

These are the stereotypes that people use to say there can’t be an openly gay player in the NFL.  They are the same ideas that lead to bullying and hate, the same thinking behind the homophobia of the Russian government which has been brought to the public attention through the winter Olympics in Sochi.  Now I normally don’t write about politics, but the gay rights movement is more than just a political issue at this point.  It’s a human rights movement.  It’s a fight for freedom, and too often we hear about the setbacks, like the offensive comments made by Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson in December.

But Ellen Page and Dale Hansen prove that there are still brave people out there who are willing to speak out and challenge these preconceived ideas that have led to homophobia and a lack of acceptance.  The courageous messages of both these videos couldn’t have come at a more relevant time, and the inspiring words of Dale Hansen and Ellen Page really do speak for themselves, two very different people who are equally worth celebrating for their moving messages of acceptance.

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