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Canadian actress Ellen Page comes out as gay

Canadian actress Ellen Page comes out as gayActress Ellen Page comes out as gay at the Human Rights Campaign's Time to Thrive Conference, on Friday, February, 14, 2014 in Las Vegas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP,HO Jeff Bottari

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Oscar nominated Canadian actress Ellen Page has come out as gay, declaring that hiding her sexuality has caused her years of suffering.

Page went public Friday night in Las Vegas during an emotional speech to the Time to Thrive conference — an LGBT (lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual) youth event sponsored by the gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.

The 26 year old Halifax native said she was "tired of lying by omission," and that her fear of coming out had caused her spirit, her mental health and her relationships all to suffer.

The audience stood and applauded when she told the conference "I'm here today because I'm gay, and maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and more hopeful time."

Page said she felt she'd been put in a difficult position by a film industry that places "crushing standards" on actors.

"Standards of beauty, of a good life, of success. Standards that I hate to admit, affected me," she said.

The star of such hit movies as "Juno," "Inception" and "X-Men" said that all people, regardless of their sexuality, "Deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise."

Page won the hearts of moviegoers, and also an Oscar nomination, playing a pregnant teenager in "Juno."

Jennie King, director of sales and marketing for Neptune Theatre in Page's hometown, said the local film and theatre community was celebrating the actress on Saturday.

"It's really inspiring to know that the community is standing behind her," said King. "She's sort of set herself free to go and liberate herself and take on wonderful new projects and be a spokesperson... for our city and for other young people that are experiencing the same kind of challenges."

Twitter users responded to Page's coming out speech with tweets describing it as "inspiring," "beautiful," "moving," and "awesome."

And "House of Cards" star Kate Mara tweeted "Hey @EllenPage...Be my Valentine?"

Page's speech was linked through her Facebook page and had received more than 28,500 likes, and nearly 3,000 comments and shares by mid-morning on Saturday.

Many commenters praised Page for coming out with one suggesting that Page's speech should be "played at every high school in North America."

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