The star of the new Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, Ellen Page, has been making the talk show rounds to promote the program. But she also continues to be an outspoken activist for LGBTQ visibility and rights. On Friday she appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’s show to promote the series, but DeGeneres led off with a series of questions about Page’s recent activism.
And DeGeneres, who recently took heat for appearing to pardon Kevin Hart’s homophobic tweets and statements on behalf of all LGBTQ people, praised Page for her activism while also admitting that with the continual horrifying news cycle, she sometimes keeps her head down.
“I think most of us, we’re so bombarded. You watch the news … we’re bombarded with horrible things going on all the time in every area. Not just antigay. It’s everything,” DeGeneres said. “I think sometimes we just keep our heads down and we keep trying to do what we can.”
The conversation kicked off with DeGeneres commending Page for her appearance on Stephen Colbert’s show following news of an attack on actor Jussie Smollett in which the Juno star railed against the Trump administration and Mike Pence for fomenting anti-LGBTQ hatred.
“I texted you right after I saw that and I also texted Stephen. I just thought it was amazing,” DeGeneres said, noting that the moment had not been planned.
“What people need to know is it’s life or death. People need to know that when you’re growing up in a society that makes you feel like there’s something wrong with you that something needs to be fixed,” Page said after DeGeneres opened the door to discuss what she’d said on Colbert’s show. “It’s extremely dangerous and harmful.”
Page also recently called out actor Chris Pratt for attending an anti-LGBTQ church. Meanwhile, DeGeneres softballed her interview with him.
That’s when DeGeneres pointed out that on Page's series Gaycation, the actress has exhibited the courage to delve into the lives of marginalized, vulnerable LGBTQ people in countries where homosexuality is banned. DeGeneres, who famously came out publicly in 1997 and subsequently had trouble finding work for a few years, then admitted, “We just keep our heads down and we keep trying to do what we can.”
Page, who came out at an LGBTQ youth conference in 2014, responded by speaking about some of the shared experiences of queer people.
“We have so little representation in the media and we don’t learn about LGBTQ history in schools,” Page said. “These are the things that we need. You know what it’s like, Ellen.”
“I do,” DeGeneres replied.
“You know what it’s like to grow up and internalize homophobia and live with that shame that poisons you,” Page said.
“Oh, I do,” DeGeneres agreed.
Watch the exchange below.