OSCAR-NOMINATED actress Ellen Page has announced that she is a lesbian at a conference in Las Vegas for gay teenagers.
Page, 26, who starred in the critically acclaimed 2007 comedy-drama Juno, said that she was "tired of hiding".
"I am tired of lying by omission," said the Canadian actress, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, a Golden Globe Award and a Bafta for her role as a pregnant teen in Juno.
Page has also starred in Inception, To Rome with Love and X-Men: The Last Stand.
"I'm here today because I am gay," she declared. "And because maybe I can make a difference, to help others have an easier and more hopeful time. I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility.
"I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered.
"I'm standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain."
Her statement came less than a week after American Football player Michael Sam told an interviewer that he was gay – breaking one of the longest-running taboos in sport.
The declarations by Page and Sam come at a time of renewed focus on gay rights, as a result of the Winter Olympics being held in Russia despite that country's tough legal penalties for "promoting homosexuality" to minors.
But while there are many openly gay men in Hollywood, women have fewer high-profile role models.
Ellen DeGeneres, the chat show host, is seen as America's most famous lesbian, along with Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon and Jane Lynch, who plays the cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester, in Glee.
Page told her story to delegates at the 'Time to Thrive' conference – which was aimed at supporting "LGBTQ Youth" – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and "questioning" young people.
She said that she suffered for years because she was scared to be public about her sexuality. "There are too many kids out there suffering from bullying or rejection, or simply being mistreated because of who they are," she said.