Actress Ellen Page, who publicly came out as gay last year, took to Twitter to criticize a recent move by Queen Elizabeth II to honor a politician who once declared the LGBT community responsible for Hurricane Katrina and AIDS.
“f*** that,” Page signed a tweet on Monday, which linked out to a VICE News article highlighting concerns about homophobia in England after the Queen gave Irish politician Maurice Mills an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). Following the disastrous hurricane in 2005, Mills reportedly said that “the media failed to report that the hurricane occurred just two days prior to the annual homosexual event called the Southern Decadence Festival … Surely, this is a warning to nations where such wickedness is increasingly promoted and practiced.”
An online petition with nearly 500 supporters as of Tuesday morning has since surfaced to retract the award. “The awarding of this respected honour to a person with such a reputation not only gives the impression that their opinions are valid, but devalues the entire system of honours by association to these toxic sentiments,” the petition reads.
But President of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association Terry McFarlane told VICE News that the petition isn’t the main problem. “The fact that both himself and his party refuse to retract the comments he made about the hurricane being brought about by gay lifestyles would overshadow what has happened,” he said.
Page, who has starred in movies like “Juno” and “Inception,” said she felt a “personal obligation and a social responsibility” to make a difference in the LGBT community in a moving speech last February. ”I am here today because I am gay,” she said for the first time publicly at the Human Rights Campaign conference in Las Vegas.
“I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationships suffered,” Page added. “And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain.”