Ellen Page Comes Out: Inside Her Motivation – and Her Audience's Reaction

02/20/2014 at 11:20 AM EST

Ellen Page Comes Out: Inside Her Motivation – and Her Audience's Reaction
Ellen Page
Nina Prommer/EPA/Landov
Ellen Page may have surprised those in the audience at the Human Rights Campaign's Time to THRIVE conference on Friday when she came out as gay, but for Page, the decision was well thought-out.

"It was her idea," Michael Cole-Schwartz, director of communications for HRC tells PEOPLE. "She came to Time to THRIVE to do it in a place where youth-serving professionals were gathered, and a place where she could have the most direct and profound impact on LGBT young people."

Mikki Cichocki, an educator who was among the 650 youth professionals in attendance, recalls the atmosphere in the room when Page made the announcement during her 8-minute speech.

"It was exhilarating," she said. "You didn't know this was going to happen. You could see her sense of relief, like, 'I got it out. I said it out loud.' "

Those gathered immediately responded with great warmth.

"There was this collective wave of emotion just supporting her, and a roar when she did actually say the words," says Cichocki. "You knew you just saw something that was momentous."

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters