Ellen Page and Ellie’s moment

discusses the recent revelation about Ellen Page and Ellie from The Last of Us

Editor’s note: this article contains spoilers from The Last of Us: Left Behind. You have been warned.

Photo credit: Elen Nivrae

Photo credit: Elen Nivrae

Valentine’s Day, 2014 will be remembered as a historical occasion for some of the events which occurred. Beyond: Two Souls star Ellen Page officially announced that she was gay. Delivering a heartfelt speech to an audience of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, the Actress’ decision could not have been timed any better. This is because Naughty Dog released its only single-player story-based DLC for The Last of Us. Left Behind revealing that Ellie – a main character who shares an uncanny resemblance with Page – is also a lesbian (or bisexual).

These two events were coincidentally timed but it was a perfect way of highlighting the importance of the topic. There was a surprised reception from the entire gaming community regarding Ellie’s revelation. And Naughty Dog approached the subject brilliantly: they chose to do it and never turned away. With a majority of people celebrating Valentine’s Day, it was the perfect moment to emphasise that being who you are, irrespective of your sexual preference, should never be looked down upon by society.

Page’s speech was emotional, touching and inspirational to members of the audience and public. During the conference, Page said she is “tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out.” The messages she highlighted through the course of her speech would be one that many people feel when it comes to expressing their sexuality.

With the times changing, people are accepting people for who they are. It is ridiculous to think that people are still frowned upon for being someone ‘different’ due to their sexual preferences. Religion should not be an excuse to judge people, especially when Pope Francis made this remark: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” Admirable words from such an influential figure and more people need to wake up and accept everyone for who they are.

Games reach out to an audience, which in my opinion, is parallel to Hollywood. So they should be setting the example to people that being homosexual is nothing to be ashamed of and they have no need to hide it from the rest of society.

Naughty Dog’s choice of revealing Ellie as a lesbian was one which left me gobsmacked, not for the reason she was homosexual, but the encouragement I felt from them going through with the decision especially from such an influential company. It was a revelation which would have stunned many on Valentine’s Day, but demonstrated that love is a beautiful thing which two people share and we have no right to judge them for their sexual preference.

Ellie and Joel

Every day children are bullied for being homosexual and made to feel ‘alien’ from the rest of society. Homophobia is disgusting and once the whole of society finally decides to wake up, they will look back and be baffled by the fact that we had not completely accepted homosexuality during the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Mass Effect 3 and Fable 3 also set the message that homosexuality is nothing to ashamed of and it can be accepted in this art form. I am not expecting every game to completely change and fill its titles with homosexual messages or themes, but developers should continue to embrace the change happening around them and not fear to apply it to their titles.

For me, I may have used the word homosexual in this article enough times, but it is one that I despise using. I do not see people any differently for their sexual preference or choose to label them, but respect them for who they are as an individual, regardless of how society deems them. Celebrity figures are leading spokespeople for a generation of individuals who are continued to be judged for who they are, which is always a brilliant message to help many who fear coming out.

Video games, films and all forms of other mediums are helping spread the message that being who you are is always important, irrespective of your sexual preference. Being a lifelong gamer, it makes me proud to see industry shifting in a positive route and developers opening up to ideas and themes such as embracing everyone for who they truly are.

24 comments

  1. To be fair she could also be pansexual or bisexual, just to point that out, but yeah when I played through this part I got so happy and I really just think Naughty Dog did a great job

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  2. Don’t care for Ellen but what a cool coincidence. It was just last year she claimed Naughty Dog stole her likeness.

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  3. TBH given Ellie’s age and the circumstances she is in, with her only friend. It is quite difficult to put a label on her at all.

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  4. Loved the story decisions Neil and Bruce made however I’m not sure we can define Ellie as gay. She is a young girl who has never had a real relationship with anyone and in a world as messed up as the ones they inhabit any relationship, regardless of sexual orientation, is important.

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    • I’m pretty sure Naughty Dog meant to imply she is romantically attracted to Riley. Being young has nothing to do with it. Ellie is 14. There are many people who have discovered themselves by age 14; in fact, that is only a few years less than average now and not unbelievable since that is around the start of puberty. You also don’t need a relationship with both sexes to realize you aren’t attracted to one.
      I agree with you though that labeling and defining people are unnecessary. I think the fact that Naughty Dog didn’t go into detail about Ellie’s sexuality makes their point that it doesn’t matter if she is gay, bi, etc., it only matters that she loved Riley who happened to be a girl and it’s not a big deal.

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      • There is nobody that found themselves at 14. They’re 14. They haven’t even gone through puberty. There’s always stories about kids that think they’re gay or straight.

        Plus there’s too many hints in the main game that imply she could be straight.

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        • Nah man. We don’t question straight kids when they’re 14, we don’t say “You’re too young to know if you’re straight” etc. Because its perceived as the default. Many, many people know from a young age what their sexuality is.

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        • there are actually more hints about her being gay/bi actually and as a bi man myself I can tell you growing up you kinda get what you’re into early on it’s society and people like you that confuse kids….I thought I was just gay for the longest time because I was always told if you had any attraction to the same sex that makes you gay but I did have attraction for girls too…I conditioned myself to think I didn’t like girls or that anything involving sex with them was unattractive until my teenage years when I really started to see them in a sexual way and it surprised me….people need to wake up and realize sexuality is fluid, not everything is black and white as for Ellie maybe she could find a guy she is attracted to but all we know for sure is that she had romantic feelings for Riley and we shouldn’t try to put a label on it or brush it off as “childhood confusion”

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  5. i think it’s wrong that these facts are such a big deal

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  6. The stupidity of these comments blow my mind.

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  7. The kiss scene doesn’t automatically have to be a statement on Ellie’s sexuality. It was an certainly an expression of intimacy, but it didn’t seem at all sexualized to me. Mixed feelings during adolescence aren’t necessarily indicative of actual orientation, especially when considering the forced intimacy of a survival situation. I totally read this scene as just being about the fact that Ellie truly loves her friend. They are all that each other have… I’m not saying she’s NOT a lesbian, but I am saying that one scene with a kiss from 14 year old girl doesn’t necessarily paint that picture.

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    • What’s a shame is that the only reason people are saying she might have mixed feelings is because it was another girl she kissed. If it was a guy, the only people would say is that the scene was cute. They wouldn’t go on a tangent, debating whether or not she was truly straight. They’d just accept it.

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      • They accept it as the “default” because that’s how procreation works, it requires both male and female to create an offspring. There are cases in nature where gender transformation happen or where self propagation occur but in the mammalian world procreation between male and female is more common. We’re only now getting to the point in science where it may be possible for a man and man to have a fully biological child of their own. I think “default” has more to do with how biology works than psychology. Mankind is only now becoming more self-actualized to prize psychology to leave behind biology. So what you say is a shame is default is a result of biology.

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  8. This has nothing to do with homosexuality. If Ellie were homosexual, she would’ve been a maladjusted, dysfunctional degenerate throughout the core game and couldn’t have been part of the character development that we’ve seen in The Last of Us.

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  9. I’m sorry, did someone just reference Mass Effect 3’s treatment of homosexuality in a positive tone?

    Bioware’s recent portrayal of homosexuality/bisexuality has been utterly laughable, and is also a transparent attempt to shout “look how progressive we are” and further, to enable them to describe any criticism of the romance system as “homophobic.”

    As tastefully as it is handled, the (bisexual/pansexual/lesbian/whatever) scene in Left Behind smacks of this same corporate, profit-based storytelling style. “How do we make our game better?” “Well, how about we make her gay? That’s progressive and boundary-pushing, right?”

    To compare Page’s pretty phenomenal bravery to this brief moment of video-game storytelling is frankly inappropriate.

    Let’s summarize the risks that Ellen Page was taking by coming out:
    -Alienation from friends
    -alienation from family
    -public abuse
    -public embarrassment
    -her career going down the toilet (There’s a reason hollywood stars generally keep very quiet about their sexuality)
    -an inevitable shitstorm of paparazzi painting every single girl she talks to as a love interest
    -an inevitable use of her as a poster-girl for the LGBT community (not everyone wants to be a figurehead, yo)

    Aaaaand what was Naughty Dog risking by putting this scene into their game?
    -the possibility that someone, somewhere, might not buy this DLC for an already insanely popular game that is widely considered the best videogame of 2013, because they didn’t like the inclusion of a same-sex kiss
    -except that that’s not really likely at all because the vast majority of video game players are under the age of 35 and thus, generally, are pretty much ok with same sex romances.

    WOW NAUGHTY DOG SO PROGRESSIVE AND BRAVE

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    • Um, no. The reason ND decided to include a kiss between Ellie and Riley was to emphasise the fact that Ellie loved Riley, making us look at the main story in a new light. Joel tells Ellie halfway through the game that she has “no idea what loss is”, but through this DLC, we can now see that Ellie genuinely does. She lost a girl that she loved dearly, who was implied to be the only person in the world at the time that she truly cared for.

      ND didn’t include the same-sex kiss to be controversial, nor was it to make a statement “Look how deep Ellie’s character is, she’s a lesbian/bisexual!”. The reasoning behind it was to actually develop what we saw of her in the main story and, thinking back to that argument in the farmhouse between Ellie and Joel, when Ellie says that “Everyone I’ve cared for has either died or left me”, it just strengthens the bond ND have created between Ellie and Joel despite Joel being absent for the majority of the DLC. It’s genius, but of course people like you who think you know it all will never get that.

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  10. Just because she kisses her doesn’t make her a lesbian. You have to understand that. If it’s an extremely close friend (her only friend), that’s perfectly understandable. This article’s author is completely missing the point. Btw, don’t associate ellie with Ellen. It just doesn’t make any sense.

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    • It kind of does make sense to associate Ellen Page with Ellie, considering the numerous comparisons between the two, and the many people who thought Ellen Page played Ellie in the game, and the accusations of ND ripping off her likeness… heck, even their names are similar. There’s no real-life celebrity other than Ashley Johnson herself who could be more sensibly associated with Ellie.

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    • what are you talking about some of the production staff has admitted off the record that Ellie and her personality were based off page…..ND had to change her appearance before the release to avoid a law suit even without any off what I said above it’s clear where the inspiration comes from….they look the same, Ellie’s personality is eerily similar to Pages trademark acting style we usually see in the indie movies she does, and even their names are close, Ashley did a great job and made Ellie into her own person but that doesn’t change where the inspiration came from

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  11. I think Naughty Dog and ellen both did an amazing job; Ellen for being brave enough to tell the public that “hey this is who i am, and i ‘love’ myself, and are not ashamed of it” and also naughty dog because, we all know that gaming has a big impact and kids… Who go to school get this idea that, (it doesnt matter what my friends sexual orientation is, i love him/her no matter what) and those kids will grow up to be accepting of others.

    I do however think that “coming out” shouldn’t be a “thing” at all, we should be at that point in time where we all just accept eachother no matter what, good job on the article :)

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