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Actress Ellen Page: "I am gay"

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(CNN) -- Hollywood actress Ellen Page, known for her role in the movie "Juno," announced she is gay, in a very public way.

Page broke the news during an emotional speech Friday in a crowded conference hall in Las Vegas, her publicist confirmed to CNN.

"I'm here today because I am gay. And because... maybe I can make a difference," Page told a crowd at an event called Time to THRIVE, a conference to promote issues of the gay community.

The Canadian star got a standing ovation during the speech.

"I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission," Page told the crowd. "I suffered for years, because I was scared to be out."

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Page, 26, spoke about football star Michael Sam, a man she called a "hero."

Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from the University of Missouri, also publicly revealed that he's gay this week.

Sam's announcement creates the possibility he'll be the first openly gay player drafted by the National Football League.

Page, who is set to star in an upcoming X-Men movie, said she had learned a lot from others who have publicly announced their sexual orientation.

"We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise," she told the crowd.

Human Rights Campaign, an organizer of the conference, praised Page on Twitter.

"Congratulations, @EllenPage for taking the steps to live openly and come out as lesbian. #comingout," the organization tweeted.

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