Ellen page talks about what it’s like to be an openly gay actress

Last year, Ellen Page came out as gay when she was just 26 years old. Now, in a new interview with Variety, she reflects upon what her life in Hollywood has been like since she started living openly as a lesbian.

“I’m happier than I probably could imagine. Now it doesn’t feel like I was ever not out,” she said. “It’s hard for me to imagine not existing in the way that I’m existing now. It boggles my mind that it seemed so difficult and so impossible. I wish I’d done it sooner, quite frankly. Some dark cloud has completely evaporated.”

She also noted that there aren’t too many other young, queer women in Hollywood because there’s still a stigma around coming out — especially when you act for a living.

When you’re a young actress, “first of all, there aren’t that many roles for you,” Page said. “And second, the roles that do exist, you’re specifically a device for the male character or you’re hypersexualized in regards to the male gaze. For whatever reason, people can believe straight actors playing gay roles, but there’s this idea they can’t believe gay actors playing straight roles.”

Since coming out, Page has loved being able to dress the way she wants on the red carpet. Dresses just aren’t her thing: “There was this pressure to look a certain way and be a kind of femininity, which is not what I identify with. If you see me in a dress I look like an idiot,” she said. “I have not worn a dress since I came out. I wear suits. It’s made the experience of everything so much better.”

Page will co-star as Julianne Moore’s onscreen romantic partner in the upcoming drama “Freehold,” due out in theaters Oct. 2. Based on a true story, the film details a police officer’s fight to transfer her pension benefits to her partner after she is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Revisit Page’s inspiring coming out speech from the 2014 Human Rights Campaign “Time to Thrive” conference below.