"We must not lose sight of the very real, endemic violence that LGBTQ+ people, people of color and other underrepresented communities face every day," the actress writes.
Ellen Page is making it clear hate crimes are still a reality in America.
The "Umbrella Academy" star wrote an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter in an effort to refocus media attention on the real threats and hate crimes underrepresented communities face every day, following disturbing developments in Jussie Smollett's case.
In the essay, which was published Wednesday, Page, who was one of the first to publically voice support for Smollett after the reported crime, said she had "no reason to doubt" the "Empire" star in the beginning. However, since the police investigation now points in the direction of a hoax, Page fears real victims might be "more reluctant" to come forward.
"We, as LGBTQ+ people, are forced to fear for our safety because instances of hate violence," she wrote. "It's the fear that makes us pause before grabbing the hand of our loved one in public. It's the fear that makes us consider whether or not we are in physical danger before we lean in for a kiss on the cheek. The conversation around Jussie Smollett has led us all to examine hate violence and its implications and aftermath. I had no reason to doubt Jussie."
"My work on Gaycation -- the docuseries I produced to chronicle LGBTQ+ stories from around the world -- introduced me to many survivors of hate violence," she continued. "I know how prevalent and pernicious it can be. If this situation was staged, it could make victims even more reluctant to report these crimes. Very real crimes."
"We must not lose sight of the very real, endemic violence that LGBTQ+ people, people of color and other underrepresented communities face every day."
"The Juno" star then offered a plea: "I ask you not to question our pain, not to draw into question our trauma, but to maintain, wholeheartedly, that hate violence exists. The merits of one case should not and cannot call that into question. The media coverage does not convey the reality and totality of the cruelty and danger we face. This is the story that must be told."
Page also presented harrowing statistics, including FBI data released in 2018 that said hate crimes in America rose 17 percent compared to the year prior.
"No child, no teenager, no adult -- no one deserves to be victimized because of who they are," she concluded. "No one should feel shame for who they were born to be or to live their life in fear. I am going to use my voice and visibility to continue speaking and -- as storytellers and members of an industry with a global platform -- I implore you to join me."