Excitement Mixed With Fear: Elliot on Coming Out as Transgender
Elliot Page became the first trans man to appear on the cover of Time magazine.
In his first interview since coming out as a trans man, Elliot Page spoke to Time magazine about his journey. He talked about his childhood, including the time he asked his mother if he could be a boy, “I felt like a boy. I wanted to be a boy. I asked my mom if I could be some day.”
Elliot touched upon the effect a mere haircut can have on someone’s identity and others' perception of it, especially since he had to take on female presenting roles in the beginning of his career which required that he grow his hair out. For his stint in Pit Pony he eventually had to grow his hair out, “Of course I had to look a certain way,” he said.
Page’s disclosure of his identity came at a time when the then US President was actively sanctioning rulings that made life harder for the transgender community, including the reversal of the transgender health care protections. In such a scenario, Page described that the excitement came with a ‘lot of fear and anxiety’.
"This feeling of true excitement and deep gratitude to have made it to this point in my life, is mixed with a lot of fear and anxiety".Elliot Page, Actor
He anticipated the reaction the announcement would receive, especially the transphobia. “What I was anticipating was a lot of support and love and a massive amount of hatred and transphobia. That’s essentially what happened.”
The idea of coming to terms with one’s identity can be difficult and Page was grappling with that while being in the spotlight. After securing BAFTA and Oscar nominations for his role in Juno, Page was pushed into the public eye, which expected a feminine image. Talking about that disconnect, Page reveals that he ‘just never recognized’ himself, “For a long time I could not even look at a photo of myself.” Eventually, Page also considered quitting acting and suffered from depression and anxiety.
"How to explain to people that even though (I was) an actor, just putting on a T-shirt cut for a woman would make me so unwell?"Elliot Page, Actor
Elliot Page eventually came out as gay in 2014, marrying Emma Portner just four years later (they divorced in 2021). He actively worked towards creating films LGBTQ+ leads but despite the shift, there was still something amiss. As he put it, “But did the discomfort in my body ever go away? No, no, no, no.”
Page also talked about his decision to undergo top surgery and how important it can be to some trans people. He believes that he has a moral duty to talk about these things because of the privilege he holds, especially as anti-trans crimes continue to rise on a daily basis.
"My privilege has allowed me to have resources to get through and to be where I am today, and I want to use that privilege and platform to help in the ways I can".Elliot Page, Actor
He is all set to star in the third season of The Umbrella Academy as Vanya. While cisgender people usually play transgender roles, despite the community’s criticism, it’s rare to see a trans person playing a cis role but Page is excited about the prospect of acting now and said, “I’m really excited to act, now that I’m fully who I am, in this body.”
While talking to Time, Page also brought up a very important point about the rhetoric peddled about trans people and the erasure of their identities. “...every day you’re seeing our existence debated. Transgender people are so very real”, he said.
Actor Elliot Page came out as a trans man via an Instagram post in December saying, “Hi friends. I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.” The actor became the first trans man to appear on the cover of Time magazine following the legacy of Laverne Cox who was the first trans woman to do so.
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