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In the spotlight for more than a decade, Elliot Page’s internal battles with gender identity and opinions on certain roles are familiar to many.
But in a personal essay published to Esquire, Page says his battle with depression and anxiety before his transgender transition were not overblown.
“I wish people would understand that that s— literally did almost kill me,” Page wrote in the essay published Wednesday.
Before his 2020 transition, Page starred in hits from “Juno” to “The Umbrella Academy.” But in Page’s Esquire essay, “The Euphoria of Elliot Page,” he divulges how he was ultimately affected by the reception to his transition and his apprehension with future roles.
“I came out as gay in 2014, and it’s different,” he said of America’s shift in attitude. “Transphobia is just so, so, so extreme. The hatred and the cruelty is so much more incessant.”
The success of “Juno” was impactful to Page, he wrote. But because of Fox Searchlight’s aggressive demand for Page to present as the film’s feminine figure, Page battled depression and anxiety.
Page, elaborating that the reaction to his transition was what he expected, said he received “love and support from many people and hatred and cruelty and vitriol from so many others.” As a member of the LGBTQ+ community since 2014, Page said he anticipated a range of reactions to his transition announcement versus coming out.
As the trajectory of Page’s career ran in tandem with his gender-identity battles, he clarifies his gender identity shouldn’t validate or invalidate his upcoming roles.
“I think when people say, ‘Oh, he’ll want to play cis male characters now,’ the sensation I get is that the subtext is, they think that would be an accomplishment for me, versus I’m trans, I’m queer, and I want to play those roles,” Page wrote.
Specifically, how he believes his “type” lends authenticity to roles about transgender characters.
“When I get asked, ‘Are you worried about getting typecast?’ You wouldn’t say to J-Law or Rooney Mara or someone, are they worried about getting typecast as cis straight women? ” Page explained.
Though this claim refutes his personal professional aspirations, Page clarified what he wants for the transgender community.
“But at the same time, of course I want a space where trans people are getting cast as cis characters. Of course,” Page wrote.
As Page details the complexity of being a trans actor, and playing either cis or trans roles, he remains hopeful for the community, as media perception and depiction of the trans community converts to the perceptions and attitudes of the larger community.
Although hopeful, Page acknowledged the difficulties of the ongoing “conversations.”
“Why are people making it more difficult?” Page wrote. “It really breaks my heart. It really breaks my heart. That’s literally all we’re trying to communicate.”