Elliot Page says he's 'fully who I am' in 1st interview since coming out as transgender
Elliot Page is sharing his story.
The Juno actor, 34, gave his first interview since revealing in December that he is transgender. He appears on the cover of Time magazine, sharing that he's "fully who I am." He spoke about the "complicated journey" to where he is today as well as the reaction he received from his announcement.
“What I was anticipating was a lot of support and love and a massive amount of hatred and transphobia,” the Umbrella Academy said. “That’s essentially what happened.”
He said that time brought, "this feeling of true excitement and deep gratitude to have made it to this point in my life,” but “mixed with a lot of fear and anxiety.”
During the emotional conversation, Page recalled how, as a child, “I felt like a boy. I wanted to be a boy. I would ask my mom if I could be someday" So when he got a short haircut at age 9, and strangers thought he was a boy, it made him feel good inside.
However, it was short-lived. Page was acting — and, at 10, landed his first professional role, playing a girl. "Of course I had to look a certain way," he said.
As his success continued with 2005's Hard Candy and 2007's Juno, suddenly there were magazine covers and red carpets, which required endless primping and a focus on his appearance. It left Page feeling disconnected from himself.
“I just never recognized myself. For a long time I could not even look at a photo of myself," he said. It was especially hard to see himself in films, especially when he played more feminine characters.
By the time his big blockbusters came, like X-Men: The Last Stand and Inception, Page was suffering from depression, anxiety and panic attacks. He said "just putting on a T-shirt cut for a woman would make me so unwell." He considered quitting acting more than once and felt exhausted by the work it required to “just exist.”
Page came out as gay in 2014 and started wearing suits on the red carpet. He made masculine wardrobe a condition of taking roles. He also found love with choreographer Emma Portner, whom he married in 2018. And yet he still didn't feel comfortable in his body.
“The difference in how I felt before coming out as gay to after was massive,” Page said. “But did the discomfort in my body ever go away? No, no, no, no.”
The pandemic was actually the major turning point. Page said it forced him to look deeper inside, explaining, “I had a lot of time on my own to really focus on things that I think, in so many ways, unconsciously, I was avoiding."
He turned to trans writers to help him understand his feelings and felt especially seen reading P. Carl’s memoir Becoming a Man. He was also inspired by famous transgender advocates including Laverne Cox and Janet Mock.
"I was finally able to embrace being transgender,” Page said, “and letting myself fully become who I am.”
That led to many new decisions, like his name. He always loved the name Elliot. He was a big E.T. fan as a child ("and always wanted to look like the boys in the movies") and even has a tattoo that says: E.P. PHONE HOME. And he decided on his pronouns: he/him and they/them.
Page also had top surgery, emphasizing that being trans isn’t all about surgery, as the media often makes it out to be. He said for him, the surgery has made it possible to see himself when he looks in the mirror, calling it “not only life-changing but lifesaving.”
He said the surgery, "has completely transformed my life,” noting that he has regained a lot of energy he previously spent on feeling uncomfortable in his body.
Page and Portner also divorced in early 2021. His only comment on the topic was, "We’ve remained close friends."
Page admitted there is still a lot to figure out, saying, “It’s a complicated journey, and an ongoing process.”
He is also eager to take on new acting roles, explaining, “I’m really excited to act, now that I’m fully who I am, in this bod. No matter the challenges and difficult moments of this, nothing amounts to getting to feel how I feel now.”
He's also focused on being an advocate — and fighting transphobia.
“Extremely influential people are spreading these myths and damaging rhetoric — every day you’re seeing our existence debated," Page said. "Transgender people are so very real. My privilege has allowed me to have resources to get through and to be where I am today, and of course I want to use that privilege and platform to help in the ways I can.”
GLAAD has reacted to Page's interview, with Nick Adams, the director of transgender representation, saying in a statement,"Not only is Elliot Page a fine actor, he is also an advocate for equality and justice who continues to educate the world about who trans people really are and about why the current barrage of anti-trans bills promoted by fearmongering politicians are so harmful and unnecessary."
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