Elliot Page slams ‘horrible backlash toward trans youth’ in first TV interview since he came out and reveals he knew he was a boy when he was just a toddler
- Page, 34, sat down for an interview with Oprah that will premiere on Friday
- He blasted proposed bills in states like Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky that will ‘take gender-affirming health care away from’ trans youth
- He feels ‘profound sadness’ about the laws that would ban hormone therapy and puberty blockers for minors, and calls the rhetoric around the issue ‘toxic’
- Page said that even as a toddler, he ‘100%’ knew he was a boy and as a child wrote fake love letters that he’d sign ‘Jason’
- The actor said he was closeted for ‘so long’ that until he was 27, he’d ‘pretty much never touched someone outside who I was in love with’
- Page came out as gay in 2014 and announced that he is a trans man, with pronouns he/they, in December of 2020
- He has since divorced his ex-wife, Emma Portner, though the actor says they ‘remain close friends’
Juno star Elliot Page has slammed the ‘horrible backlash towards trans people’ in his first television interview since coming out as transgender.
Page, 34, sat down with Oprah for a new interview for Apple TV that’s set to debut on Friday, and explained why it felt ‘imperative’ to speak out about ‘this horrible backlash we’re seeing toward trans people, particularly trans youth’.
Speaking to Vanity Fair ahead of the streaming premiere, Page said he feels ‘profound sadness’ about laws that would ban gender-affirming care — like hormone therapy and puberty blockers — for minors, and calls the rhetoric around the issue ‘toxic’.
The subject particularly hits home for Page, who told the magazine that he knew ‘100%, I was a boy’ since he was a toddler, and would even write fake love letters that he’d sign with a male pseudonym, ‘Jason’.
‘I just couldn’t understand when I’d be told, “No, you’re not. No, you can’t be that when you’re older,”’ he said. ‘You feel it. Now I’m finally getting myself back to feeling like who I am, and it’s so beautiful and extraordinary, and there’s a grief to it in a way.’
Elliot Page is blasting proposed bills in states like Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky that will ‘take gender-affirming health care away from’ trans youth
The 34-year-old actor said that bills that ban minors from hormone therapy and puberty blockers will be ‘responsible for the death of children’
Page sat down with Oprah for a new interview for Apple TV set to debut Friday, and explained why it felt ‘imperative’ to speak out about ‘this horrible backlash’ against trans people
In a preview clip from the Oprah sit-down published by Vanity Fair, Page reflects on coming out to the public on Instagram on December 1.
At the time, Page said that his pronouns were he/they, and wrote: ‘I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer … I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self.’
Now, speaking to Oprah, he said that he built up to that point by coming out to people close to him.
‘I was expressing this to people in my life, you know, much before posting that letter, and telling people for the first time and knowing I have wanted a moment, of course, to become comfortable in myself and to be able to kind of be able to get to that point,’ he said.
‘For me, I think, it is this time we’re in right now and especially with this horrible backlash we’re seeing toward trans people, particularly trans youth, it really felt imperative to do so,’ he went on.
Page has come out twice in his life — first, in 2014, as gay, and then in 2020 as trans — which has meant a lot of time spent hiding his authentic self.
‘The experience I had closeted so long… I came out as gay right before my 27th birthday and up until then I had pretty much never touched someone outside who I was in love with,’ he told Oprah.
‘And so I think any kind of sensation of feeling that again, there was just no way I could do it.
‘And it felt important and selfish for myself and my own well being and my mental health and also with this platform I have, the privilege that I have, and knowing the pain and the difficulties the struggles I faced in my life, let alone what so many other people are facing, it absolutely felt crucial and important for me to share that,’ he said.
Elaborating in an interview with trans journalist Thomas Page McBee for Vanity Fair, Page said his decision to speak publicly comes in the face of increased hostility toward the trans community.
‘The rhetoric coming from anti-trans activists and anti-LGBTQ activists — it’s devastating,’ he said.
‘My feelings aren’t really linear. I feel emerging joy and excitement one moment, and then in the next, profound sadness reading about people wanting to take gender-affirming health care away from children,’ he went on.
Several states across the US have introduced bills that would pose restrictions to trans people, and youth in particular — with some banning trans youth from school sports and many others forbidding gender-affirming health care.
Proposed bills in West Virginia, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Missouri, Montana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Arizona would ban minors (or those under age 21) from accessing gender-affirming care like hormone therapy and puberty blockers.
Page (pictured in 1992 at around age five) said that even as a toddler, he ‘100%’ knew he was a boy and as a child wrote fake love letters that he’d sign ‘Jason’
‘Compromise’: Elliot landed his first professional acting role in Canadian TV movie-turned-show Pit Pony, for which he ‘had to look a certain way’ to play the role of a little girl (pictured)
Such a bill in Arkansas has already been passed.
‘These bills are going to be responsible for the death of children. It is that simple,’ Page said.
‘You’re basically seeing your identity challenged constantly. It’s so much toxic dialogue and rhetoric, and complete denial of trans and gender-nonconforming people’s existence,’ he added.
Page himself he knew since childhood that he was male.
‘All trans people are so different, and my story’s absolutely just my story. But yes, when I was a little kid, absolutely, 100%, I was a boy,’ he said.
‘I knew I was a boy when I was a toddler. I was writing fake love letters and signing them “Jason.” Every little aspect of my life, that is who I was, who I am, and who I knew myself to be.’
While Page spoke passionately about the challenges facing the trans community, he also opened up about his own experience — and how coming out led to a ‘massive explosion of creativity’ since he had previously dedicated so much energy to feeling uncomfortable and can now direct that elsewhere.
Page said coming out led to a ‘massive explosion of creativity’ since he had previously dedicated so much energy to feeling uncomfortable and can now direct that elsewhere
‘I feel lucky to be writing this’: On December 1, Elliot shared his news in an emotional statement posted to his social media accounts, where he also revealed his name change
‘This is the first time I’ve even felt really present with people, that I can be just really relaxed and not have an anxiety that’s always pulling.’
In a March interview with TIME — his first since he publicly came out as transgender and non-binary in December — Page said he first ‘felt like a boy’ when he was nine years old and was allowed to cut his hair short for the first time.
Work: The actor is set to return for the third season of Netflix show Umbrella Academy, in which he stars as queer cisgender female Vanya Hargreeves
‘I wanted to be a boy. I would ask my mom if I could be someday,’ he said.
But just months after he cut his hair short for the first time, he landed his first professional acting job in Canadian TV movie Pit Pony, which required him to look and act like a stereotypical little girl, forcing him to grow his hair out again.
‘I became a professional actor at the age of 10 and pursuing that passion came with a difficult compromise,’ he shared. ‘Of course I had to look a certain way.’
The actor said that he was encouraged to act like a girl by his mother, Martha, who is the daughter of a minister and felt that she was ‘doing what was best’ for her child by urging her to behave in a particular way. Martha is, however, ‘fully supportive’ of Page’s decision to come out.
‘She wants me to be who I am and supports me fully,’ he said. ”It is a testament to how people really change.’
Elliot opened up about one intimate aspect of his transition during his interview, revealing that he has already undergone top surgery, and was in fact recovering from the procedure when he publicly came out as transgender.
Breakthrough: Elliot first found fame for starring as a pregnant teenager in the hit 2007 movie Juno, for which he earned an Oscar nomination
Top surgery is a subcutaneous mastectomy during which the breasts and breast tissue are removed in order to create a more masculine chest.
The actor said that the results of the procedure have ‘completely transformed his life’ and helped him feel like his true self for the first time since he endured the ‘total hell’ of puberty earlier on in his life.
As a teen, Elliot was not only going through difficult physical changes to his body, but was also doing so in the public eye.
After landing his first major role in Pit Pony, Elliot went on to star in several independent movies and TV shows, before shooting to global stardom in the hit 2007 movie Juno, in which he played the part of a pregnant teenager.
The role landed Elliot an Oscar nomination for Best Actress and saw him hailed as one of the brightest young stars in Hollywood. Major movie roles in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Inception — in which he starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio — followed.
But Elliot now says that all of the trappings of that fame, including glamorous red carpet appearances and magazine spreads, led to serious mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Split: The actor married dancer Emma Portner in 2018. The two quietly separated in the summer of 2020, and divorced at the start of this year
‘I just never recognized myself,’ he said. ‘For a long time I could not even look at a photo of myself.
‘[I didn’t know] how to explain to people that even though [I was] an actor, just putting on a T-shirt [that was] cut for a woman would make me so unwell.’
Despite his on-screen success, Page admits he seriously considered quitting the industry altogether because of the distress he felt at being forced to fit a specific Hollywood stereotype while appearing on the red carpet and shooting magazine covers.
Page came out publicly as gay in 2014 in an emotional speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive conference for LGTBQ youth, saying at the time that he hoped the the news would help others struggling with their sexuality: ‘I’m here today because I am gay. And because maybe I can make a difference.’
Four years later, he married dancer Emma Portner, though the pair quietly separated in the summer of 2020 and divorced at the start of this year. The news of their split was not revealed until after Page publicly came out as transgender.
The actor says they ‘remain close friends’ and Emma voiced her public support for her ex on Instagram after he shared his news at the end of last year, writing: ‘I am so proud of @elliotpage… Shine on sweet E. Love you so much.’
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