Elliot Page is opening up about the freedom he’s felt since coming out as transgender in 2020.
To commemorate Trans Week of Visibility and Action, the Umbrella Academy star sat down on Instagram Live with trans activists Raquel Willis and the American Civil Liberty Union's Chase Strangio to discuss the importance of community building, elevating trans joy and combating misinformation in the media.
“I feel the best I've ever felt like, like, I feel the way that I really never thought was possible,” Page said.
“I know the challenges I've gone through and I know how difficult it has been for me,” he continued. “The enormous amount of privilege, the enormous amount of resources I've had absolutely, unequivocally saved my life — from therapy to my surgery, and so many things between.” Page acknowledged that those resources are “so inaccessible for so many [trans] people.”
But having the access, he added, allowed him to tap into the "trans joy" he always knew was possible.
“It’s been on such a core level," he said when asked how trans joy manifests itself in his life. "Just the degree now that I can feel present, simply that I can feel present in a space without this incessant underlying anxiety or some sort of feeling like I need to flee."
"And then, in the more specific ways, it's wearing a suit last night [at the Academy Awards]," he added. "All those things are really special, wonderful, joyful moments where you’re looking at a photograph and it's really cool to see yourself for the first time — or the person you already saw but here they are, like, they’re f****** emerging."
Page also touched on the string of anti-trans bills being pushed across the United States — most recently in Florida, which passed a law [dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill] that prohibits classrooms from discussing LGBTQ issues; and in Texas, where leaders declared that gender-affirming medical care for trans youth was child abuse.
The actor explained that the level of misinformation in the media about trans people has made it “challenging” for society to understand the plight trans folks go through every day.
“We’re tired of having to say, ‘Oh no, I actually do exist,’” he said. “It’s an emotional space for people to be in. Misinformation really affects people.”
It's also created wedges among his friends who, he said, claim they are "not transphobic" but will espouse harmful views about trans kids and trans women in sports, something he says is due to misinformation.
“[It] really affects them, especially this ‘feminist’ approach,” he explained, referring to trans-exclusive radical feminists (TERFs), a term used to describe feminists who believe that sex determines gender, which is counter to trans activists' argument that gender is more complicated than one's biological sex alone.
Of course, Page is no stranger to using his platform to raise awareness for trans causes.
Following the news in February that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton declared medical care for transgender “child abuse" under Texas law, the actor used his voice to denounce the legislators.
“I am horrified by the inhumane and downright dangerous declarations by the Texas Governor and Attorney General,” he said in a statement to Variety at the time. “Trans youth deserve gender-affirming care and to be able to live their true, authentic selves without fear and oppression. I stand with trans youth and their families.”
Last year, Page sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey, discussing his mission to use his fame to combat transphobia.
"With this platform I have, the privilege I have, and knowing the pain and the difficulties and the struggles I faced in my life, let alone what so many other people are facing, it absolutely felt just crucial and important for me to share that," he said.
Of his famous coming out (and his iconic Time magazine cover), Page explained, "I wanted to share with people just how much it has changed my life," adding that "not only has it been life-changing for me, I do believe it's life-saving — and it's the case for so many people. And because there's such an attack on trans health care right now, when already there's such lack of access or trans people who don't even want to go to the doctor. What you are hearing from certain lawmakers are actual complete and utter — they're lies."
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