Academy Award-nominated actor Elliot Page gave his first interview since revealing in December that he is transgender.
The Juno actor, 34, 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.”
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 all 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 Page’s big blockbusters came, like X-Men: The Last Stand and Inception, he was suffering from depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Page 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, Page said 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.”
Page said the pandemic was the actual turning point, explaining it forced him to look deeper inside. “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.”
In December, he publicly came out as trans, making him one of the most famous transgender people in the country. While he “was anticipating was a lot of support and love and a massive amount of hatred and transphobia,” he said, he didn’t expect the response to be quite so massive, to be the subject of scrutiny on rightwing podcasts but also have Hollywood directors reaching out to him for roles.
He announced his transition just as a massive anti-transgender campaign began in U.S. state legislatures. And he’s speaking out against what he called the “horrific” wave of legislation.
“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,” he said.