"We know who we are. People cling to these firm ideas [about gender] because it makes people feel safe. But if we could just celebrate all the wonderful complexities of people, the world would be such a better place."
Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page has become the first-ever trans man to appear on the cover of Time Magazine. In his first interview since coming out as transgender in December, the Canadian star opened up to reporter Katy Steinmetz about the "deep gratitude" he felt "to have made it to this point in [his] life." Page — who made a name for himself in movies like Inception and Juno — is set to feature on the front cover of Time under the headline "I'm fully who I am" when the magazine's latest edition goes on sale on Friday.
Speaking of his coming out to the world through social media posts announcing his pronouns as "he" and "they," the 34-year-old revealed that he'd expected the news to be met with both applause and vitriol. "What I was anticipating was a lot of support and love and a massive amount of hatred and transphobia," said Page. "That's essentially what happened." He said in the interview that although he felt like and wanted to identify as a boy since he was a child, his career as a professional actor — which began at the age of 10 — required him "to look a certain way."
Despite the criticism he's faced, Page explained that he feels a deep sense of responsibility to share his truth. "Extremely influential people are spreading these myths and damaging rhetoric—every day you're seeing our existence debated," he said. "Transgender people are so very real." Page, who previously came out as gay in 2014, said that it was the isolation forced by the pandemic that finally brought his wrestling with gender to a head. "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 explained.
Page credited trailblazing trans icons like Janet Mock and Laverne Cox and trans authors of the likes of P. Carl for inspiring him to accept himself. "I was finally able to embrace being transgender," he said, "and letting myself fully become who I am." The star also spoke about undergoing top surgery, which he described as something that "has made it possible to finally recognize himself when he looks in the mirror" and "completely transformed [his] life." Although he has been mostly quiet on social media since coming out, Page has used his visibility to raise awareness about crimes and legislative actions that are hurting the LGBTQ community.
"My privilege has allowed me to have resources to get through and to be where I am today," he said, "and of course I want to use that privilege and platform to help in the ways I can." Even when sharing his interview with Time on social media, Page used the opportunity to raise awareness about the discrimination transgender individuals face. "With deep respect for those who came before me, gratitude for those who have supported me & great concern for the generation of trans youth we must all protect, please join me and decry anti-trans legislation, hate & discrimination in all its forms," he wrote.
elliot page looks so fucking handsome. that’s the tweet. pic.twitter.com/pCxUuSm73R— taylor ♡ (@fivescoffeez) March 16, 2021
Addressing the political attacks on trans people — which carry the subtext that trans people are mistaken about who they are — Page said: "We know who we are. People cling to these firm ideas [about gender] because it makes people feel safe. But if we could just celebrate all the wonderful complexities of people, the world would be such a better place." According to CNN, the iconic Time Magazine cover was shot by trans photographer Wynne Neill. Posting the cover image to Instagram on Tuesday, Neill wrote: "I don’t even have the words at this moment to describe my immense gratitude for this experience. This is my dream assignment. I have been wanting this and working towards this for so many years. I'm so proud of Elliot and I am so grateful to the trans elders who risked everything to make this moment happen. I am just grateful, honored, and proud to be trans in this moment of time. Thank you, Elliot."