During an interview for ABC's 'The Freedom to Exist - A Soul of a Nation Presentation,' Page said that it's appalling 'to debate our existence continuously over and over again.'
"It's not a debate. We're real. To debate our existence continuously over and over again, I think it's appalling...There's no debate to trans people's existence - full stop," said the 36-year-old actor Elliot Page in an exclusive network interview for ABC's Pride Month special, "The Freedom to Exist - A Soul of a Nation Presentation," aired on June 6. The "Umbrella Academy" star— who came out as trans in December 2020—also shared how coming out made him feel "truly alive for the first time."
"I was able to finally make the steps and the decision to be myself and to do what I wanted to do, and knew what I needed to do to live fully. I'm feeling that joy every day. I really am. What it has allowed me is what feels like truly being alive for the first time," he said.
Transitioning from Vanya to Viktor on the show, Page said the "energy" and "anguish" he once felt has now "lifted off" him. "Visibility is obviously so important and does allow for change, and also it leads to a backlash that we're seeing," he said, adding that despite being on the cover of magazines and walking red carpets, the reality is that trans "people are suffering greatly."
In an excerpt from his new book, "Pageboy: A Memoir," Page recalled his rise to fame with the 2007 film "Juno" as "quite the time." He had planned to wear jeans and a shirt to the premiere but instead had to wear a dress and heels. Page described that period in his life as "tricky" because he "felt like complaining at all or feeling bad at all," which would be interpreted as him being "so profoundly ungrateful," as many saw it as the time when his dreams were coming true. "It's not like someone was forcing clothing on my physical body, but that is what it felt like to dress a certain way and be a certain way," he explained.
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His memoir's cover features a portrait of Page wearing a white tank top and jeans. Page shared the book's cover on Instagram along with a caption detailing his writing process. "Trans people are facing increasing attacks, from physical violence to the banning of healthcare, and our humanity is regularly 'debated' in the media," Page wrote. "The act of writing, reading, and sharing the multitude of our experiences is an important step in standing up to those who wish to silence and harm us. Books have helped me, saved me even, so I hope this can help someone feel less alone."
Page wrote in his book that he was "incapable of articulating the depth of pain" he was experiencing. "I think with gender dysphoria, it's being assigned a gender at birth based on your genitalia and that not being the reality of who you are," he said.
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He continued, "The sort of incongruence and disconnect with that just continue to chip away at you, and chip away at you, and chip away at you. It especially became complicated as an actor because people would just go, 'You're an actor, just put on the f------ clothes.' But needless to say, it was so much more than that. I wasn't growing up in a progressive atmosphere by any means," he recalled.
Page wrote that when he cut his hair short at the age of 10, people began addressing him as a boy, saying "thanks, bud" when he held the door for them at the local mall. He also recalled wearing a friend's Speedo after forgetting his bathing suit, which he described as "such a thrill." "It was the first time I really could see myself... and felt it energetically," he said.
The time when his body began changing and clothes sat on him differently that "was the beginning of really sort of disconnecting from myself and feeling a degree of discomfort that was very erosive and damaging," Page said. He shared that at this point in his life, he had probably never heard the term "transgender" unless it was in health class, where he claimed it was received with laughter.
"The experiences I had in regards to bullying, it certainly only encourages the shame that literally makes you sick," he said. "The discomfort I felt really took so much of my life away from me." As for when he allowed himself to truly transition, especially on screen, Page said, "I think many people obviously relate to that experience of what it means to not see yourself, think you never will, and then there you are, you just start to emerge. It's so thrilling. It's really thrilling."