The pandemic was the tipping point for Elliot Page.
The weeks and months in isolation ended up a cathartic experience and the jumping board for a powerful, long-abandoned truth – one that carried enormous burden that would affect his mind, body, and soul.
Anyone who is in the “movie know” will recognize Page from his work in Juno, Inception, X-men, Umbrella Academy and many other impressive movie and television titles.
However, these were all under a now-understood false identity – one which the actor had struggled with since he was a child.
Page confessed in an interview in Time magazine, that there was no concrete moment of realization.
There was only the “acute felling of triumph” around age 9 when he was finally allowed to cut his hair short. It was one step closer to a deep truth that wouldn’t materialize until 2020.
“I felt like a boy,” Page says. “I wanted to be a boy. I would ask my mom if I could be someday.”
But the Halifax-born Canadian would find this burst of freedom short-lived. Only months later, his first big break arrived – one that would come at a cost.
The TV movie Pit Pony was the first steppingstone to an impressive acting career.
But for this to happen, he had to play a girl and grow his hair out again. A year later, he had become a professional actor. Fast forward to X-men: The Last Stand. Things had turned dark.
The difficult compromise of his childhood had morphed into anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.
Even putting on a women’s cut t-shirt felt like an impossible weight. Everything in life was a movie costume. There were some that said he should have just been grateful to have “made it” in a difficult profession.
But that was the problem.
Where was the energy for life and a job when every ounce of willpower went into keeping up a feminine energy or appearance? Page had to find ways to break free. And one place it came out was on the red carpet.
The actor started wearing suits to award ceremonies.
He had already been dating women, but officially tied the knot with Emma Porter in 2018. He also took more control of his career producing his own films with LGBTQ leads like Freeheld and My Days of Mercy. But it wasn’t enough.
While isolation during the pandemic broke so many people down, it broke Page down in a different way.
The painted layers started to peel away. The moments alone allowed him to embrace a truth he had let go since childhood. However, there was also crippling fear.
In a poignant Twitter letter, Page finally came out as transgender – using he/they pronouns.
“My joy is real, but it is also fragile,” he said. And while there was vast support across the community, everyone wondered one thing. How would it affect his acting career?
There was so much talent yet to be explored and brought to screen.
The answer was like a breath of fresh air. The offers came flooding in, more than when he had presented as a woman. This included directing and producing that were trans-related, as well as some male roles. But that’s not all.
Fans of the Umbrella Academy know Page is returning as Vanya Hargreeves, however they had no idea how much the role really spoke to him and his life-long struggle with gender.
“I related to how much Vanya was closed off.”
“People cling to these firm ideas [about gender] because it makes people feel safe,” Elliot said.
“But if we could just celebrate all the wonderful complexities of people, the world would be such a better place.” Another milestone was a new tattoo.
Page has a tattoo that says E.P. PHONE HOME, a reference to the sci-fi movie anyone from the 80s will know very well with sky-bike rides and Reese’s Pieces.
“I loved E.T. when I was a kid and always wanted to look like the boys in the movies, right?”
Page says coming out as trans was “selfish” on one level: “It’s for me. I want to live and be who I am.”
However, being a white male with the power of Hollywood behind him also has given him great power to advocate to those without a voice.