Actor Elliot Page is revealing how happier he feels after having top surgery and how important he believes it is to support health care for transgender people.
“I want people to know that not only has it been life changing for me, I do believe it is life-saving and it’s the case for so many people,” the actor tells Oprah Winfrey on her new show for Apple TV+.
During the interview, Page teared up when Winfrey asked him what has brought him the most joy.
The Oscar-nominated star of Juno, Inception and The Umbrella Academy said it was the little things — like wearing a T-shirt, having a towel around his waist after a shower or touching his chest — that made him “feel comfortable in my body for probably the first time.”
The full interview from The Oprah Conversation was released Friday.
Page urged officials to support health care for transgender people and allow them access to sports. Some lawmakers are seeking to ban transgender youth from playing sports that match their gender identity. “Children will die,” Page said. “And it really is that simple.”
He said the surgery has given him newfound energy “because it it such a freeing, freeing experience,” adding: “This is incredibly new. I feel like I haven’t gotten to be myself since I was 10 years old.”
Page came out as transgender in December, an announcement that was widely greeted as a watershed moment for the trans community in Hollywood. He told Winfrey the decision was “imperative” in light of the violence against transgender youth.
“It felt important and selfish for myself and my own well-being and my mental health,” he said. “And also with this platform I have, the privilege that I have, and knowing the pain and the difficulties and the struggles I’ve faced in my life, let alone what so many other people are facing, it absolutely felt crucial and important for me to share that.”
Time spent in Nova Scotia allowed me to look inward
Page says time spent alone in Nova Scotia during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic allowed him to connect with his body and open the door to recognizing he was a transgender man.
The Halifax-born actor told Winfrey that being forced to step away from the entertainment industry during a widespread shutdown allowed him to “fully listen” to himself.
“It was probably the first time in my life where I really felt comfortable and OK alone,” said the 34-year-old actor.
“It used to be incredibly difficult for me to even just sit with myself.... I think I realized getting into that space and surrounded by nature more it was almost like steps into relaxation.”
Throughout the nearly 50-minute interview, Page reflected on growing up with “a very binary system” of gender standards that only intensified with the stardom of Hollywood. He said he felt “profound discomfort and disconnection with my body” around the time of puberty and that worsened as Page was tossed into the Oscar campaign for Juno.
“I remember it felt so impossible to communicate with people how unwell I was because obviously there is so much excitement,” he said.
“The film unexpectedly became a big hit, I became quite known... all these things and I felt I couldn’t express the degree of pain that I was in.”
Page said he feels a responsibility to use his platform to speak out against “devastating” rhetoric coming from anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ activists.
In the United States, bills targeting the rights of transgender youth are being introduced in parts of the country, spanning issues including medical care and school sports.
Asked what he’d like to tell young trans people as they face an onslaught of anti-trans rhetoric, Page said he wanted to tell them, “I see them. That they exist. That they are real.”
“I just want kids to know that they’re loved,” he said.
“And I’m going to continue to do what I can to try and help this society shift how it treats transgender people.”
With a file from David Friend at The Canadian Press.
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