‘I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.’
The Umbrella Academy star Elliot Page now lives his truth as a transgender. The actor who became an Academy nominee for his performance in 2007 movie Juno shares his story on Twitter.
“Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they, and my name is Elliot,” the 33-year-old actor wrote. “I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.”
Fellow celebrities and netizens sent their warmest welcome to Elliot’s arrival, leading them is his wife, 26-year-old dancer Emma Portner.
“I am so proud of @elliotpage. Trans, queer, non-binary people are a gift to this world,” she posted on Instagram. “I also ask for patience and privacy but that you join me in the fervent support of trans life every single day. Elliot’s existence is a gift in and of itself. Shine in sweet E. Love you so much.”
Since February 2019, the actor has been open about the pressure to hide his sexuality while working in Hollywood.
He told in a 2014 interview with the PorterEdit that he “was distinctly told, by people in the industry, when I started to become known: ‘People cannot know you’re gay.'”
Seen through the right light
Many artists belonging to the trans community have been breaking boundaries and rewriting their stories that have been wrongfully depicted on screen.
“The vast majority of Americans still believe they’ve never met someone in their family, workplace, or school, who is transgender,” said Nick Adama, director of transgender media at GLAAD. “When someone like Elliot Page tells the world that he is in fact transgender, and actor that people have respected and admired and love for years, it allows them to feel as if they now know a trans person. It’s really important.”
In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, the first ever Filipino trans woman to be nominated for an Emmy award Rain Valdez tells that there is more to trans lives than what people knew.
“Our stories aren’t niche. They’re actually more universal than some think. What most people don’t understand is how powerful film and TV are. Those mediums have the ability to shape cultural norms and societal behaviors,” she said. “Trans people have been vilified and ostracized out of society because of how we have been portrayed in film and on television. When more people realize that the responsibility has been ours from the beginning, we can gain the power to change.”
Filipino on trans community
Prior to Elliot’s coming one that is also celebrated by Filipino fans, Filipino singer Jake Zyrus came out of the closet years before. But unlike the Hollywood celeb’s case, Jake’s arrival gained numerous memes and was treated as the butt of jokes—the notion trans community has been fighting for years.
Today, together with Rain Valdez and another award-winning trans actress filmmaker, Lingua Franca‘s Isabel Sandoval, Jake Zyrus is also reclaiming his story through the reels with his documentary Jake and Charice, which was recognized by the International Emmy Awards.
Jokes on who now?
On his coming out statement, Elliot also brought to the light some issues the trans community is still facing.
“I also ask for patience. My joy is real, but it is also fragile. The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared,” he wrote. “I’m scared of invasiveness, the hate, the ‘jokes,’ and of violence.”
The actor continued, “To be clear, I am not trying to dampen a moment that is joyous and one that I celebrate, but I want to address the full picture. The statistics are staggering. The discrimination towards trans people is rife, insidious, and cruel, resulting in horrific consequences.”
“In 2020 alone it has been reported that at least 40 transgender people have been murdered, the majority of which were Black and Latinx trans women,” Elliot wrote. “To the political leaders who work to criminalize trans health care and deny our right to exist and to all of those with a massive platform who continue to spew hostility towards the trans community: you have blood on your hands. You unleash a fury vile and demeaning rage that lands on the shoulders of the trans community, a community in which 40 percent of trans adults report attempting suicide. Enough is enough. You aren’t being ‘cancelled,’ you are hurting people. I am one of those people and we won’t be silent in the face of your attacks.”
Elliot leaves this inspiring message for his brothers and sisters in the community:
“To all trans people who deal with harassment, self-loathing, abuse, and the threat of violence every day: I see you, I love you, and I will do everything I can to change this world for the better. Thank you for reading this. All my love, Elliot.”
Read Elliot’s full statement here: