Last Friday, Elliot Page’s interview on “The Oprah Conversations” was released on AppleTV, the first sit down interview he’s given since coming out last December in 2020. In the interview he describes his discomfort in his life coming up to when he actually announced his transition, and how it affected him. While almost every point of the interview was mind-blowing when it came out, some points still have us reeling from this inside look of that of a trans person, not only in the limelight, but in this political climate.
1. Maintaining Your Mental Health as You Gain Success is Important
Elliot shared how his successful career hurt his mental health with Oprah. He describes his life onscreen affected him at a young age starring in roles such as “Hard Candy” and “X-men: The Last stand” before his breakout roll in the 2007 movie “Juno”, which is also the first time he and Oprah met each other. He described how being put in the dresses and heels "made him feel ill", or how he couldn't bring himself to even look at a photo of himself when he went to the Oscars for his nomination from "Juno".
“That was a pretty intense time, I remember it felt so impossible to communicate to people how unwell I was because obviously there is so much excitement.”
Elliot even cited one particular time when his publicist (who he assures couldn’t be more supportive) surprised him with three dresses for the premiere for his 2010 movie “Inception”, He remembers it being an almost “cinematic moment”, and that night after the premiere he collapsed because of the amount of pressure to perform femininity.
“Ultimately of course it’s every experience you’ve had since you were a toddler, saying the way you’re sitting that’s not lady like the way you’re walking, the music you listen to, obviously the way you dress, every single aspect of who we are, constantly being looked at and being put in a box, in a very binary system.”
2. Elliot's Decision to Transition Publicly was to Help Bring Awareness to the U.S Banning Trans Youth Healthcare
Elliot also chose to share his top surgery in Time Magazine, something few trans people do when announcing their own transition.
“I want people to know not only has it been life changing for me it’s, lifesaving, and that’s the case for so many people.” He stated, and then went on to talk about how the attack on trans people, trans youth in particular, is backed by “complete and utter lies.”
The attack he’s referring to is the onslaught of healthcare bans in over two dozen states that are aiming to ban access to gender-affirming healthcare to trans-children, deny them any sort of safe space inside or outside their home, as well as planning to ban (only) trans girls from playing school affiliated sports unless it’s on the side of their birth-assigned gender.
“And if you are going to do this, and if you are also not going to allow trans kids to play sports, children will die. And it really is that simple.”
3. American Politicians Should Educate Themselves
Page points out how lawmakers are exploiting the lack of knowledge of the trans experience in order to scare the aforementioned bills into laws.
"What you are hearing form certain lawmakers, are actual, complete and utter lies, in terms of what they're saying about the health care."
And despite the uptake in trans representation (Fx's Pose, Laverne Cox on Orange is The New Black and Alex Blue Davey on Grey's Anatomy), the weapon of misinformation is still as affective as it was in the 70's when, as Page pointed out, the same sort of threats were used against gay people.
"These kids are being used as political pawns to fight the equality act, which the republicans don't want passed. A lot of Americans don't realize there is no explicit federal protection against discrimination for LGBTQ people," he says.
The Equality Act amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to prohibit the discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity in a federal landscape.
In a closing statement, his main call to people who want to be trans allies was to "educate yourself, and support trans lives right now" and "advocate and continue to push to defeat this bill, reach out to your lawmakers, and keep up to date on what's happening."
Elliot's episode is now streaming on AppleTV, and a new episode of "The Oprah Conversations" drop every Friday.