After coming out as gay in 2014, The Umbrella Academy’s Elliot Page reintroduces himself as a transgender male. He first came out as trans in an Instagram post on the first of December last year. The picture was an inspirational letter sharing his journey, thoughts, and the battles trans people—especially trans youth—have to face.
On April 30th in an interview with Oprah on The Oprah Conversation, Page shares why it was so important for him to come out as a transgender male knowing the backlash he would face.
“It felt important and selfish for myself, my own well-being, and my mental health and also with this platform I have, the privilege that I have, and knowing the pain and the difficulties in the struggles I faced in my life let alone what so many other people are facing, it absolutely felt just crucial and important for me to to share that,” he said in the interview.
Elliot Page continues to explain that a lot of people within the community don’t have access to healthcare, and continue to struggle as states are trying to ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth. He feels it’s more important for him to share his experience rather than being scared to do so for this reason.
Naz Seenauth, a former student of Edison, shared his experiences of being a transgender male and how he can relate to Page.
“I was transgender as a child, but I didn’t have the words for it. I remember wanting to have masculine features when I grew up and was distressed when that didn’t happen through puberty,” Seenauth said. “I struggled a lot with depression and anxiety as well. I was also scared when I came out. I knew that coming out, I would face struggles but I don’t think I would be here if I didn’t. And through coming out and transitioning, I feel like my truest self.”
Both Page and Seenauth agree that it’s important for there to be positive representation of transgender folks in the media and entertainment industry.
“I do want to emphasize positive representation because, in the past and present, folks in the media that are portrayed as trans often are villainized, killed off, have great hardship, or their medical and social transition is the focus,” Seenauth said. He went on to recommend watching Disclosure, a show on Netflix that showcases how Hollywood depicts the trans community.
Similarly, Elliot Page encouraged Oprah to watch Disclosure as well. Oprah stated that she, “could see how the depictions of the trans community in movies and television have really dominated how our culture views the transgender population,” during her interview with Page.
Page came out as gay during a speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s “Time to Thrive” conference in Las Vegas. Seven years later, he’s the first trans man to appear on the cover of Time magazine and has been advocating for trans youth.
“When Page came out again, I understood it,” Seenauth stated. “I, myself, first came out as a lesbian before coming out as a transmasculine person. It takes a lot to live your truth in a world that is inherently homophobic and transphobic.” He adds that our understanding of ourselves evolves throughout our lives and that people are allowed to come into themselves when they are ready.
After coming out as transgender, fans are left wondering if Page’s role as Vanya Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy will have to be re-introduced as a male character.
“If Page feels great dysphoria as ‘Vanya,’ I would say to re-introduce the character. I think it would be cool to see more trans actors play trans roles,” Seenauth said. “Often, we see cisgender folks play trans characters when there are many aspiring trans actors. Additionally, in the media, there aren’t many television shows that feature trans men or transmasculine folks.”
Page will continue his acting role as the cis-gender woman and star of the film, Vanya Hargreeves, an insider reported to Variety. Currently, Netflix is working on updating Page’s name in all the credits for movies/TV shows he has starred in.