Since coming out as trans late last year, Elliot Page has let the world in on his life in a big way. Overnight, he became one of the most visible people in the trans community and chose to use that platform not only to speak out about the "misinformation and lies" embedded in anti-trans legislation making its way through US Congress but also to express the joy and creativity he has found in his life.
"What has happened the most since coming out to people close to me is this massive explosion of creativity," he told Vanity Fair in a recent interview, adding that he'd been collaborating with friends on screenplays and music. "I think of all the energy and time that was going towards feeling uncomfortable, constantly checking my body, just feeling unwell. And I've got a new ability to explore creatively and write, and just how much I'm reading — that's been really amazing."
Page spoke with Thomas Page McBee, a trans journalist, and the two discussed their experiences as trans children. "When I was a little kid, absolutely, 100 percent, I was a boy," said Page, adding that he used to write "fake love letters" and sign them as "Jason."
"I knew I was a boy when I was a toddler." When he was told differently by others, Page says it never made sense with who he knew himself to be. "Now I'm finally getting myself back to feeling like who I am, and it's so beautiful and extraordinary, and there's a grief to it in a way."
McBee also went on to describe finding inspiration in trans youth today: "Younger people are just so much more imaginative about what gender can even mean." Page responded, on the topic of connecting with trans people like McBee, saying that "you're basically seeing your identity challenged constantly. It's so much toxic dialogue and rhetoric, and complete denial of trans and gender-nonconforming people's existence."
When asked how he's balancing his newfound joy with the current increase in transphobic politics, Page said that his experience as a public figure has been focused on joy. "I think it's about: How can I feel grateful for my joy, and embrace my joy, and allow myself to have that joy — but then put that joy and that love into action? How do I figure out a way to integrate those two feelings, in terms of being a public person?"
Since coming out, Page has publicly spoken out against anti-trans legislation addressing the real cost of putting a person's rights and agency into a political debate as well as the lies and misinformation embedded in the bills popping up in more and more states across the country. "Please don't rely on news articles that frame this as a 'trans debate' or don't even include perspectives of trans people," Page urged readers of the interview.
As Page reconnects with the way he saw himself as a child, he had one message for his past self: "I would tell them that they were 100% real. I would tell myself I was exactly who I saw myself as, and felt myself as, and knew myself as."