The actor also said he hopes people who make nasty comments about his transition can “embrace” the fact that his life has been “dramatically” improved by it.
In December 2020, Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page came out as transgender.
In a statement that was posted on his Instagram page at the time, Elliot said he felt “lucky to be writing this. Be here. To have reached this place in my life.”
“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it is to finally love who I am enough to seek my authentic self,” he added.
The star went on to make history as the first trans man to appear on the cover of Time, where he said he “felt like a boy” since he was 9, explaining, “I wanted to be a boy. I would ask my mother if I could ever be.”
More recently, Elliot has opened up about the devastating impact being transgender had on him as he found fame, with the actor just 20 years old when he got his big break as the title character in the 2007 film. Juno.
In an essay for Esquire, which was published earlier this month, Elliot revealed that the expectations he faced around the film’s success nearly killed him after he was forced to wear a dress to every press event.
“When Juno it was at the height of its popularity, during awards season i was in the closet, dressed in heels and the whole look,” he wrote.
Reference Juno’s premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, Elliot added: “I said I wanted to wear a suit, and Fox Searchlight basically said, ‘No, you have to wear a dress.’
“They made me wear a dress, and… that was it. And then all the Juno press, all the photo shoots – Michael Cera was in pants and sneakers,” he continued. “It’s easy for people to roll their eyes, but you know what? Not. That was really extremely, extremely fucked up. Regardless of whether I’m trans!”
Elliot then wrote: “I understand that people don’t understand. ‘Oh, fuck you, you’re famous, and you’ve got money, and you had to wear a dress, boo-hoo.’ I don’t understand this reaction. But this is mixed with: I wish people would understand that this shit literally almost killed me.”
“I struggled with the food. Severe depression, anxiety, severe panic attacks. I couldn’t function,” Elliot explained. “In my mid-20s, I didn’t know how to tell people how sick I was. I would scold myself for that. I was living life and my dreams were coming true, and this was all happening.”
Since transitioning, Elliot has admitted to being happier than ever, and during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Tuesday, the star said she now feels joy and presence she never thought possible.
“I want to focus on – and it has been so extraordinary – the degree of joy that I feel and the degree of presence that I feel that I never thought possible for a long, long time. That’s what I’m focusing on and embracing,” Elliot told the host.
But he confessed that “the moments can be overwhelming” when asked about the backlash his own public transition might receive.
“I feel like it’s so unfortunate because we’re all on the same team here; whether you’re transgender, gender nonconformist, cis, we all have these expectations and these limits and restrictions because of people’s obsessions with binary and how we should all live our lives,” Elliot said. “So to me, it would be so special for all of us to be able to connect and talk about how similar we are on all of our journeys.”
Elliot added that he hoped people who made nasty comments about him would be able to “embrace” the fact that his life has dramatically improved with the transition.
“The times in my life when I was the most uncomfortable, the sickest, were the times when I was the most angry and the least kind to myself,” he shared. “It has improved my life drastically, and I hope people who have a problem with me can try to listen to that and embrace that on some level.”
And ultimately, the transition has made Elliot a better person, with the actor saying of his past, “A lot of times I was just trying to move on and [wasn’t] to be able to embrace the experience as much as I do now. I think it made me better in many ways; as a person, as a friend, in relationships.”
Elliot also praised The Umbrella Academy showrunner Steve Blackman for incorporating his transition into his character’s storyline for the Netflix series.
The show’s third season premiered on Wednesday and includes the moment where Elliot’s character becomes Viktor.
The scene was written by Thomas Page McBee, who is also transgender, and Elliot told Seth, “I’m proud of it and I’m excited for people to see it.”
McBee previously told Esquire that season three scripts were already locked when Elliot left, with production scheduled for just two weeks later. However, Blackman was “in love” with including Elliot’s real-life transition in the show.
“The job would be to graft a transitional story onto the intricate plot of a joint show,” the writer explained. “Elliot and I had a long conversation about when and how Viktor might have discovered his gender identity and in what ways he might embody that identity in season three.”
“Steve and I used Elliot’s ideas as a starting point to form and overlay an economic narrative on these existing scenes – one that echoed where Elliot was in his own transitional process at the time of filming,” McBee concluded.
And while it only came out for a few hours, Viktor’s transition has already won a lot of praise from fans of the show.
“The Umbrella Academy dealing with Elliot Page transition and having Viktor transition on the show is so powerful, it’s been done so beautifully so far, heart is full,” one person tweeted.
Another wrote: “@UmbrellaAcademy fantastic handling of Viktor leaving – it was absolutely heartwarming and so proud of @TheElliotPage – twice confirmed my favorite show.”