Photo by Wynne Neilly
While a number of out transmasculine people have helped pave a path politically (from Lou Sullivan to Jamison Green) and on the TV screen (from Scott Turner Schofield to Chaz Bono), it’s not hyperbole to say that no actor has done as much for visibility as Elliot Page — simply by coming out publicly.
The Nova Scotia-born actor, now 34, practically came of age in front of our eyes, beginning in the TV show Pit Pony in 1997, through a recurring role in Trailer Park Boys, and later in the hotly debated feminist thriller Hard Candy in 2005 and in Juno two years later. After that came a bevy of award nominations and film roles, including (among others) Whip It, Inception, two X-Men films, and the riveting lesbian drama Freeheld (which Page also produced).
Page cohosted Viceland’s LGBTQ+ series Gaycation for two seasons, and two years later, in 2019, he began the role he still inhabits on Netflix, as Vanya Hargreeves in The Umbrella Academy. That he was allowed to keep that role when he came out as trans last December is testament to his prominence. But he’s not resting on his acting laurels.
Page showed himself this year not just as a trans person but a thoughtful listener (watch his directorial debut, Netflix’s There’s Something in the Water, about the impact of environmental racism on BIPOC communities), a creative leader (forming his own production company), and someone who, to paraphrase Edith Piaf, is at the top but willing to send the elevator back down. Case in point: When he landed in Time, becoming the magazine’s first transmasculine cover star, Page insisted Time use another trans Canadian to shoot it. Page was drawn to the work of photographer Wynne Neilly, who has been shooting queer and trans people for a decade, as a way to explore his own gender and sexuality.
Page later arrived at the Met Gala paying homage to Oscar Wilde, who was jailed for having a relationship with a man, with a green carnation on his lapel — a queer symbol that originated with the late playwright. (Fashion-wise, he was also smashing during Paris Fashion Week, a big step up for an actor who once hated the red carpet.)
But none of this has detracted from Page’s career. His newly launched production company Page Boy Productions, signed a first-look TV deal with a division of Universal Studio Group in order to develop both scripted and documentary TV shows. (The actor-director also hired Matt Jordan Smith, who worked in development on current queer faves Search Party and Final Space, to lead development and programming at Page Boy.)
Page says that representing diversity and inclusion is especially critical. “It’s always been important to me,” he says, “but right now Hollywood is reckoning with how its lack of diversity and misrepresentations of marginalized groups negatively impacts those people’s lived experiences.” He says that “moving into this next phase of my career, I want to contribute to a shift in culture by uplifting diverse voices and stories of all experiences.”
And while some Hollywood execs will wait to see the profits in that move, Page says America is ready. “I think audiences are more than receptive,” he says. “I think we’re starving for those kinds of stories. We want and deserve to see ourselves on-screen.”
With Page in the spotlight this year, transmasculine folks in particular were able to do just that.
Elliot Page is a featured honoree in Out's 2021 Out100 issue, which is on newsstands November 30. Since this is also Out's 300th issue, we are running a $3 promotion for a one-year subscription. Subscribe now (the promotion ends on December 1). Otherwise, support queer media and subscribe outside of the promotion — or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.