Is there anything better than sharing joy? Elliot Page let the public know he was transgender in December 2020. Since then, the 34-year-old actor has been put in a spokesperson position for the trans community. While he has been very open about serious issues both personal and political when it comes to his experience as a trans man, he has also been all about sharing his joy.
In the Apple TV+ interview he did with Oprah, she asked him what the most joyful part of this experience has been. Elliot Page described looking down at his chest, after having reconstruction surgery, and feeling like what he saw matched who he saw himself as. With tears in his eyes, he says, “I feel comfortable in my body for the first time.” He then added they were tears of joy. Now, he’s sharing more of that joy with us in his first public topless photo. You can see the Instagram post below.
The hashtags Elliot Page chose here pack an extra bit of punch with that giant smile on his face in the photo. The caption says these are his first swim trunks and “#TransJoy” and “#TransIsBeautiful”. Is there anything more powerful than sharing the big happy smile that comes with these life-changing moments? Page has previously called his transition surgery “life-saving“.
This makes more sense if you’ve read some of the struggles he’s shared in recent interviews. For example, he shared with Entertainment Weekly that he went to an after-party to celebrate his role in the Christopher Nolan film Inception. Going to a big Hollywood party comes with a lot of pressures, particularly in how you look, dress, and speak. Many of these pressures are gender based. You need to act a certain way as a man, wear certain clothes. Women typically wear form-fitting and feminine styles. Elliot Page felt all those gender-based pressures weight heavily on him at this moment that should have been a celebration. Instead of being able to feel the joy of his accomplishments, he collapsed from the stress.
When there is such a large distance between who you are and who you’re expected to be, the psychological impact can be unbearable. While it is not true that all trans people suffer from gender dysphoria, for Elliot Page, this was a heavy weight to carry. And now, he’s free to feel the joy of a quiet moment by the pool.
Talking about the trans experience isn’t easy. It shouldn’t be a requirement that to live your life publicly, you now have to become a public spokesperson for the entire trans community and experience. Elliot Page has been handling that though, with interviews for Time and Oprah, as well as social media posts.
When Oprah interviewed him, the seasoned interviewer was actually nervous. She has interviewed Prince Harry and Megan Markle recently on her show for Apple TV+, but the Elliot Page interview gave her pause. She is cisgender. She has said that she wanted to make sure she got the interview right. Oprah actually needed to educate herself before she could do the interview, and part of that process was watching Laverne Cox’s documentary. If celebrities weren’t being so open about their experiences, the world at large would clearly be a lot less informed than it is on these issues. Here’s hoping that Elliot Page continues to find these moments of joy in his transition.