Elliot Page posts first shirtless photo on social media since The Umbrella Academy star came out as trans in December 2020. (Instagram/@elliotpage)
It’s one year since Elliot Page came out publicly as trans, instantly making him the most recognisable transmasculine person in the public eye.
His decision to come out on 1 December, 2020 was a watershed moment for transgender representation. After the pandemic gave him time to deeply reflect on his gender (relatable), he took to social media to share the news.
His moving Instagram post addressed the bittersweet joy of coming out amidst the storm of discrimination and violence that has encircled transgender people in recent years.
It’s clear that Page himself recognises his status as a prominent trans person, and he has used his platform to raise awareness of proposed anti-trans laws in Texas, Arkansas and Alabama. He also became the first-ever out trans man to grace the cover of Time magazine, echoing Laverne Cox’s 2015 cover.
The star’s activism comes at a time where transphobic rhetoric and discrimination have reached alarming levels globally. Anti-trans hate crimes rose by 16 per cent between 2019 and 2020, according to the UK Home Office. A recent report from research project Transrespect versus Transphobia revealed that a shocking 375 trans and gender-diverse people were murdered globally in 2021, 96 per cent of whom were transfeminine.
Seeing Elliot Page radiate joy has been ‘enormously validating’ for trans people everywhere
Throughout this period, when the situation has often seemed dire for many transgender people, voices like Page’s have been an antidote, combatting the overwhelming negativity with images of pure trans joy.
It’s impossible to underestimate the impact Elliot Page’s coming out has had on the trans community worldwide, many of whom grew up obsessively rewatching his films.
Six years ago, when I began my transition, I often scoured the internet for ‘famous trans men’ hoping to find others like myself out there. However, trans representation was thin on the ground, and virtually non-existent for transgender men. Though Caitlyn Jenner had appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair in 2015, and Laverne Cox was starring in Orange is the New Black, there was an absence of trans men in the media. The biggest name for trans mascs at the time was Chaz Bono, who is, well, best known for being Cher’s son.
Seeing Page post shirtless photos with his top surgery scars visible, an act that highlights his transness rather than hiding it, is hugely empowering.
When Page talked about his top surgery to Oprah in April, he said: “I do believe it was life-saving, and it’s the case for so many people.” Watching the interview, you can practically hear transmasculine people everywhere whisper “same”. As a community, it feels enormously validating to watch someone famous experience and discuss the same issues and meet the same obstacles as you have.
While representation isn’t the end of the road for trans liberation, it’s a key step along the way. Seeing Page post shirtless photos with his top surgery scars visible, an act that highlights his transness rather than hiding it, is hugely empowering. It’s small acts like these that contribute to the understanding and acceptance of transgender people. While trans activists have paved the way for political progress for decades, now is Elliot Page’s time to take the spotlight.
It has been a landmark year for Page – not only has he become a tireless activist, he has also become a style icon. His most memorable look from the last year remains his Met Gala tuxedo.
Page put his own spin on the menswear staple by pinning a green carnation to the lapel of his jacket. The floral addition was a nod to gay playwright Oscar Wilde, who asked his supporters to wear the flower at the opening of his play Lady Windemere’s Fan. Following this, the green carnation became a symbol of queerness among men.
Whether it’s his tireless activism, his signature oversized fashion or just sharing thirst traps by the pool, this year has been a memorable one for Elliot Page and I, among many others, can’t wait to see what’s next for him.