On the Coming Out of Elliot Page


Richard Shotwell

Elliot Page, 2017

Sophia Prichard, Editor

Elliot Page, known for his work in the hit Netflix series, “Umbrella Academy” and Oscar nominated performance in, “Juno”, came out as transgender on December 1st, with an essay posted to his Instagram and Twitter. The name Elliot Page went trending on Twitter, causing outrage and support throughout the platform. Arguments broke out between different groups, comic book fans, the LGBTQ+ community, and supportive cisgender and straight fans of Elliot.  

One of the main issues with this situation lies in the comic book community, which have had incidents like this happen before, with the outrage against Brie Larson playing Captain Marvel, the Xbox Pride Month post, and many other events of this nature. It isn’t all comic book fans, but there has become an increasingly large portion of the community against minority representation in a genre that is dominated by straight, cisgender, white men. While there is nothing wrong with straight, cisgender, white men, the attempt to silence minority representation actually diminishes accuracy in media.

The main issue within the comic book community over the Elliot Page situation, is the amount of deadnaming and misgendering after Elliot’s coming out post. Deadnaming is the use of a trans person’s name before coming out, it can be traumatic to hear that name after coming out, and it is disrespectful to the trans person’s identity. Misgendering is using the wrong pronouns or the wrong identity for a trans person. Both of these acts can not only be disrespectful, but also traumatic for a trans person.

Being transgender is caused by a disconnect from your original, or assigned at birth, gender. At the end of the day, the person feels better and identifies with a gender they weren’t assigned at birth, and would be happier and more comfortable in a different gender. Transgender can defy the binary, there are identities like nonbinary or genderfluid, that are not either gender, or are connected to being feminine or masculine over being a man or a woman. 

After Elliot’s coming out, there were a couple posts that read “We’ve lost a lesbian” mostly written by radical feminist lesbians, and a Twitter user named Gari, who uses he/they pronouns said, “I really dislike this take, it reduces Elliot down to his identity. These kinds of posts minimize Elliot’s experience as a trans person, and as a trans person, it makes me really uncomfortable. Think about it. Do you know any trans masculine actors off the top of your head? Not really. But I’m sure you know a lesbian actor. And that’s why trans masculine people are so happy about this. We didn’t lose a lesbian, we gained a trans masculine person.” When asked what Gari thought about the deadnaming situation, he said, “If someone comes out to you, it’s just decent behavior to respect them enough to call them by their preferred pronouns and name. I mean, we have cis people tell us ‘Hey, My name’s Alexandra but I prefer Alex’ so why should it be any different for trans people? Just call us by what makes us comfortable.”