Hollywood Adds More Diversity To American Television: Actor Elliot Page Comes Out as Transgender

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Photo/Instagram of Elliot Page

Elliot Page”s first picture posted to his Instagram after coming out as transgender.

Joella Alvarez, Staff Writer

Representation on-screen for LGBTQ+ groups in Hollywood has progressed (albeit slowly) over the years, but diversity is still low. In other words, true representation in American television and movies suck. Casting never fails to advocate for cisgender, heterosexual, and, typically, white leading actors. However, having one celebrity come out with their story, even if it makes the slightest difference in someone’s life and the way Americans perceive and understand LGBTQ+ groups, still has value. 

Actor Elliot Page, known for his roles in the X-Men movies, The Umbrella Academy, and Juno, came out as transgender in a letter posted to his Instagram. 

“Hi friends. I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they, and my name is Elliot,” Page announced to his followers. 

He then followed this letter with expressions of gratitude and love he feels in being able to share this news with his fans. He acknowledged the discrimination transgender people, especially trans people of color, face in the world. In the same post, Page added that he is scared of the hate, “jokes,” and violence he might experience after coming out and communicated that he wants patience and privacy. 

Within minutes of the post, Page was flooded with love and support from fans and celebrities alike on all social media platforms. First in line was Page’s wife, Emma Portner, who shared those same words of love and gratitude in a repost caption to her own Instagram. She was followed by celebrities like Anna Kendrick, James Charles, Oliva Munn, Mark Ruffalo, and many more who commented and tweeted to Page to share their own words of encouragement and love. In respect to the actor, IMDB and Wikipedia corrected the gender and birth name of Page on their app and site. This includes Netflix, as they have corrected his name in the credits and cast list of “The Umbrella Academy.” Netflix also announced they are keeping Page on to play the role of Vanya Hargreevs in the series and the gender of the character would not change. 

Whereas most of the reactions to the news of Elliot Page’s transition from fans were very positive and supportive, there was some negative backlash. The news that Elliot Page was going to continue to play the female character of Vanya Hargreeves in the Netflix series, “The Umbrella Academy,” was upsetting to some fans of the series due to the difference in gender. Some commentators of the announcement took to social media to say the role should be re-casted due to the gender difference. However, others push back against this statement saying that this is the same as a heterosexual actor playing a gay man in another TV show or movie. However, Netflix understood the type of message firing a trans person for coming out from one of their shows could send, and Page has every right to continue to play the character he was originally cast as. 

It is no secret that Hollywood has inclusion issues extending towards race and LGBTQ+ groups. The little representation LGBTQ+ people get is typically in the form of comic relief or stereotypes, both of which are far from reality. Although Hollywood has made some strides in accepting members of the LGBTQ+ community in more prominent roles, transphobia and homophobia are still rampant within the industry. Some celebrities defy this stigma in many ways, whether it is through being brave enough to share their stories to the world or going against the stereotypes of certain gender identities and sexualities, Elliot Page is a prime example of this. It is important to give transgender people the same voice, platform, and respect that their cis-gendered counterparts receive every day. 

This isn’t to say that Page’s story suddenly means all transgender youth are going to feel comfortable coming out. However, this is a step forward in the right direction for the LGBTQ+ community as it pertains to representation. Coming out stories like Page’s can help young kids, teens, and even adults to understand it is okay to be themselves. Page’s story could be one to help someone else with their identity and bring more diversity to show to the world of Hollywood.

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