Wearing women’s clothes was always a struggle for Elliot Page.
In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Canadian actor got candid about his experiences dressing up for fancy occasions prior to coming out as trans.
Recalling the period before the premiere of his movie “Inception” in Paris in 2009, Page said he was “wearing a dress and heels to pretty much every single event,” and that his manager offered him a choice of three dresses to wear and he “lost it, it was like a cinematic moment.”
“That night, after the premiere at the afterparty, I collapsed. That was something that’s happened frequently in my life, usually corresponding with a panic attack. I’m sure the two correlate, and the whole period correlates.”
That incident was just one of many that built up over time for the actor.
“Ultimately, it’s every experience you’ve had since you were a toddler, people saying, ‘The way you’re sitting, that’s not ladylike, the way you’re walking, you’re walking like a boy, the music you’re listening to as a teenager, the way you dress…,’ every aspect of who you are being looked at and put in a box in a very binary system,” he explained. “That’s what it leads to.”
Page’s experience on the Oscar publicity circuit for the film “Juno” was also difficult.
‘It wasn’t good. That was a pretty intense time,” he said. “I remember it felt so impossible to communicate with people how unwell I was, because obviously there is so much excitement. The film unexpectedly became a big hit, I became quite known, your financial situation… all these things and I felt I couldn’t express the degree of pain I was in.”
“The Oscars, for example, I could not look at a photo from that red carpet. People might watch this and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, this person is crying about the night they went to the Oscars.’ I think that again prevents the ability to allow yourself to not just feel the pain, to reflect on the pain, to even begin to sit down and start to bring it all up and finally confront all of that.”
Winfrey asked whether Page knew even at the time that he was trans, to which he responded: “For so long I didn’t have that much language or information… I think there was periods in my life when it would come up. I remember when I was reading Redefining Realness [by Janet Mock], I remember having a moment where I was like ‘I’m trans.’ And it was as if I took the thought and shoved it away. I clearly just wasn’t ready.”