Elliot Page is gearing up for the release of his powerful memoir, fittingly titled Pageboy. Ahead of his literary debut next week, the Umbrella Academy star shared the book’s first chapter as well as his thoughts on life and love in a Pride Month cover story for People.
The Page we know today is a beacon of trans joy, but “there’s obviously been very difficult moments” too, the Oscar-nominated actor revealed. “I do feel like I kind of barely made it in many ways,” he continued. “But today, I’m just me and grateful to be here and alive and taking one step at a time.”
Page made queer history when he came out as trans in December 2020—a real-life plot point that was later mirrored on the hit show’s third season, in which his character, Viktor Hargreeves, disclosed his transition to his siblings. But the bliss of feeling truly embodied still catches Page “by surprise sometimes.”
“A friend will simply take a photo and then I get a glimpse, and it just sends this electric thrill through my body, this sort of spark,” he said. “Because it’s funny—it’s seeing something new, but also not. I realize I look different to people now who’ve known me from before, but I’m thinking, Oh my gosh, there’s that person I’ve seen but never thought I’d actually get to see.”
It’s a kind of inner and outer peace Page, at various points, wasn’t sure he’d ever get to have.
“It definitely feels a way that I never thought I would get to feel,” he went on, “and that mostly manifests in how present I feel, the ease I feel, and the ability to exist. There’s been periods in my life where I really felt like I didn’t. So often it’s a lot more in the quiet moments. I think we talk about ‘trans joy’ and euphoria. So much of it is in the stillness. To have my shoulders back. I just was always kind of shut off, anxious. I used to never feel like my skin was my own.”
“Selfless” friends like Kristen Wiig and Alia Shawkat, Page noted, have been crucial sources of love and support throughout his transition. “They encouraged me to go against the forces that were telling me to not be true,” he said.
Page applied a similar mentality to the writing of his memoir. “I didn’t think I could write a book,” he recalled. “Books, particularly memoirs, have really shifted my life, offered me inspiration, comfort, been humbling, all of those things. And I think this period of not just hate, of course, but misinformation or just blatant lies about LGTBQ+ lives, about our health care, it felt like the right time. Trans and queer stories are so often picked apart, or worse, universalized. So the first chapter of *Pageboy…*I just sat down, and it came out and I just didn’t stop. I just kept writing.”
Page acknowledged that “the privilege [he has] does not represent the reality of most trans lives.” But the message behind Pageboy is a timely and important one, given recent political attacks on the LGBTQ community.
“I think it’s crucial,” he concluded. “I think we need to feel represented and see ourselves, you know, that’s not something I had like as a kid. The reality is, trans people disproportionately are unemployed, disproportionately experience homelessness. Trans women of color are being murdered. People are losing their health care or couldn’t access it.”