Elliot Page: Our Newest Trans Icon!

An androgynous person wears sunglasses, a baseball cap, and a hoodie with the hood up. Behind them is a blue sky with small clouds and bright sunlight

He’s been a queer icon for years, and now you know his true name! Elliot Page came out as non-binary and trans today. Their pronouns are he and they.

You saw him in Juno and Umbrella Academy, and now we all get to meet him again! Elliot Page came out as trans in a Facebook post and an Instagram post this afternoon, and here are the key takeaways:

  • He shared that he’s trans, and his pronouns are he/they. (This most likely means that he’s also non-binary, which falls under the trans umbrella.)
  • They’re overwhelmed by incredible people in their life and inspired by the trans community and want to help make the world more loving and equal.
  • His “joy is real, but it is also fragile.” For most of the post, he discussed feeling scared and vulnerable. Trans people face cruelty and violence to the extent that the specifics of the post can’t be shared without several trigger warnings. He called it all out and firmly stated that he won’t be silent about this.
  • They feel remarkable to finally embrace who they are, and they’re thriving more and more.

The comments section was better than one might expect, and I highly encourage stopping by and leaving a positive message. Amid star-studded support, congratulatory allies and the occasional contemptuous troll, I also saw LGBTQ+ people using this space to express community and celebration, new allies genuinely trying to learn, and new LGBTQ+ people taking some vulnerable steps to share who they are and what their journey might look like. I saw parents sharing hope that their LGBTQ+ children can grow up in a world with just a little bit more awareness and celebration.

The world is a little bit brighter every time someone is able to say who they are, and the more of us there are, the easier it is for our siblings in the closet. Personally, I was very moved! Elliot is now one of the most famous non-binary people, and as my own non-binary gender is very similar to theirs, it’s affirming to see myself in such a major way and watch that be celebrated. Even his Wikipedia page was quickly updated by supportive editors. Those parents were right. Elliot Page coming out as trans WILL nudge the world toward being that much more accepting, and I want to help too if I can with this next section…

Etiquette tips for allies with questions about Elliot Page or trans people

Being able to safely come out is relatively new as a widespread occurrence so there’s still not a lot of widespread established customs on how to best support and discuss someone’s coming out. 

  • GLAAD shared this style guide for news organizations that want to cover the Elliot Page story without making any gaffes, and it’s full of a lot of great Trans 101 type pointers like “Only use the word transgender as an adjective” and “Don’t use a trans person’s previous name or pronouns even when referring to events in their past.”
  • The Human Rights Campaign’s guide to covering transgender people takes a deeper, more nuanced approach, calling for readers to see the diversity in our lives, gender expression, and transition paths.

If you see friends discussing or sharing articles that address Elliot’s transition with less finesse, both of these are good tools to help you point out more accurate ways to say things. Here are some additional general tips from your friendly neighborhood non-binary trans masculine contributing writer:

– Match their energy! If they’re excited, be excited. If they seem like they don’t want a lot of attention, be chill. Elliot’s post shared his moving joy but also solemn concern, and I was proud to see a lot of comments echo those same feelings and offer both congratulations and reassurance.

– If you’re a cisgender person (someone who was assigned an accurate gender and pronouns at birth) and you find it hard to understand why someone is transitioning, imagine if you woke up tomorrow with an assigned gender and pronouns that were different and uncomfortable. 

– Sometimes people try to say things that might feel creatively supportive, but actually come across as awkward, dismissive, irrelevant, or even backhanded. To avoid this, try my “new puppy” litmus test that I originally shared in this article about Coming Out Day:

Corellon’s New Puppy Litmus Test: If you wouldn’t say it to someone sharing the news that they got a new puppy, don’t say it to someone sharing the news that they’ve come out. 

(Example: “I got a new puppy” “Yay!” “I’m so happy for you!” “What’s the puppy’s name?” “Don’t worry, I don’t care about that at all. The important thing is who you are as a person.” “wait…excuse me?”)

– Don’t be fooled by the myths surrounding detransition. Satisfaction rates for gender-affirming transition are actually among the highest for any medical procedure, and most people who regret their transition are just regretting coming out of the closet and facing unacceptance and bigotry. Check out this article by Stonewall.org for more information. And this one by HuffPost that links to over TWENTY scientific studies.

– Try not to impose a lot of emotional labor on the person coming out or on other queer people, so ideally, do as much research as you can on your own. Our mental health is already fraught from living in a world that makes us continuously prove and justify our existence, so please be understanding of that. If you still have questions after reading the two style guides and these tips, I’d suggest checking out the Facebook group, Sounds like you need to be educated on transgender individuals but ok. As they explain in the group description, their name might sound sarcastic, but the goal of the group is to open a conversation with people who may be under-informed and share resources. The group is full of people who have volunteered to do the emotional labor of sorting everything out for people, so the boundaries involved are a lot healthier.

Self-care for trans fam

There’s still a LOT of people with unaccepting views on trans people, and many will feel the need to share them as they hear that Elliot Page is trans over the coming days and weeks. Be mindful that the world might start to feel a little more hostile in unexpected ways as everyone adjusts, and try to take steps to brace yourself.

  • If you encounter people who are under-informed, you can always share this article or links from the ally tips section in lieu of doing a lot of draining emotional labor. If they want to learn, they’ll be okay doing their own research. Beware of sealioning! and know when you need to just step away. 
  • Find peace in celebratory comments from queer family and supportive allies. They’re talking about you too. I’ve been talking about you too. If you’re out, I’m proud of you for making the world a brighter place. If you’re not out, I’m proud of you for taking your time and prioritizing your well being as you plan your own moment to shine.
  • If you’re still exploring your identity or don’t have a solid support system yet, look for affirming online communities and find the LGBT center closest to your local area.

Questions for the comments

If you want to ask me about being trans, I’ll be hosting an AMA (ask me anything) on the Geekiary’s Patreon soon. If you want to ask me about non-binary Vanya headcanons, this comments section is the perfect place for it!

Author: Corellon Johnson

Corellon is an engineer, cosplayer, group admin, creative fandom polymath, and chaotic good paladin of Carrie Fisher.

They’ve run over 50 fan panels and con events and can be found starting way too many projects in the Good Omens, Bioware, and Star Wars fandoms.

Twitter: @coryphefish
Newport News, Virginia, USA

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