When Elliot Page was 10 years old, he cut his hair short and noticed that people would say things to him like, “Thanks, bud.” Later on he wore a friend’s Speedo after forgetting a swimsuit—an experience that was “such a thrill” because “it was the first time I really could see myself,” per Good Morning America. In retrospect those moments revealed his identity, but his new memoir, Pageboy, details exactly when the lightbulb illuminated—the first time he acknowledged being a trans man “beyond speculation.”
It was six years ago, around Page’s 30th birthday, he wrote, per an excerpt published by Time. He had simply asked a close friend: “Do you think I’m trans?” And the friend replied: “I could see that…”
Later, Page convened with another friend, Star, at a small house party, where he expressed that he “couldn’t wear feminine clothes anymore” for work because they were so uncomfortable. “I couldn’t look at pictures, because I was never there,” he wrote. “It was making me sick. I didn’t want to be here. I wanted to be lifted out—the gender dysphoria slowly crushing me.”
Then, the question Page had previously asked another friend was directed back at him. “Do you think you’re trans?” Star asked. Page replied: “Yes, well, maybe. I think so. Yeah.”
That admission was only the beginning, as coming out as trans in a deeply anti-trans society felt “too big,” he wrote, adding: “It had taken a long time to allow any words to come out.”
Shortly after having that talk, Page took a self-described U-turn, compartmentalized his gender, fell in love, and got married to his ex-spouse Emma Portner in 2018. During that time, therapy also fell by the wayside.
“It wasn’t until our relationship was falling apart two years later and my gender dysphoria was so extreme that I sought out [a therapist] in [New York City]. I was ready to talk,” he wrote. He then relinquished the same words he had spoken to Star years prior. There was no going back this time. “My body knew, deep down I knew, and something had shifted,” he wrote. “It was now or never. It was alive or not.”
Page came out as transgender in 2020, and now, joy catches him by surprise. “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 told People. “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.”