Actor and new author Elliot Page revealed more from his upcoming memoir Pageboy, which delves into his first experiences with queer romance and his transition into his real gender.
The Umbrella Academy star has already touched on the ways in which transitioning as a trans man has change his life, allowing him to experience levels of joy that he never knew were possible, in social media posts.
A recent interview with People allowed him to go deeper into his journey and share the entire first chapter of his memoir, which details the first time he kissed a girl and the love that blossomed from that moment.
“That time at Reflections was new for me, being in a queer space and being present, enjoying it,” Page writes, speaking on his first time in a gay bar. “Shame had been drilled into my bones since I was my tiniest self, and I struggled to rid my body of that old toxic and erosive marrow. But there was a joy in the room, it lifted me, forced a reaction in the jaw, an uncontrolled, steady smile.”
The woman he was with, Paula, became the subject of a deep crush, which was significant to Elliot before he transitioned. He reports thinking about her “incessantly” when they were apart and focusing on the small details about her as they danced together at the bar before he suddenly found himself asking if he could kiss her.
“I was coming to understand what all those poems were about, what all the fuss was. Everything was cold before, motionless, emotionless. Any woman I had loved hadn’t loved me back, and the one who maybe had, loved me the wrong way. But here I was, on a dance floor with a woman who wanted to kiss me and the antagonizing, cruel voice that flooded my head whenever I felt desire was silent.”
All of this would occur before one of Page’s breakout films, Juno, would premiere in 2007. Over 13 years later, in December 2020, he would announce to the world that he was a trans man who was in the middle of transitioning to the form that would allow him to find as much peace as that first kiss allowed him to find desire.
In the interview, he reports feeling intimidated by the idea of writing a book, but also compelled during a time of escalating backlash against the queer community. Once he started, however, he found it hard to stop until it was all out on the pages.
He acknowledges, however, that the privilege that comes with fame and money made all of this easier on him than it is for the vast majority of trans folks out there, and even then, he often feels like he barely made it to where he is today.
“My experience as a trans person and this life I have, and the privilege I have does not represent the reality of most trans lives,” he said.
“I think it’s crucial, 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 healthcare or couldn’t access it.”
Gender-affirming care has come under attack in many U.S. states in recent months as part of a coordinated right-wing assault against trans people as their latest scapegoat to rally conservatives into a new moral panic. Nineteen states have passed legislation banning this form of healthcare at least up to age 18, and eight more are considering similar bills.
Much of their reasoning for this is based on a few isolated stories of people who came to regret their transition, but regret rates for trans people who undergo gender-affirming operations are far lower than the average for all kinds of surgeries that are not banned. Meanwhile, trans people like Page have been widely speaking out on how much transition has benefited them.
“It feels so f’ing good soaking in the sun now, I never thought I could experience this, the joy I feel in my body,” said Page in a recent Instagram post. “I am so grateful for what gender affirming care has allowed me and I look forward to sharing more of my journey soon.”
Pageboy is set to be released to the public on June 6.