Elliot Page shares how he responds when someone misgenders him: ‘I don’t take it personally’
Actor Elliot Page has shared his tolerant response to being misgendered as a trans man.
In The Umbrella Academy star’s new film Close To You, which debuted at Toronto Film Festival over the on Sunday (10 September), Page plays Sam, a trans man who visits his family for the first time since his transition four years ago.
The film somewhat reflects the experience that Page, 36, has gone through, too. The actor came out as trans back in 2020, sharing a powerful statement on Instagram about being “profoundly happy” and “able to pursue [his] authentic self”.
In the near three years since coming out, Page has been open about the astronomical highs and difficult lows on his gender journey.
Back in August, he spoke about finding an “awesome group of trans friends” since coming out, while he’s also spoken about the sheer “joy” of receiving gender-affirming care. In Close To You, Page even appears topless – a scene he recently described as “liberating” to film.
Yet, alongside the rising tide of anti-trans rhetoric globally, Page has had to overcome numerous personal obstacles related to simply being an out, proud trans person. The Juno actor has been targeted by the likes of conservative author Jordan Peterson, who appeared to spend 2022 being committed to misgendering Page.
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Writing in his new memoir Pageboy, released in June, Page also opened up about his damaged relationship with his estranged father, who Page claimed had ‘liked’ one of Peterson’s vile videos targeting the actor.
In Close To You, Page’s character Sam also endures some familial fragility. While his family appear to accept him, he’s fearful of how they will respond to seeing him in the flesh. In one scene, Sam’s mother accidentally misgenders him, and sobs after doing so.
“In those situations, I know the intent of people close to me in my life who are wanting to get it right. If someone misgenders me, I don’t take it personally,” he shared.
“When someone does go to apologise, it’s great. But let’s move on to the next moment in our interaction. Let’s move on before it turns into a bigger thing and becomes about the person who did the misgendering and turns into this whole other energy.
“These things take a second. It’s all good.”
Page’s tolerant perspective is also shared by other trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming celebrities, with non-binary pop star Sam Smith previously expressing that “mistakes happen” when it comes to using the right pronouns.
“We need to lean into the uncomfortable feeling of being wrong sometimes, because it’s okay,” Smith shared last year. “If I lived a life where I was just getting upset every time someone used the wrong pronoun, I would be very sad, and I’m done with being sad.”
While making mistakes and accidentally misgendering someone is one thing, purposefully misgendering is another. A study published earlier this year revealed that nearly half of young Americans believe that deliberately misgendering someone should be a crime.
Alongside addressing how they deal with being misgendered, Page offered some wise words of advice for those family members who want to learn or be better trans allies, but are afraid of making mistakes.
“For me, it’s about people taking individual time to educate themselves,” Page offered.
“There are a lot of resources out there to learn more about trans people and the reality of our experiences. A question isn’t always a negative thing, but there’s a time and place and context and tone.”
Close To You does not yet have a public release date.
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