Elliot Page wants to combat the ‘endless, full-blown lies’ about trans lives

Elliot Page has reflected on the “endless, full-blown lies” about trans lives exclusive interview with PinkNews, urging the community to fight back with information and education.

The Hollywood actor, 37, stars in Dominic Savage’s new drama, Close To You, as a trans man, Sam, who visits his family for the first time after his transition and has a chance encounter with an old friend Katherine, played by Hillary Beck.

Sam’s family reunion, however, is fraught with tension when everyone continually asks whether he’s happy since transitioning, and no one seems to believe that he is.

And after his mother (Wendy Crewson) misgenders her son, brother-in-law Paul (David Reale) purposefully antagonises him, asking why they can’t call him “Sammy”, and insinuating that the family are having to tiptoe around him.

Elliot Page as Sam in Close To You
Elliot Page plays Sam, a trans man who has a tense homecoming, in Close To You. (Me + You Productions)

Speaking to PinkNews ahead of Close To You‘s European premiere at the 2024 BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival last night (14 March), Page, who came out publicly as trans in 2020, discussed the emotional distance that can exist between some LGBTQ+ people and their families.

“Sam has parents that accept his transness, and have the best intentions, but they don’t truly see Sam,” Page said. “The way in which his family interacts with him, again trying their best but not quite getting it right, the nuance in those moments will hopefully resonate particularly with trans and queer people.”

Sibling Paul’s hostility towards Sam isn’t displayed with slurs or violence, but rather through “language that people justify,” explains Page.

“And by people”, he adds, “I mean those who are OK with trans and queer people being dehumanised and mocked”.

Page hopes Close To You will “really capture [the] impact” those nuanced but negative interactions can have on LGBTQ+ people – an experience that many of them will have to endure from relatives. Although family might be supportive, they can also make unintentionally inappropriate comments or jokes, or not fully understand what their loved one feels.

Elliot Page with Close To You co-star Hilary Baack and director, Dominic Savage at BFI Flare.
Elliot Page with Close To You co-star Hillary Baack and director Dominic Savage. (Getty/Simon Ackerman)

Reflecting on his relationship with his own mother, Page had some advice for trans and queer people who want to be better seen and understood by their families.

“For me, with my mom, I would send her stuff, articles which she read. So, in many ways, I think it’s about sharing the correct information, because there are endless, full-blown lies about our lives, our healthcare, just who we are,” he said.

The advice is particularly pertinent as the UK and the US prepare for general elections, with the trans community likely to be used as a punching bag by right-wing politicians looking to score points.

“That’s something I found really, really helpful: sharing the correct information to help educate people, whether it’s an article or a memoir by a trans person,” continued Page, whose own memoir, Pageboy, was published last year.

BFI Flare runs until 24 March. Full details are available here.

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