Elliot Page Says Comedians Targeting Trans Community 'Really Breaks My Heart'

Elliot Page covers the new issue of Esquire, opening up inside about the hardships facing the transgender community and dealing with transphobia in pop culture.

The “Umbrella Academy” actor, who came out as trans in 2020, wrote the magazine piece himself and touched on comedians like Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais working transphobic jokes into their sets. Page didn’t name anyone in particular, but spoke more generally about how that so-called comedy is harmful.

“Why are people making it more difficult? It really breaks my heart. It really breaks my heart. That’s literally all we’re trying to communicate,” he explained. “That’s what’s so funny to me. When people say, ‘Cancel this. Cancel that.’ No, they get four more comedy specials and have a jillion followers! The people getting canceled are the trans people who are suffering, or killing themselves, or murdered.”

Page said that “jokes have an impact that hurts people,” even if they’re not always “meaning to.”

“But: It’s not a joke. It’s not a joke. You believe what you’re saying. You believe it. It’s not a joke. They believe it. It’s clearly not a joke. And all we’re saying is: Can you just please listen and understand the harm that it causes? That’s all we’re trying to say,” Page continued. “That is literally all we are trying to say. And then we get inundated with hatred for saying it. But I’m sorry: You are the ones who don’t want to have the conversation. You are the ones who are so sensitive, who can’t handle people saying, Hey, can you not do that?”

In reaction to being called “too sensitive” regarding transphobic jokes, Page pointed to the “stuff trans people deal with on a day-to-day basis,” before bringing up one of his own horrific experiences with hate. He said that someone came up to him on the street and started “screaming” homophobic slurs at him — including taunts like, “I’m gonna kill you, you f—ing f—–! I’m gonna gay-bash you!’ This is why I need a gun!”

“Yeah, I don’t think people really get it,” added Page, who said that it’s been a totally different beast coming out as trans compared with coming out as gay in 2014. “Transphobia is just so, so, so extreme. The hatred and the cruelty is so much more incessant,” he explained.

In the piece, Page also recalled an instance where he was told “you need to wear a dress” while promoting “Juno” back in 2007, long before his transition.

“I dressed how I wanted to dress — not dissimilar to now. And I remember going and having the thing I wanted to wear, and then understanding the degree of expectation of how fancy someone is supposed to look. So I said I wanted to wear a suit, and Fox Searchlight was basically like, ‘No, you need to wear a dress,'” said the actor. “And they took me in a big rush to one of those fancy stores on Bloor Street. They had me wear a dress, and . … that was that. And then all the ‘Juno’ press, all the photo shoots [costar] Michael Cera was in slacks and sneakers. I look back at the photos, and I’m like …?”

“And it’s easy for people to roll their eyes, but you know what? No. That was really extremely, extremely f—ed up,” he continued. “I shouldn’t have to treat it like just this thing that happened—this somewhat normal thing. It’s like: No. Regardless of me being trans!”

“It doesn’t matter if I’m trans or cis. Lots of cis women dress how I dress,” he concluded. “That has nothing to f—ing do with it.”

Read the full profile here. 

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