From Times MARCH 16, 2021
Elliot Page doesn’t remember exactly how long he had been asking.
But he does remember the acute feeling of triumph when, around age 9, he was finally allowed to cut his hair short. “I felt like a boy,” Page says. “I wanted to be a boy. I would ask my mom if I could be someday.” Growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Page visualized himself as a boy in imaginary games, freed from the discomfort of how other people saw him: as a girl. After the haircut, strangers finally started perceiving him the way he saw himself, and it felt both right and exciting.
The joy was short-lived. Months later, Page got his first break, landing a part as a daughter in a Canadian mining family in the TV movie Pit Pony. He wore a wig for the film, and when Pit Pony became a TV show, he grew his hair out again. “I became a professional actor at the age of 10,” Page says. And pursuing that passion came with a difficult compromise. “Of course I had to look a certain way.”
We are speaking in late February. It is the first interview Page, 34, has given since disclosing in December that he is transgender, in a heartfelt letter posted to Instagram, and he is crying before I have even uttered a question. “Sorry, I’m going to be emotional, but that’s cool, right?” he says, smiling through his tears.
It’s hard for him to talk about the days that led up to that disclosure. When I ask how he was feeling, he looks away, his neck exposed by a new short haircut. After a pause, he presses his hand to his heart and closes his eyes. “This feeling of true excitement and deep gratitude to have made it to this point in my life,” he says, “mixed with a lot of fear and anxiety.”