Elliot Page has opened up about his gender identity journey as he appears on the cover of TIME magazine.
In his first press interview since he came out as transgender in December, the star of Juno and Inception reveals he struggled with his gender identity from childhood, and that finding success as an actor from a young age prevented him from coming to terms with being transmasculine.
Image: TIME magazine
"I just never recognized myself," explains Page, who says he was forced to grow his hair long after becoming a professional actor at the age of 10 in order to land feminine roles.
"For a long time I could not even look at a photo of myself."
Elliot, who announced his split from his wife of three years, Emma Portner, in January, came out publicly as gay in 2014, years before his transition.
"The difference in how I felt before coming out as gay to after was massive,” he tells TIME. "But did the discomfort in my body ever go away? No, no, no, no."
Page, who is currently starring in Netflix sci-fi series The Umbrella Academy, reveals that he was at home recovering from top surgery in December when he shared the news that he was transgender publicly, becoming one of the world's most high-profile trans people overnight.
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Despite largely keeping a low profile since then, Elliot did take to social media recently to denounce an anti-trans bill currently making its way through the state legislature in Alabama which would see doctors who offer treatment and care for transgender children face prosecution.
Amid increasing media hostility towards trans people, fuelled by anti-trans rhetoric from figures like Harry Potter author JK Rowling, Page's coming out comes at a key moment for the global transgender community.
"Extremely influential people are spreading these myths and damaging rhetoric—every day you’re seeing our existence debated," Page tells TIME. "Transgender people are so very real."
He adds: "We know who we are. People cling to these firm ideas [about gender] because it makes people feel safe.
"But if we could just celebrate all the wonderful complexities of people, the world would be such a better place."
Read Elliot Page's full cover profile over at TIME magazine.