“I wish I could go back and experience it now. As me.”
Elliot Page reflected on his experience following the release of the 2007 movie Juno in a new essay for Esquire.
Although Elliot first began acting as a child, Juno was undoubtedly a breakout role for the actor — even scoring him an Oscar nomination. However, it was long before Elliot had publicly come out as trans.
“When Juno was at the height of its popularity, during awards-season time, I was closeted, dressed in heels and the whole look,” he wrote. “I wasn’t okay, and I didn’t know how to talk about that with anyone.”
Prior to Juno, Elliot said that he had been able to wear what he wanted when doing press or attending film festivals — while still understanding “how fancy” the event was. That changed with the premiere of Juno at the Toronto Film Festival. “I said I wanted to wear a suit, and Fox Searchlight was basically like, ‘No, you need to wear a dress,’” he recalled.
“They had me wear a dress, and…that was that. And then all the Juno press, all the photo shoots — Michael Cera was in slacks and sneakers.”
“It’s easy for people to roll their eyes, but you know what? No. That was really extremely, extremely fucked up,” he said. “Regardless of me being trans! I’ve had people who’ve apologized about things: ‘Sorry, I didn’t know, I didn’t know at the time.’ It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter if I’m trans or cis. Lots of cis women dress how I dress. That has nothing to fucking do with it.”
“I get that people don’t understand. ‘Oh, fuck you, you’re famous, and you have money, and you had to wear a dress, boo-hoo.’ I don’t not understand that reaction. But that’s mixed with: I wish people would understand that that shit literally did almost kill me,” he continued, noting his struggles with food, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks to the point of not being able to read scripts.
“I’ve had to have plenty of devil’s-advocate conversations with cis people who were like, ‘Well, I’m not trans and I could wear a skirt!’ And it’s like, cool. Okay,” he said. “In my early to mid-20s, I didn’t know how to tell people how unwell I was. I would berate myself for it. I was living the life and my dreams were coming true, and all that was happening.”
“People, especially teenage girls, really responded to that character, Juno,” he said. “Then you have that film have the success it had, and the major, major profit, between the film and the soundtrack — and then you fucking squash that all away. You squash it. So you’re benefiting greatly from this character that connected with people, and then you do that. It’s gross.”
“I wish I could go back and experience it now. As me,” he added.