Elliot Page ‘opened Oprah’s eyes’ to the heinous way trans people are treated in Hollywood

Vic Parsons
·3-min read

Elliot Page made Oprah Winfrey watch Netflix documentary Disclosure and it opened her eyes to how Hollywood has negatively portrayed transgender people.

Trans people are often portrayed as “mentally ill and dangerous”, Oprah says she realised after watching the critically acclaimed Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen. The talkshow megastar added that “what we don’t often see in media is trans people who are successful, living a so-called typical life, raising a family, going to work, and going about their business”.

Elliot was speaking to Oprah in his first TV interview since coming out as trans in December 2020, and the pre-recorded chat will debut on Apple TV+ tonight (30 April).

Before their unforgettable conversation, Elliot Page asked Oprah to watch Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen and the chat-show star also spoke to Nick Adams, director of transgender representation at LGBT+ advocacy charity GLAAD.

In their interview, the two discussed Elliot’s transition, trans kids, Republican attacks on trans rights, and how dangerous it is for people to learn about transness from screens instead of in real life.

Admitting that watching Disclosure “opened her eyes” to the common negative stereotypes about trans people, Oprah asked Elliot: “What changes do you want to see in how trans people are portrayed?”

He replied: “Trans people just getting to be people, instead of the story focusing on trauma or extreme violence or the idea there’s a mental illness or what have you.

And they want to hear “new narratives”, adding that while “representation in front of the camera is so important” it’s equally vital that there are trans people “behind the camera”.

“Writers, directors, telling more stories from the perspective of trans people,” Elliot added.

Oprah quoted trans actress and advocate Laverne Cox, who was an executive producer on Disclosure, who says at the end of the documentary that she wonders if people who watch and love shows like Pose and Nip/Tuck “will reach out to trans people in need and work to get rid of policies that scapegoat us”.

“Until that happens, all that energy from the silver screen won’t be enough to benefit the lives of trans people off the screen,” Oprah quoted Laverne as saying, relating to the importance of trans allies needing to do more to support trans people in real life.

Elliot agreed, adding his own advice for trans allies that “especially right now, those who want to be trans allies: educate yourself, support trans lives right now, because the attack is really intense”.

“Just like Laverne communicated, advocate and continue to push to defeat these [anti-trans] bills,” he continued.

“Reach out to your lawmakers. Theres a lack of coverage, a lack of mainstream media coverage, and a lack of truth, quite frankly, because a lot of the time trans people aren’t the ones invited to participate or speak.”

Elliot Page on Oprah pre-recorded chat will debut on Apple TV+ tonight (30 April). To find out more and to subscribe go to tv.apple.com.

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