Elliot Page told Oprah Winfrey that the Republicans are spreading lies and misinformation about young trans people, and his message to trans kids is: “I see you, you exist, you are real”.
And the Umbrella Academy actor is speaking out about his own transition in a bid to try to help shift the way society treats young trans people.
“I wanted people to know that not only has it been life-changing, life-saving for me, but because there is such an attack on trans healthcare right now,” he continued. “When already there is a lack of access to healthcare, and trans people don’t want to go to their doctor.”
Elliot added: “What you are hearing from certain lawmakers is lies, in terms of what they’re saying about the healthcare.
“The reality of the healthcare is its supported by medical institutions and it saves lives. If you are going to [ban it], and if you are going to ban trans people from sports, children will die. It’s that simple. It’s really that simple.”
His warning is sadly already being borne out in the US, as bills banning trans healthcare, criminalising parents who support their trans kids, and banning trans girls from school sports are signed into law.
In March, Arkansas became the first US state to ban medical professionals from providing gender-affirming healthcare to trans minors, although other states have bills pending which would do the same. After the ban in Arkansas passed, a doctor reported a spike in trans teenagers attempting suicide.
Shortly after, two suicide prevention groups in the United States pleaded with lawmakers to row back on plans to ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth. In a joint statement, the AFSP and The Trevor Project asked lawmakers to “seriously consider the mental health impacts of legislation that seeks to restrict transgender and non-binary young people’s access to medically necessary, gender-affirming care, which can be life-saving”.
The groups wrote: “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults and we know transgender and non-binary youth are more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers.”
Elliot Page admitted to Oprah that the Republican attacks on trans kids are “unfathomable to me”.
Republicans argue that kids are being “made trans”, he said. “People want to erase trans people. They don’t want us to exist. And the main tactic is to attack trans kids. It’s unfathomable to me… these kids are being used as political pawns to attack the Equality Act.”
Oprah said the way she sees it, transphobes can “no longer manage the adult trans community” so they are “going after the kids”. And Elliot agreed, adding: “‘Yes, the bathroom bills didn’t really work the way they wanted it to.
“But trans kids, they can have more influence there, because a lot of people do not have any information.
“The horrible lies and attacks coming from Republicans are not truths.”
He added that anti-trans Republicans are “exploiting people’s lack of information” and that it’s a “new tactic” in the fight against LGBT+ rights.
“In many states you can still be fired for being gay or denied housing for being trans,” Elliot Page said. “The Equality Act would allow for federal protections [for LGBT+ people] and Republicans don’t want that.”
“A lot of the arguments from these lawmakers aren’t very original,” Elliot said. “It’s all the stuff said in the 70s and 80s and 90s about LGB people: ‘Oh no, gay people in locker rooms. Oh no, gay people in school being teachers. They’re trying to brainwash our children’.
“It’s the same! They’re reusing the same arguments. And anti-LGBT activists worked so hard against marriage equality,” he said, that they are now using the same arguments against trans lives. He repeated that “their tactic in terms of this debate” is to spread misinformation about trans kids.
Oprah asked: “Children will die. What do you want to say to people who don’t seem to think that trans children dying matters?”
Elliot replied: “You really hope people can just look into their hearts. You really hope people could just listen and educate themselves with real information, and have empathy and compassion. Because only 20 per cent of people know a trans person, so of course a lot of people don’t know about the issues. They don’t know the real information.”
Asked by Oprah what his message is for young trans people, Elliot Page replied simply: “I see you, you exist, you are real.”
“I just want [trans] kids to know that they’re loved and I’m gonna continue to do what I can to try and help this society shift how it treats trans people.”
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