In a new profile, actor Elliot Page opens up about his childhood, the trans experience, and he reflects on times in his career that “almost kill[ed]” him. One of these “pivotal” moments took place during the red carpet premiere of Jason Reitman’s Juno.
“When Juno was blowing up—this sounds strange to people, and I get that people don’t understand,” Page explains to Esquire. “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.”
In Juno, Page plays the title character—a pregnant teenager who is definitely more androgynous that what was seen in popular films at the time. Prior to the film’s premiere, Page was set on wearing more gender-affirming attire, like a suit. Instead, he was forced into a dress by the film’s distributor Fox Searchlight.
“I think of times when people actively were like, “No, you need to wear a dress” in very, very, very pivotal moments. I remember the premiere of Juno at the Toronto International Film Festival,” Page says. “I remember going and having the thing I wanted to wear, and then understanding the degree of expectation of how fancy someone is supposed to look. So I said I wanted to wear a suit, and Fox Searchlight was basically like, ‘No, you need to wear a dress.’ And they took me in a big rush to one of those fancy stores on Bloor Street. 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. I look back at the photos, and I’m like . . .?”
While this predates Page coming out and his subsequent transition, the double standard was made clear.
“It’s easy for people to roll their eyes, but you know what? No. That was really extremely, extremely fucked up,” Page continues. “I shouldn’t have to treat it like just this thing that happened—this somewhat normal thing. It’s like: No. 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.”