If you’ve watched the X-Men movies, you might’ve noticed the actor Ellen Page, who played the role of Kitty Pryde. Page, who gained success via movies like Juno and, more recently, Umbrella Academy on Netflix, made a surprising announcement this week.
The actor announced that they are transgender and will now be referred to not as Ellen Page but Elliot Page and use the pronouns he/they. What does transgender mean? If someone is transgender, their gender identity is different from the gender they were thought to be at birth. While the world continues to open up to LGBTQ rights and welcome the freedom to live, marry, and work with the same rights as everyone else, Hollywood—or specifically the movie industry—has historically approached such topics differently.
Not many actors were able to come out in earlier decades as gay, lesbian, or transgender for fear of criticism. Plus, actors especially are hugely dependent on their popularity to make movies successful. What if audiences react negatively to such news? But a slow trickle of announcements from artists in the past decade is slowly opening up possibilities. Elliot says, “The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I’m scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the ‘jokes’ and of violence.”
So, what happens to the projects the actor is working on right now? Well, it’s rather simple. Netflix, for example, announced that the character would not change gender and the credits will simply be updated to reflect the actor’s new name. As for the fans? Many fans sent messages of support to Elliot and promised to continue supporting his work and talent!