Actor Elliot Page, who shared with the world that he is transgender via a brave and beautiful Instagram post last December, has discussed his "life-changing" surgery and how it feels to finally live as his authentic self.
During his first interview since announcing his transition, Elliot told TIME that his emotions have been a mixed bag since coming out, "[There's] this feeling of true excitement and deep gratitude to have made it to this point in my life... mixed with a lot of fear and anxiety." He added that the response from the public and on social media has been as he expected – an equally mixed bag.
"What I was anticipating was a lot of support and love and a massive amount of hatred and transphobia," said Elliot, who has previously been nominated for Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA awards. "[And] that’s essentially what happened."
However, Elliot also shared that the "shame and discomfort" he once felt has been overridden by "finally [being] able to embrace being transgender... and letting myself fully become who I am." He is now passionate about educating others on trans rights.
During the interview, Elliot confessed that playing feminine roles in movies, such as Juno, was a struggle, as was getting dressed for red carpets and sitting through hair and make-up. "For a long time I could not even look at a photo of myself," he said.
At one point, Elliot even considered quitting acting, as being unable to embrace his true gender identity, and having a female-orientated wardrobe on set, caused his mental health to suffer greatly.
Coming out as queer in 2014 helped somewhat, Elliot also shared in his TIME interview, but while he felt more comfortable being out in his sexuality, his unhappiness over this body remained. "The difference in how I felt before coming out as gay to after was massive, but did the discomfort in my body ever go away? No."
Two months after publicly posting about his transition, Elliot and his wife, Emma Portner, divorced (having already separated) but in a joint statement said they would stay friends.
Not everyone who is transgender has (or wants) surgery but for Elliot, undergoing top surgery was the right choice, he said: "It has completely transformed my life... [It's] not only life-changing but lifesaving."
You can read Elliot's full interview on TIME's website.
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