In an E! News exclusive preview of Elliot Page’s upcoming pride special, the star looked back at his struggles with gender dysphoria and the feelings of “self-disgust” he experienced during puberty.
Elliot Page is reflecting on a difficult chapter in his life story.
The Umbrella Academy star, who came out as transgender in 2020, opened up about his past struggles with gender dysphoria in E! News’ exclusive look at The Freedom to Exist with Elliot Page: A Soul of a Nation Presentation, an ABC News Pride Month special centered around the trans community and airing June 6.
Recalling how his body started to change during puberty, the 36-year-old said that was the period during which he also began “feeling a degree of discomfort that was very erosive and damaging.”
“I don’t think I, even at that point, had probably even heard the word ‘transgender,'” Page shared. “If it did come up, it would be briefly in health class with then the sound of laughter.”
To make matters worse, the actor said he was heavily bullied at school during that time, adding to the internal “shame” and the feelings of “self-disgust.”
“I think with gender dysphoria, it’s being assigned a gender at birth based on your genitalia,” he continued, “and that being the reality of not who you are—and the incongruence and disconnect with that—just continues to chip away at you.”
Page said his internal turmoil over gender identity “especially became complicated” when he found fame in Hollywood. While struggling to feel comfortable in dresses, the Juno alum remembered how “people would just go, ‘You’re an actor. Just put on the f–king clothes.'”
“But needless to say,” he added, “it was much more than that.”
In the past, Page has been open about his journey, including his battles with depression, anxiety and panic attacks before transitioning. While he’s acknowledges that surgery isn’t necessary for some in the transgender community, he previously shared that undergoing top surgery drastically improved his self-esteem.
“Getting out of the shower and the towel’s around your waist and you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and you’re just like, ‘There I am,'” he told Oprah Winfrey in a 2021 interview. “It’s being able to touch my chest and feel comfortable in my body for probably the first time.”
Earlier this month, Page looked back on how his struggles with gender dysphoria “used to be especially rife in the summer” as he tried to hid his body in layers and oversized T-shirts.
“It feels so f’ing good soaking in the sun now,” he captioned a shirtless selfie. “I never thought I could experience this, the joy I feel in my body.”
The Freedom to Exist with Elliot Page: A Soul of a Nation Presentation airs June 6 on ABC and the next day on Hulu. Page’s memoir Pageboy also drops June 6.