After opening up to the world in a candid Instagram post, Elliot Page became one of the most famous people to come out as trans. Months later, the actor – shot by trans photographer Wynne Neilly – is now the first trans man to ever be on the cover of Time magazine.
“My privilege has allowed me to have resources to get through and to be where I am today,” Page said to Time, “and of course I want to use that privilege and platform to help in the ways I can.” But, as Page himself admits, the huge reaction to December's announcement came as somewhat of a surprise. Not only is the actor getting new roles, but the post itself was trending in more than 20 countries and he gained 400,000 new followers. His focus is on significantly more important issues than popularity on social media, however. In the interview, he emphasizes the importance of health care for the trans community, and what needs to be done to actually save lives (lack of access to medical care is considered to be one of the reasons 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide in America, according to a survey mentioned in the profile).
With issues of sexuality and gender at the forefront of political agenda worldwide, this interview's importance is a timely one. While the EU declared itself an 'LGBT freedom zone' in response to Poland's 'LGBT-free zones', 25 American states are introducing bills to prevent transwomen from competing in sports and to ban gender-affirming mental health care for trans youth. “We know who we are,” Page states. “People cling to these firm ideas [about gender] because it makes people feel safe. But if we could just celebrate all the wonderful complexities of people, the world would be such a better place.”
When posting the cover on social media, Page added the following statement: “With deep respect for those who came before me, gratitude for those who have supported me and great concern for the generation of trans youth we must all protect, please join me and decry anti-trans legislation, hate and discrimination in all its forms.” It seems the trans community is very lucky to have Elliot Page.
HEADER IMAGE | Wynne Neilly for TIME