Elliot Page brings transgender joy to Madison on book tour 

  • Post Author
    by Talk
  • Post Date
    Wed Jun 14 2023
Photo and story by Sarah Kirsch

Elliot Page grew up navigating queerness while being in the public eye as an actor. After coming out as transgender in 2020, Page released a memoir about his exploration and acceptance of his gender identity and simultaneous development of his career. Page brought his book tour to Madison on Monday to spread queer joy and talk about his writing experience.

The Barrymore Theatre filled with hundreds of attendees, some of whom had lined up more than three hours in advance. The line was filled with excitement to share a space with Page during Pride Month. 

Theo Germaine (they/them), actor and moderator, asked Page about his memoir which was released on June 6. They asked Page about his writing process and inspiration for the memoir, which took around a year to write. He said he started writing it shortly after filming season three of “The Umbrella Academy.” 

Page recalled his parents' fluctuating support of his sexuality and gender identity, saying that his mother originally was not supportive but eventually came around. He also spoke about being in the acting industry from the age of 10 and being told to dress a certain way and not tell people about his sexuality. However, he said he found queer representation in movies like “But I'm a Cheerleader.” 

“Whatever shame or embarrassment we're feeling, it's not ours—it's theirs,” Page said about coming to terms with his sexuality while growing up. 

Other prevalent themes that were discussed between Page and Germaine were positive representation, boundaries and privilege. 

He also mentioned learning how to set boundaries as he grew into his trans identity, particularly as a young person in the entertainment industry. He recalled an experience with a previous actor, where he was told to keep his queerness to himself and not tell anyone, which contributed to his internalized homophobia building up. 

Page acknowledged the privilege he has, which he also wrote about in his memoir. 

“I am not a reflection of the majority of trans people's experiences, and that's due to my privilege, resources I have and the care and all kinds of things I can access, like gender-affirming care,” Page said. 

Page highlighted how creativity has been overflowing since he came out as transgender, and that the community around him brings trans joy to him. 

He also highlighted his dog Mo as one of his biggest supporters and brought Mo on stage for the audience to see. 

While a majority of the audience was supportive and excited, a few thought the night was unstructured and not focused on the memoir. Attendees were supposed to submit questions beforehand, but in lulls between questions, some audience members shouted random questions. Tangents followed, and the conversation often drifted away from Page's memoir. 

Some audience members described their disappointment as wishing Page had opportunities to speak more about his book and personal exploration. 

All attendees received a free, signed copy of “Pageboy.” A Room of One's Own, a local queer and trans-owned bookstore, and other local Madison bookstores received copies of the book to sell.