Today, TIME Magazine published an interview with Elliot Page who discusses his decision to disclose that he is transgender and his work as an advocate to fight for full equality for all transgender people.
In response, Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Representation said, “Not only is Elliot Page a fine actor, he is also an advocate for equality and justice who continues to educate the world about who trans people really are and about why the current barrage of anti-trans bills promoted by fearmongering politicians are so harmful and unnecessary.”
The following updated style guide provided by GLAAD, and created in conjunction with Elliot Page, is designed to help you create respectful and accurate coverage while avoiding common mistakes and clichés when reporting on Page. This guide reflects the most current information about how to report on Page, and supersedes the guide released in December 2020. Please read thoroughly and respect the language and terminology guidelines below.
- DO describe people who transition as transgender, and use transgender as an adjective. Elliot Page is a transgender person. DON’T use transgender as a noun: “Elliot Page is a transgender.” DON’T use “transgendered.” Transgender never needs an extraneous “-ed” at the end. DON’T use “transsexual” or “transvestite.”
- DO describe Elliot Page as a transgender person. Page also uses the words non-binary and queer to describe his identity. These words are umbrella terms that describe many different types of experiences. “Transgender” and “non-binary” describe Page’s gender identity. Gender identity is one’s own internal, deeply held sense of one’s own gender. “Queer” describes Page’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is who one is attracted to. They are not the same thing and should not be conflated or confused.
- DO refer to him as Elliot Page. DON’T refer to him by his former name. He has changed it, and should be accorded the same respect received by anyone who has changed their name. The public has learned Page’s new name, so there is no need to refer to it in stories about him, even when referring to past work. A story can simply say, “Elliot Page received an Oscar nomination for his role in Juno.”
- DO use he/him or they/them pronouns when referring to Elliot Page. He/him is preferred by Page, but they/them is also acceptable. If you need to explain this to your audience, you can include a sentence that says “Elliot Page uses both he/him and they/them pronouns; this story will use he/him when referring to Page.”
- DON’T use she/her pronouns to describe Elliot Page, even when referring to events in his past. Simply use his current name and pronouns. For example, “Elliot Page began his career as a child actor before his breakout performances in Hard Candy and Juno.”
- AVOID the phrase “born a woman” when referring to Page. If it is necessary to describe for your audience what it means to be transgender, consider: “Elliot Page was designated as female on his birth certificate, but is now living as his authentic self.”
- DON’T speculate about medical procedures transgender people may or may not choose to undertake as part of their transition. This is private medical information, and a transgender identity is not dependent on medical procedures. Overemphasizing the medical aspects of a person’s transition objectifies transgender people, and prevents the public from seeing the transgender person as a whole person.
- DON’T imply that someone who discloses that they are transgender was lying or being deceptive because they chose to keep that information private. Transgender people face extremely high rates of family rejection, employment and housing discrimination, and physical violence. Every transgender person has to prepare to face the possible consequences of transitioning to live as their authentic self. That caution does not mean that they were deceptive or lying. It simply means they felt it necessary to keep their authentic self private until they were safely able to disclose it to others.
- DON’T indulge in superficial critiques of a transgender person’s femininity or masculinity. There is no one way to “look” transgender or non-binary. Transgender people can have a range of gender expressions, just like cisgender people. How a person chooses to express their gender through their hair, clothing, make-up, jewelry, etc. is their own personal decision and doesn’t change their gender identity.
On December 1, 2020, Elliot Page, Oscar-nominated star of Umbrella Academy, spoke out about being transgender on Instagram:
In response to the December 1, 2020 post, Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Transgender Representation said, “Elliot Page has given us fantastic characters on-screen, and has been an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people. He will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. All transgender people deserve the chance to be ourselves and to be accepted for who we are. We celebrate the remarkable Elliot Page today.”
.@TheElliotPage has given us fantastic characters on-screen, and has been an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people. Elliot will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. We celebrate him. All trans people deserve to be accepted. https://t.co/Ba7HOBgU5G pic.twitter.com/qFR1qG4H6q
— GLAAD (@glaad) December 1, 2020