Elliot Page has credited films like But I’m a Cheerleaderfor providing him some much-needed relief during his struggles as a young LGBTQ+ person.
During his acceptance of Outfest’s Achievement Award on Sunday (August 22) at the film festival’s closing night gala in Los Angeles, the actor explained the importance of representation in the media.
Elliot said that stumbling across films and television shows with LGBTQ+ storylines helped him through times of “shame and self-hatred” which were difficult to navigate.
“I for one know that without the various representation that I was able to stumble upon as a kid and a teenager — there was very little — I just don’t know if I would have made it,” he said during his acceptance speech.
“I don’t know if I would have made it through the moments of isolation and loneliness and shame and self-hatred that was so extreme and powerful and all-encompassing that you could hardly see out of it.”
The actor, who is well-known for his performance in The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, praised films such as But I’m a Cheerleader for the representation they provided when he was growing up.
“And then, you know, at 15, when you are flipping through the channels and you stumble on But I’m a Cheerleader and the dialogue in that film, and scenes in that film just transform your life.
“I almost think we don’t talk enough about how important representation is and enough about how many lives it saves and how many futures it allows for.”
But I’m a Cheerleader is a 1999 comedy about a teenager (Natasha Lyonne) whose parents send her to a gay conversion program after suspecting that she is gay.
Elliot accepted the award virtually due to filming commitments in Toronto and called the ongoing lack of representation “infuriating”.
He added: “It’s [Outfest] and organizations like yourself that are completely changing that.
“And helping get stories out in the world that I know are reaching people in moments where they feel desperately alone and afraid and like they have no sense of community. And it offers somebody a lifeline. And I know that representation has done that for me.”
In December 2020, Elliot shared that he is transgender in a powerful letter on social media.
Since then, he has become the first openly trans man to appear on the cover of Time Magazine.
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Just last week, Elliot took to Instagram to tease fans that season three of The Umbrella Academy may be coming sooner than they think.