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Elliot Page has revealed how ‘But I’m A Cheerleader’ helped him deal with “isolation and loneliness”.
The ‘Umbrella Academy’ actor – who came out as transgender in December 2020 – received the Achievement Award at Outfest in Los Angeles, and used his acceptance speech to discuss the impact of the 1999 comedy drama.
He said: “[Without representation], 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.”
Elliot was 15 when he was “flipping through the channels” and stumbled on the movie, which starred Natasha Lyonne as 17-year-old cheerleader Megan Bloomfield.
Megan’s parents send her to a gay conversion therapy camp in the film, but once there she learns to embrace her sexual orientation.
Elliot added: “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.”
And although that film made an impact, the 34-year-old star insisted much more needs to be done to make representation more widely seen across film and television.
He said: “It’s [Outfest] and organizations like yourself that are completely changing [the amount of representation] 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.
“It offers somebody a lifeline. And I know that representation has done that for me.”
Meanwhile, Elliot previously reflected on coming out as transgender and explained he had adopted a male identity from a very young age.
Elliot said: “All trans people are so different, and my story’s absolutely just my story. But yes, when I was a little kid, absolutely, 100 percent, I was a boy.
“I knew I was a boy when I was a toddler. I was writing fake love letters and signing them ‘Jason.’ Every little aspect of my life, that is who I was, who I am, and who I knew myself to be.”