Veteran actor Ian McKellen has praised his X-Men series co-star Elliot Page for coming out as a transgender, saying that he is happy for him.
Page, the Oscar-nominated star of films such as Juno and Inception, had in December 2020 came out as a transgender in a statement posted on Twitter.
Reflecting on his own experience as a gay man in Hollywood, McKellen told Attitude Magazine that Page’s decision to come out will be a huge personal boost for the actor.
“Everything gets better when you come out because you get self-confidence. So you get better in terms of relationships, friends of all sorts, family, if you’re lucky. And in my case, I think in every case, your acting is bound to change and improve,” the 81-year-old actor said.
McKellen, however, also admitted that he was “disappointed” with himself for not recognising Page’s struggle with his identity on the sets of their 2006 movie X-Men: The Last Stand.
“I remember Elliot Page, in one of the X-Men, sat as close as we are now. And I had to speak when they’d finished, and I couldn’t hear what they were saying. Nobody could hear what they were saying. So, I said, ‘Look, if you can’t speak up, would you mind when you’re finished speaking, just dropping your hand so I know when you’ve finished speaking?’
“And then they came out (as gay) years later and suddenly you couldn’t stop them talking. You heard everything. And now they’re Elliot. And I’m so happy for Elliot. And so disappointed in myself that I didn’t detect what their difficulty was with communicating,” he added.
In his post on December 1, Page had announced that he has changed his name from Ellen to Elliot and thanked his well-wishers for their support.
“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self. I’ve been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community.
“Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society,” Page had written in the post.
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