When honored with Outfest’s Achievement Award, the ‘Umbrella Academy’ star explains why ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’ was incredibly helpful as he dealt with ‘isolation, shame, loneliness and self-hatred.’
AceShowbiz -Elliot Page (Ellen Page) struggled with “all-encompassing isolation, shame, loneliness and self-hatred” while growing up as a LGBTQ+ person.
“The Umbrella Academy” star came out as transgender last December (2020), and was honored with Outfest’s Achievement Award at the film festival’s closing night gala in Los Angeles on Sunday night, August 22.
Accepting the award virtually, Elliot explained that 1999 movie “But I’m a Cheerleader”, starring Natasha Lyonne, was incredibly helpful in his personal struggles with gender identity.
“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, according to Variety. “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.”
“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.”
The comedy tells the story of Lyonne’s high school character, whose parents send her to a gay conversion program when they suspect that she’s gay.
Elliot continued to add that the lack of representation for the LGBTQ+ people in Hollywood is “infuriating.”
“It’s [Outfest] and organizations like yourself that are completely changing that,” he added. “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.”
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