The former Ellen Page the actress (Juno, The Umbrella Academy) came out as gay in 2014, and in 2018 married dancer Emma Portner, and last week announced that he is now Elliot Page, and is transgender, non-binary. Non-binary gender means not all one or the other. In this case, it means Elliot has a primary identity as male but retains some identity as female. Despite the gender identity change, Ms. Portner loves and is staying married to Elliot, formerly her wife, now her husband.
There was a flood of congratulations from the celebrity world, but as we have come to expect, there was the almost instant appearance of a particular form of hatred known as transphobia. It’s a violent hatred. Forty trans women have been murdered in the USA this year (Oct 2019 to Sept 2020), and at least 350 worldwide, up 6% from the previous year.
“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am, enough to pursue my authentic self,” Page shared in a statement on Tuesday. He has chosen he/him and they/them as his pronouns. Having two sets of pronouns is another way of expressing non-binary gender. He goes on to write, “My joy is real but it is also fragile . . . I am also scared, scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the ‘jokes’ and of the violence.”
The movement of which Elliot is the most recent expression began in the 1960s with ‘Gay Liberation.’ The same-sex, marriage equality movement ramped up in the 1990s and culminated in the 2015 SCOTUS ruling that all States must no longer discriminate. Now the cutting edge is transsexuality, and gender fluidity, and other forms of ‘in-betweenness.’
I hope all or almost all of us can feel happy about these developments. It’s another step on the road from abolition of slavery, to SPCA, to Votes for Women, to all the liberation movements from the 1960s up to the present.
The revolutionary development in this current movement for freedom is that more and more of the younger generations are almost hatred-free, and that’s because they are almost fear-free. Free of fear and loathing of the ‘other,’ you know, people ’not like us.’ These younger people feel that we are all the same in all the ways that really matter. And that is why so many things are no longer a barrier to love: race, ethnicity, age, ability and disability, affectional preference, gender identity and expression.
These young people Get It: it’s not the superficial things that matter. The question is, who is this person with whom I am falling in love, in heart and soul? Do our hearts beat as one, are our souls in harmony? Increasingly, the other stuff, the superficial differences, no longer decide everything, don’t prevent love the ways it has prevented it, or made life very difficult, for past generations. Hallelujah!
Rev. Leland Bond-Upson