Confused fans of the Netflix show The Umbrella Academy have called it ‘political correctness gone crazy’ that Elliot Page will continue playing a female character despite coming out as a transgender man when it’s considered unfair for cis people to play trans roles.
On Tuesday, Elliot – who is best known for his role as Juno, when he played a pregnant teenage girl and went by the name Ellen – announced that he was transgender and that his pronouns are ‘he and they’.
He was universally embraced by Hollywood; stars like Ellen DeGeneres congratulated him and Netflix announced that he would stay on in his role as Vanya Hargreaves, a cisgender lesbian, in The Umbrella Academy, which he has already held for two seasons.
While many lauded Netflix for the decision and wondered if show writers would now make Vanya’s character transgender, others questioned it and shared their confusion.
They asked whether it was hypocritical to have a transgender person playing a cisgender role when the reverse has been deemed to be unfair and discriminatory against trans actors.
On Tuesday, the actor Ellen Page announced that they were a transgender man who now identifies as Elliot. He is keeping his role as Vanya Hargreaves, a cisgender lesbian on The Umbrella Academy (above)
I’m all for letting him be happy but it’s another example of political correctness gone crazy.
We now have a straight man playing a gay woman on TV and yet people cry out for representation and non-bias,’ one Twitter user said.
‘You genuinely believe if a non trans person played a trans character, there wouldn’t be an issue?’
Another said: ‘I do feel it uncomfortable that in a live action fashion, a now man is playing a woman.
‘That’s just how I feel… I’m a massive fan of hers or his I don’t know what I am supposed to say.’
Others were genuinely confused.
‘Vanya isn’t trans though, is she?’ one asked.
Some suggested the writers of the show might ‘make her trans’ to suit with Elliot’s announcement.
Others said it was the right decision by Netflix.
They also argued with those who criticized the decision, saying that it was OK for a trans person to play a cis person but not the other way around because trans actors ordinarily lose out on roles, whereas cis people do not.
‘There have been maybe 225 trans TV or movie characters ever, world-wide & almost all of them have been played by cisgender people.
‘Pretty sure nobody’s going to suffer if a few trans actors play theoretically cisgender characters,’ one person said.
‘So glad to see Netflix recognizing this change and updating his name. Good on you,’ another said.
In 2018, Scarlett Johansson withdrew from playing a transgender role in the movie Rub & Tug after backlash over her playing it when she was cisgender.
Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson have both previously stepped back from transgender roles after being lambasted for considering them
Halle Berry was also considering playing a transgender man but backed away from it after receiving criticism for it.
She then vowed to be an ‘ally’ to the LGBTQ community.
In his announcement on Tuesday, Elliot said: ‘Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot.
‘I feel lucky to be writing this. To have arrived at this place in my life.’
Elliot, who received an Oscar nod for his role in the hit 2008 movie Juno, asking his followers and fans for ‘patience’, admitting that he is ‘scared’ of the ‘invasiveness, the hate, the jokes, and of the violence’ that he may face moving forward.
‘My job is real, but it is also fragile,’ the actor said, adding: ‘The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared.’
Elliot and his wife, Emma Portner, at a premiere in June 2019. Emma said she was ‘proud’ of Elliot’s announcement
‘I feel lucky to be writing this’: The 33-year-old actor took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to share an emotional post with the revelation