(Toronto) Actor Elliot Page is in a bit of a strange position, he says, being one of the most visible transgender men in the world.

He feels better than ever. The Halifax-born artist is himself today, unreservedly. But at the same time, he claims to be a member of a community attacked from all sides.

“Visibility is complicated,” he told La Presse Canadienne in a recent interview.

“We definitely need to see each other and reflect our joy, and I know how much that has helped me on my journey. But it can also lead to backlash, and lead to the most vulnerable members of our community being affected more in this way. »

This dissonance is featured in Pageboy, his memoir published by HarperCollins Canada earlier this month.

“I’m just trying to strike a balance in my own life,” he said.

The book gives readers a non-linear look at his life, exploring his childhood in Halifax, his early entry into the acting profession, the fame that came from his role in Juno, and the trauma that often accompanies being queer in Hollywood.

He talks about several sexual assaults, public speculation about his sexual orientation in his youth, the harassment he faced when he came out of the closet as a lesbian in 2014, and the disbelief that followed when he announced that he was transgender, six years later.

The common thread is his understanding that he was never a girl or a woman. And with puberty came the onset of gender dysphoria – what he describes as “a deep discomfort, confusion and incongruity with [his] mind and [his] body”.

“Something inside me always knew, but it was like I was talking myself out of it, finding a way around it because it was just too big,” he said.

As society increasingly accepts the LGBTQ community, a backlash has emerged and segments of the population have attempted to claw back recent gains.

There has been an onslaught of anti-trans legislation in the United States, where Page now lives, with more than a dozen states banning or restricting gender-affirming care for minors.

And while it’s tempting to think of Canada as a tolerant haven for LGBTQ people, Page notes that’s not necessarily the case.

He cited the example of New Brunswick, where teachers are now required to obtain parental consent before they can use the preferred pronouns and names of transgender and non-binary students under 16.

“We have to be very, very careful about how we frame the conversation in Canada because it’s a slippery slope,” he warned.

Conversations on social media can be particularly acerbic, a constant stream of hate. Page says that he personally ignores and avoids these speeches and messages.

“It’s not something I want to invite into my life and into my space,” he explained. I know who I am. »