Oscar-nominated actor and star of Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” Elliot Page, came out Tuesday as transgender and non-binary in a message posted to his social media accounts.
“I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer,” he said in the message. “And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive. To all the trans people who deal with harassment, self-loathing, abuse and the threat of violence every day: I see you, I love you and I will do everything I can to change this world for the better.”
Page became a breakout star with his role in “Juno” where he played a teenager dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. He earned nominations for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award and others.
In his coming out message, Page mentioned his fear at being discriminated against because of his gender identity.
“The statistics are staggering. The discrimination towards trans people is rife, insidious, and cruel, resulting in horrific consequences,” he said. “To the political leaders who work to criminalize trans health care and deny our rights to exist and to all those with a massive platform who continue to spew hostility towards the trans community: You have blood on your hands.”
Before coming out as trans, Page was one of the most prominent out gay actors in Hollywood. By coming out as trans, he joins a small yet slowly growing list of openly gender non-conforming creators in the business.
Page has also held roles in Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” “Whip It!” and Sony’s reboot of “Flatliners.” He previously produced and starred in movies “Tallulah” and “Freeheld,” and directed “There’s Something in The Water,” a documentary on environmental racism in Canada.
“Elliot Page has given us fantastic characters on-screen, and has been an outspoken advocate for all LGBTQ people,” GLAAD Director of Transgender Media Nick Adams said in a statement. “He will now be an inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people. All transgender people deserve the chance to be ourselves and to be accepted for who we are. We celebrate the remarkable Elliot Page today.”
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David also congratulated Page.
“Thank you for sharing your truth with us, and for shining a bright light on the challenges too many in our community face,” tweeted David. “We are proud of you, and we love you. And we will never stop fighting alongside you for change.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his own tweet thanked Elliot “for sharing these words and speaking your truth.”
“Your bravery and strength are inspiring, and your authenticity and vulnerability will mean so much to so many,” said Trudeau. “Sophie and I wish you the very best, and we send you — and the trans community — all our support.”
Harris Funeral Homes, which fired the late Aimee Stephens for being transgender and led her to sue the business in litigation that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, must pay $250,000 as a result of a settlement stemming from the landmark case affirming anti-transgender discrimination is illegal under the law.
U.S. District Judge Sean Cox in Michigan, the George W. Bush-appointed judge who adjudicated the case after the Supreme Court remanded the case back to the court, signed the consent decree on Monday, bringing a case to an end that had been rising up in the judiciary for more than six years.
Under the consent decree, Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan must pay a sum of $130,000 to Stephens’ spouse, Donna Stephens, for back pay, interest and compensatory damagers. The other $120,000 goes to the American Civil Liberties Union in attorney fees for acting as intervenor in the case.
Further, the agreement enjoins Harris Funeral Homes from firing workers on the basis of transgender status and from giving employees unequal clothing allowances on the basis of the sex. Thomas Rost, the owner Harris Funeral Homes, has asserted in initial stages of legislation having to buy Stephens a women’s business uniform violated his religious beliefs, although that claim was dropped when the case reached the Supreme Court.
As a result of Stephens case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June anti-transgender discrimination in the workplace is a form of sex discrimination, thus illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Her case was consolidated with Bostock v. Clayton County, which reached a similar determination with anti-gay discrimination, thus making anti-LGBTQ discrimination illegal in employment under federal law.
Stephens, however, who was in bad health, didn’t live to see the decision from the Supreme Court. She died in May 2020, just weeks before justices rendered their decision in Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC.
Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement to the Washington Blade the agreement means Stephens will obtain justice posthumously for all transgender people.
“Today marks a closing chapter in Aimee Stephens’s remarkable fight for justice,” Strangio said. “We are sad that Aimee is not here to experience this moment with her wife Donna and grateful for all that Aimee, Donna and the many trans fighters for justice and their families have done to bring us to this place. As Aimee always said, this fight is about more than just her and it will stretch far beyond this case.”
The landmark decision not only ensures anti-LGBTQ discrimination is unlawful in the workplace, but also under any law that bars sex discrimination, such civil rights law for housing, education, health care and credit and jury service. Areas of civil rights without bans on sex discrimination, however, such as federal programs and public accommodations, aren’t covered by the decision.
Strangio called for passage of the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to expand the prohibition on anti-LGBTQ discrimination even further, to recognize of the legacy of Stephens.
“The Biden administration must make it clear that across all areas of federal law sex discrimination protections apply to LGBTQ people and Congress must pass the Equality Act to close critical gaps in our civil rights laws that leave so many LGBTQ people, women, and many people of color vulnerable to discrimination,” Strangio said. “We will honor Aimee’s legacy by continuing her fight for country where all trans and non-binary people belong and feel safe.”
Neither the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity, which litigated the case on behalf of Stephens, nor Alliance Defending Freedom, the anti-LGBTQ legal firm that represented Harris Funeral Homes, responded Tuesday to the Washington Blade’s request to comment on the consent decree.
National AIDS Memorial on Tuesday honored Drs. Anthony Fauci and David Ho
during its virtual World AIDS Day event.
Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, during a panel that ABC News Chief Health and Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton moderated talked about treating people with HIV/AIDS during the first years of the epidemic.
related to these people,” said Fauci. “They were young men who previously
had been very healthy and they were in a mysterious disease.”
1981, 2 and 3 we knew it was an infection. It had to be an infection,” he
added. “We knew that it was new, but it was a very unique experience
dealing with something that was killing a lot of people and you didn’t know
what it was. That is a very unique experience in medicine.”
director of Columbia University’s Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, echoed
was a mysterious illness, that was seemingly transmissible and it was killing
young gay men one after another,” said Ho.
Ho, like Fauci, also said many gay men with HIV/AIDS died alone because their families had shunned them.
were often dying alone, shunned by family and friends because of this transmissible
illness and we knew it was obviously spreading and yet there was no effective
intervention that was meaningful in any way,” said Ho.
Fauci received the National AIDS Memorial’s National Recognition Leadership
Award. John Cunningham, executive director of the San Francisco-based
organization, during the event announced Ho and Fauci’s names have been added
to the memorial’s “Circle of Friends” in the city’s Golden Gate Park.
nearly four decades, these two individuals have stood at the forefront,”
year’s World AIDS Day took place nearly four decades after the first cases of
what became known as AIDS were reported. It also coincides with the coronavirus
Hopkins University of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center notes there are 13,696,060 confirmed coronavirus
cases in the U.S. The pandemic has also killed more than 270,000 Americans.
Robert Garcia, the openly gay mayor of Long Beach, Calif., is among those who participated in the virtual World AIDS Day event.
during a panel with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Lori
Lightfoot and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms that ABC News’ “GMA3”
Co-Anchor T.J. Holmes moderated noted his mother and stepfather both died from
the coronavirus over the summer. Garcia also discussed both pandemics’ impact
on the LGBTQ community.
we think about and remember everyone that has left us because of HIV and AIDS, for
me as a gay man, it means an enormous amount knowing the amount of sacrifice
that has happened within our own LGBTQ+ community throughout this terrible
virus and the damage it’s done to our community, to friends of mine, to people
and mentors that I look up to and respect,” said Garcia. “And it
reminds us that we have to be strong because things can get better and that’s
the case with this COVID-19 pandemic.”
drew parallels between the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the coronavirus pandemic.
was relatively speaking slow and insidious and yet COVID-19 hit us like a
tsunami,” he said.
noted “it looks like the vaccines and therapies are emerging extremely
rapidly in an unprecedented fashion” for the coronavirus, whereas an HIV
vaccine remains elusive. Ho and Fauci also discussed the way that behavioral
changes can curb the spread of HIV and the coronavirus.
behavior is quite challenging to predict and certainly to modify,” said
Ho. “We have learned that in HIV for example, wearing a condom could go a
long way in preventing sexual prevention of the virus. And in COVID-19 wearing
a mask would similarly cut down transmission, but it’s very hard for people to
apply some of these measures.”
acknowledged “one of the things that has been dominant and very, very
difficult to deal with with COVID-19 is the divisiveness in our society in which
messaging and conduct related to one’s own personal responsibility as well as
your societal responsibility has been really completely distorted by the divisiveness
as where public health measures have taken on an almost a statement as opposed
whether it’s going to have an impact on the broad health of everyone.” He
also pointed to continued resistance to wearing masks and other prevention
measures in parts of the country where coronavirus rates continue to skyrocket.
still have people who refuse to wear a mask, who refuse to have physical
distancing because they think all for this is a hoax or its fake news,”
didn’t have that with HIV,” he added. “There were another set of
behavioral issues that got in the way, but this is an extra added something
that I have never experienced with and I am really stunned by it.”
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David also
participated in the event that actress Judith Light hosted.
Lives Matter Co-founder Alicia Garza, Marked by COVID Co-Founder Kristin
Urquiza and Cleve Jones participated in a panel that David moderated. Rev. Naomi
Washington-Leaphart, director of Philadelphia’s Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs,
delivered the invocation.
year has been an unprecedented year for global health, unprecedented even by
pandemic standards,” said Light. “We face a grim reality. Our nation
continues to struggle in the fight against COVID-19 … 2020 also marks 40
years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States.”
this World AIDS Day, our hearts and minds open we are spotlighting the
interconnectedness between two pandemics that while having their differences, have
haunting similarities,” she added.
This World AIDS Day some of Los Angeles’ most important voices in the AIDS Crisis talk about their role in the AIDS crisis and the challenge we face in the age of Covid. The panel included Rob Watson, Richard Zaldivar, Mary Lucey, Karen Ocamb, Thomas Davis and John J. Duran.