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How Elliot Page escaped womanhood Unlike for Britney, public self-destruction wasn't an option

Did Ellen Page even exist? (Richard Bord/Getty Images)


June 21, 2023   8 mins

Ellen Page — a person who no longer exists, and who by strict application of the rules of gender identity never existed — became famous at the height of an exceptionally dark era for young women and fame. In 2007, Britney Spears shaved her head, Paris Hilton went to prison and Lindsay Lohan was arrested for the first time. And that year, the movie Juno introduced 20-year-old Page to the world as the title character, a 16-year-old who gets pregnant and decides to have the baby.

Critics adored her. “Page’s presence and timing are extraordinary,” enthused Roger Ebert. “I think she will be one of the great actors of her time.” Juno won her an Oscar nomination for best actress. But it wasn’t craft alone that made Page so appealing. It was also something about her as a person — as a girl. In a period when the dominant mode of female celebrity was the “trainwreck”, Page was different. She was big-eyed and skinny, but she didn’t party. She didn’t cycle through boyfriends. She didn’t drink-drive. You never, ever saw her falling out of a club — or out of her clothes. 

“If she and her contemporary Lindsay Lohan were put on an attention-seeking sale, they would certainly be at polar ends,” wrote Helen Pidd. “Flashing her crotch getting out of taxis is so not Page’s style (this is just speculation, but she seems like the kind of big-pants gal who wouldn’t even contemplate wearing a thong).”

Page’s peers were quizzed about their sex lives and their scandals. Page talked about politics and feminism. “I think a lot of the time in films, men get roles where they create their own destiny and women are just tools,” she told Pidd. “As a girl, you’re supposed to love Sleeping Beauty. I mean who wants to love Sleeping Beauty when you can be Aladdin?”

Still, Page wasn’t unscathed by the gossip machine. The very fact that she didn’t date, and did dress like a tomboy, raised a whole other set of questions: was she (whisper it) a lesbian? “Is Juno a you know?” asked an article in the Village Voice. Ellen DeGeneres had successfully negotiated coming out in 1997, but she’d done so as the beloved lead of a hit sitcom. Page was only just getting established, and a preference for flannel shirts was hardly compatible with the part of the rising starlet.

It took till 2014 — when Page was 26 — for her to declare her sexuality publicly. “I am tired of lying by omission,” she said in a speech to the Human Rights Congress. The scrutiny of her perceived failure at femininity had taken a toll. She told the audience that a website had recently run photos of her in sweatpants, with the question: “Why does this petite beauty insist on dressing like a massive man?” With audible exasperation, she delivered her answer: “Because I like to be comfortable.”

Page seemed, for a while, happy. She wore suits on the red carpet: an adorable baby butch. She got married to choreographer Emma Portner in 2018. And then, in 2020, Page came out again — this time as transgender. “Dressing like a man” had never merely been about comfort, apparently: it had been about actually being a man. 

Page had top surgery — a double mastectomy. In an interview with Time, Page called this “not only life-changing but lifesaving”, and described it as a remedy to the “total hell” of puberty. The public reaction was widely supportive: Netflix immediately announced that it would update the credits on The Umbrella Academy, in which Page stars, to reflect Page’s chosen name. Ellen Page disappeared. Elliot Page emerged instead.

In the Time interview, Page said that the journey to identifying as trans started with reading trans people’s memoirs, in particular Becoming a Man by P. Carl. Through identifying with Carl, “I was finally able to embrace being transgender,” Page says, “and letting myself fully become who I am.” So it makes sense that Page has now contributed his own volume to the genre — Pageboy, released for this Pride month. “An ode to stepping into who we truly are with defiance, strength and joy,” according to the flyleaf. 

But Pageboy doesn’t read defiant, strong or joyful. It reads sad: the story of a vulnerable girl thrown into the entertainment business at the age of 10; unprotected by her family; struggling with food; closeted, and reminded by the casual homophobia of Hollywood to stay that way; and subjected to sexual assault and harassment by people who should have been trusted colleagues.

In the memoir, Page says: “At certain points I’ve referred to myself using my previous name and pronouns. This is a choice that felt right to me, occasionally, when talking about my past self, but it’s not an invitation for anyone to do the same.” But talking about Page’s past as though it happened to a boy is nonsensical: Ellen’s experiences are tied to her femaleness, and more than that, her lesbianism.

Not that Page refers to his pre-transition sexuality as “lesbian”: “queer” is preferred, and when the word “lesbian” comes up, it’s marked as something held in contempt, by others if not by Page. At one point, Page calls lesbianism a “repugnant” feature that directors cannot allow on-screen.

Any resistance to compulsory femininity — high heels, tight dresses — is cast by the industry as Page being “difficult”. Roles for women are so sexualised that at one point Page describes Juno as representing “a space beyond the boundary”. This is, remember, a film in which Page’s character is pregnant: you could hardly get a more female role. But because Juno is not “hyperfeminised” — because Page wears tees and jeans for the part — the pressure of gender is lifted, somewhat. 

But 2007 was also the year that trans writer Julia Serano published Whipping Girl, which is probably the most influential text in terms of solidifying gender identity theory. In it, Serano argued that “feminine verbal and aesthetic expression” are “driven by intrinsic and deep-seated inclinations that are likely to be the result of biology”. In other words, regardless of your actual sex, if you don’t act or dress “girly”, you might not be a girl at all. 

As this idea gained intellectual purchase, femininity standards in popular culture were growing ever more exacting. This pressure was even dramatised in Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody’s follow-up movie, Jennifer’s Body, which starred ultimate hottie Megan Fox as a cheerleader succubus, and Amanda Seyfried as her hoodie-wearing, jealousy-gnarled best friend. The space for the kind of girl-character Page played — girls who were not limited to being objects of desire — was shrinking.

But Hollywood was only amplifying messages Page had heard from her family. Page’s mother informs her daughter that she can “do anything a boy can do”, but from Page’s perspective, this is never sincere. There is continual maternal pressure for Page to be more girly, as well as an absolute rejection of the possibility of homosexuality. One of the few vignettes in which Page recalls his mother being happy is when Page requests a shopping trip to buy “girl clothes” as a teenager. (Page enjoys the way the new wardrobe alters her social standing, but not the way the clothes make her feel about herself.) When Page initially comes out as gay, her mother’s reaction is to yell: “That doesn’t exist!”

Becoming a “transgender guy” doesn’t spare Page from judgement and disgust. (Page still seems wounded by a Jordan Peterson tweet that referred to the surgeon who performed Page’s mastectomy as a “criminal”.) But it does resolve the problem of being a lesbian: Page’s mother, at least, seems better able to accept a trans child than a gay one. “She loves her son endlessly,” writes Page. Transition also makes Page’s body safer — a body that has been repeatedly violated and threatened. Page mentions an “acquaintance” who told her, after she came out for the first time, “I’m going to fuck you to make you realise you aren’t gay.” There’s also a male director who “grooms” her, a male crew member on an early film who forces oral sex on her, and a female crew member on another film who sexually assaults her while presenting it to Page as a consensual relationship. Over and over, Page is informed with violence that her body is not hers.

Again, Hollywood reinforces what began in Page’s childhood. Her adversarial relationship with her body can be seen in her reaction to her stepmother’s cooking. Page hears an “internal voice” saying “no, that can’t go inside you” when she’s confronted with food that scares her: a terror of adulteration, of losing control. Puberty inevitably heightens this. Page describes the age of 11 as “the age I sensed a shift from boy to girl without my consent”. This is, I think, a common sensation for girls: puberty ends an era of uncomplicated, happy embodiment, and launches you into a world where your body appears to invite dangerous attention against your will. Not a shift from boy to girl, but a shift from “person” to “thing”. As Hilary Mantel wrote, some girls want out. They starve themselves, or punish their bodies, and now they have the option to disown their sex entirely.

Trauma is a commonplace of trans memoir, or rather, of trans men’s memoirs. Trans women’s memoirs are, for the most part, exuberant narratives of self-actualisation (albeit usually with some background homophobia, similar to Page’s mother’s). Trans men’s memoirs are often wrenching accounts of rape and self-harm, climaxing in irreversible body modification. Thomas Page McBee’s Man Alive features a harrowing description of the author as a 10-year-old girl being sexually assaulted by her father (the abuse started when McBee was four). It initiated a “split” between self and body. “I felt like a marionette, otherworldly and wooden,” writes McBee, who nonetheless separates his masculine identification from the depersonalisation caused by the abuse. 

Carl (in the book that inspired Page) also relates being sexually assaulted at the age of 11 or 12, also by his father: “You’re becoming a woman. Your breasts are beginning to show. I like watching you change,” Carl recalls him saying. Later, the first stage in Carl’s transition is a double mastectomy. “I feel a fiery rage … for what men did to me,” Carl writes, before adding: “I feel so much joy living in a man’s body.”

For Page, these experiences of rejection and violation are incorporated into a story of latent maleness — or rather, of boyness. As the title suggests, there is little interest in being seen as an adult male. Even his new name, Elliot, is inspired by the boy hero of Spielberg’s E.T. Ceasing to be a woman confers a sort of immunity to time. Carl, who transitions in midlife, is spurred to take action by impending menopause: “I knew menopause, becoming an older woman, would kill me, that menopause would shove my femaleness in my face in a way that would make me too sick to live.”

In retrospect, the Noughties insistence that Page was different to the other girls could be seen as an excuse to mistreat her peers: by casting them as sluts in contrast to Page’s “good girl” figure, the media could suggest that they deserved what they got. Yet Page received much the same abuse; and her reaction was not entirely different. Rather than responding with public self-destruction, Page redoubled a private war against her own body — now his body. Britney shaved her head; Page removed her breasts; both cut away what gave them away as female. 

It feels a long, sad distance from the woman who once protested that she was entitled to wear whatever made her “comfortable”; longer still from the girl who, back during promo for Juno, spoke up for a woman’s right to be at the centre of her own story. In Pageboy, Page’s girl-self seems passive and tragic: a sleeping beauty, held in suspended animation, afraid to grow up, and kissed without her consent. (There is, I suspect, some retconning here. Achieving a career such as Page’s takes considerable determination, and Page does not suggest this was driven by parental ambition. Yet Page never addresses where this drive to act comes from, or attributes his professional success to more than luck.)

As a “trangender guy”, Page can be Aladdin: the main character, capable of making decisions that affect reality. No more pressure to wear the dress or play the princess. But the fairytale Pageboy reminds me of most of all is the Little Mermaid. In the Hans Christian Andersen original, the mermaid fails to meet the condition of her womanhood. Her suffering ends when she is transformed into one of “the daughters of the air”; finally incorporeal, she makes an impossible, fantastical escape from her betraying body.

On the surface, Pageboy is a euphoric account of Page “finding himself”: the model narrative of the trans memoir. The happy ending is Page waking up in a hospital bed, breastless. Between the lines, though, there’s another story, of a self-hating girl who engineers a flit from femininity. It’s obligatory now to be shocked by the cruelty of Noughties culture. When, I wonder, will we recognise the even greater cruelty of inviting women and girls to barter their body parts for self-determination?

*

Sarah Ditum’s Toxic: Women, Fame and the Noughties is available to pre-order.


Sarah Ditum is a columnist, critic and feature writer.

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Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
10 months ago

Plenty of flowery language and trans ideological nonsense doesn’t cover up the ugliness and tragedy of Ellen Page’s situation.
As a young girl and woman she suffered sexual and mental abuse in the cesspit of Hollywood. Instead of seeking therapy to come to terms with it, she mutilated her body and lives under a silly delusion that she is a male.
She is not a Little Mermaid transformed in to one of “the daughters of the air”. She is a mentally troubled person who is compounding the tragedy of abuse by others with sick, surgical self-abuse.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

…and encouraging others to indulge in their own self-abuse.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

This is not good writing. The woman is being made into some kind of hero. People should not be encouraged to change their sex although you cannot really change your sex.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

… and at a price. I doubt the surgeons, psychiatrists, charities, consultancies odds and bods turning people from one gender to another aren’t turning a coin at the same time.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

This is not good writing. The woman is being made into some kind of hero. People should not be encouraged to change their sex although you cannot really change your sex.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

… and at a price. I doubt the surgeons, psychiatrists, charities, consultancies odds and bods turning people from one gender to another aren’t turning a coin at the same time.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

It’s noticeable that female writers treat trans-men far more sympathetically than they treat trans-women.
Males seem equally disparaging about both trans categories.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Shaw
Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I think the reason for that is trans men don’t threaten women in any way, whereas trans men do. Men are not threatened by either of them.

I’m talking about real, physical threat, not ‘phobia’.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

I think that’s an unfair generalization.
The majority of trans-women never physically threaten anyone.
Every assault by a trans-women is widely publicized but how many have we actually read about. The number is vanishingly small relative to their population.
Credible figures for the number of trans-women in the UK are hard to come by. There are no high quality figures available, but the best source is probably the Office of National Statistics. Based on their recent publications there are 58,000 trans-women, 48,000 trans-men and 114,000 non-binary people in the UK.
If 0.1 percent of trans-women were guilty of physical assault that would be 58 stories in the paper every year, i.e. approximately one a week. Obviously there have been nowhere near that number.

Tom Conroy
Tom Conroy
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It doesn’t matter that most trans-women never physically threaten anyone, the point is that they have the physical capacity to do so as men do but unlike men are expected to be welcomed in to women’s spaces and are not bound by the social mores that (supposedly, and to some degree actually) restrain men.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Tom Conroy

Spot on.
And actual crime figure assaults are a poor metric anyway for the whole spectrum of harms women have complained about.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Tom Conroy

Spot on.
And actual crime figure assaults are a poor metric anyway for the whole spectrum of harms women have complained about.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Women’s sports involving strength, speed, and a number of other inherent male advantages would be ruined. Bog average men who decided to become to Transwomen would take all the prizes and then what are young girls supposed to do? Get up at 5.30am to train so they can be left off the Olympic team one day?
I ‘woke’ up to the whole issue just by reading (on Twitter) a Rugby coach (bloke) laughing about how Rachael was ‘deckchairing’ team mates in training. I played rugby for a while…I am mediocre at best and now old, but could likely still deckchair a top class woman player.
(Deckchairing is when you hit someone hard enough to drive them back while their upper body folds forward and their legs fold upwards… hit them around where their ovaries are basically.
I never had to worry about my ovaries, not having got any, and I would never hit a woman that hard…or laugh about it)

Tom Conroy
Tom Conroy
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It doesn’t matter that most trans-women never physically threaten anyone, the point is that they have the physical capacity to do so as men do but unlike men are expected to be welcomed in to women’s spaces and are not bound by the social mores that (supposedly, and to some degree actually) restrain men.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Women’s sports involving strength, speed, and a number of other inherent male advantages would be ruined. Bog average men who decided to become to Transwomen would take all the prizes and then what are young girls supposed to do? Get up at 5.30am to train so they can be left off the Olympic team one day?
I ‘woke’ up to the whole issue just by reading (on Twitter) a Rugby coach (bloke) laughing about how Rachael was ‘deckchairing’ team mates in training. I played rugby for a while…I am mediocre at best and now old, but could likely still deckchair a top class woman player.
(Deckchairing is when you hit someone hard enough to drive them back while their upper body folds forward and their legs fold upwards… hit them around where their ovaries are basically.
I never had to worry about my ovaries, not having got any, and I would never hit a woman that hard…or laugh about it)

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

I think that’s an unfair generalization.
The majority of trans-women never physically threaten anyone.
Every assault by a trans-women is widely publicized but how many have we actually read about. The number is vanishingly small relative to their population.
Credible figures for the number of trans-women in the UK are hard to come by. There are no high quality figures available, but the best source is probably the Office of National Statistics. Based on their recent publications there are 58,000 trans-women, 48,000 trans-men and 114,000 non-binary people in the UK.
If 0.1 percent of trans-women were guilty of physical assault that would be 58 stories in the paper every year, i.e. approximately one a week. Obviously there have been nowhere near that number.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Shaw
Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

There are certain situations that strongly magnify the threat of transwomen to women. One is competitive sports, which will eventually exclude women from elite athletics if transwomen are allowed to compete with women. Another is prisons, where violent criminals, many of them sex offenders, identify as women and are subsequently housed with women. Men greatly outnumber women in prison, so eventually women’s prisons will be majority male, many of who will be violent sex offenders. Another is the courtroom, where female rape victims have been compelled to address their attacker as “she,” and to read about their attack as on woman attacking another. This is grave psychic harm. Another is female-only changing rooms, which must now accommodate female-identifying men with cell phones. I could go on.

Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

There are certain situations that strongly magnify the threat of transwomen to women. One is competitive sports, which will eventually exclude women from elite athletics if transwomen are allowed to compete with women. Another is prisons, where violent criminals, many of them sex offenders, identify as women and are subsequently housed with women. Men greatly outnumber women in prison, so eventually women’s prisons will be majority male, many of who will be violent sex offenders. Another is the courtroom, where female rape victims have been compelled to address their attacker as “she,” and to read about their attack as on woman attacking another. This is grave psychic harm. Another is female-only changing rooms, which must now accommodate female-identifying men with cell phones. I could go on.

Ronald Bell
Ronald Bell
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

I think you meant that trans women do – although it’s all very confusing. And I’ve got an A Level in Biology

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

I agree.
A handy defence against casual insults and being labelled transphobic when I support women who don’t want trans women allowed in their sports, is that I am not transphobic (whatever that is meant to mean) because I couldn’t give a flying proverbial if Transmen want to box men, or play rugby against men, or race and swim against men.
Which, of course, never happens.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

I think that’s an unfair generalization.
The majority of trans-women never physically threaten anyone.
Every assault by a trans-women is widely publicized but how many have we actually read about. The number is vanishingly small relative to their population.
Credible figures for the number of trans-women in the UK are hard to come by. There are no high quality figures available, but the best source is probably the Office of National Statistics. Based on their recent publications there are 58,000 trans-women, 48,000 trans-men and 114,000 non-binary people in the UK.
If 0.1 percent of trans-women were guilty of physical assault that would be 58 stories in the paper every year, i.e. approximately one a week. Obviously there have been nowhere near that number.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

I think that’s an unfair generalization.
The majority of trans-women never physically threaten anyone.
Every assault by a trans-women is widely publicized but how many have we actually read about. The number is vanishingly small relative to their population.
Credible figures for the number of trans-women in the UK are hard to come by. There are no high quality figures available, but the best source is probably the Office of National Statistics. Based on their recent publications there are 58,000 trans-women, 48,000 trans-men and 114,000 non-binary people in the UK.
If 0.1 percent of trans-women were guilty of physical assault that would be 58 stories in the paper every year, i.e. approximately one a week. Obviously there have been nowhere near that number.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Shaw
Ronald Bell
Ronald Bell
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

I think you meant that trans women do – although it’s all very confusing. And I’ve got an A Level in Biology

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

I agree.
A handy defence against casual insults and being labelled transphobic when I support women who don’t want trans women allowed in their sports, is that I am not transphobic (whatever that is meant to mean) because I couldn’t give a flying proverbial if Transmen want to box men, or play rugby against men, or race and swim against men.
Which, of course, never happens.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It’s something to do with actually having some understanding of them. If you have grown up female and reasonably cute, or even not, you may have received unwanted attention from men from a young age. I was attacked twice before 17 yrs old, and noted men to be avoided from a young sge. The presence of a strong father figure helped me, I’m sure. The onset of puberty is scary for many of us, but for some girls it is pure hell. Transwomen might have a different story – but it is not one of predatory females around every corner.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I think the reason for that is trans men don’t threaten women in any way, whereas trans men do. Men are not threatened by either of them.

I’m talking about real, physical threat, not ‘phobia’.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It’s something to do with actually having some understanding of them. If you have grown up female and reasonably cute, or even not, you may have received unwanted attention from men from a young age. I was attacked twice before 17 yrs old, and noted men to be avoided from a young sge. The presence of a strong father figure helped me, I’m sure. The onset of puberty is scary for many of us, but for some girls it is pure hell. Transwomen might have a different story – but it is not one of predatory females around every corner.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Well said.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Well said. It doesn’t get any plainer than that. Being looked on as some sort of a hero to the trans cult just makes the whole miserable affair sadder.
That said, you can’t save everyone from themselves. She has decided to go all in on the pretense. Trans activism is attempting to compel me to go along with the pretense as well and that’s where I draw the line. I have no interest in redefining genders and pronouns just to humour a tiny group of unhappy, angry people.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Quite right. I don’t tolerate pronoun crap any more.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
10 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

That would make them happy only briefly. Then they would be on to demanding more. Tolerate => accept => applaud +> join.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

Quite right. I don’t tolerate pronoun crap any more.

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
10 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

That would make them happy only briefly. Then they would be on to demanding more. Tolerate => accept => applaud +> join.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Exactly. Damaged, and completely messed up about sex, and note too how there us an assumption that maleness is non-sexual. Which shows how little agency these unfortunate women have in their lives. They seem to lack positive straight female role models. I often wish that these bitter, tortured and timid young urban women could fall in with a bunch of (raucous, bawdy and confident) young women from my small village on a night out.  See how happy young rural women get drunk, chase men and have a laugh. It’d do them a power of good.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

…and encouraging others to indulge in their own self-abuse.

William Shaw
William Shaw
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

It’s noticeable that female writers treat trans-men far more sympathetically than they treat trans-women.
Males seem equally disparaging about both trans categories.

Last edited 10 months ago by William Shaw
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Well said.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Well said. It doesn’t get any plainer than that. Being looked on as some sort of a hero to the trans cult just makes the whole miserable affair sadder.
That said, you can’t save everyone from themselves. She has decided to go all in on the pretense. Trans activism is attempting to compel me to go along with the pretense as well and that’s where I draw the line. I have no interest in redefining genders and pronouns just to humour a tiny group of unhappy, angry people.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
10 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Exactly. Damaged, and completely messed up about sex, and note too how there us an assumption that maleness is non-sexual. Which shows how little agency these unfortunate women have in their lives. They seem to lack positive straight female role models. I often wish that these bitter, tortured and timid young urban women could fall in with a bunch of (raucous, bawdy and confident) young women from my small village on a night out.  See how happy young rural women get drunk, chase men and have a laugh. It’d do them a power of good.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
10 months ago

Plenty of flowery language and trans ideological nonsense doesn’t cover up the ugliness and tragedy of Ellen Page’s situation.
As a young girl and woman she suffered sexual and mental abuse in the cesspit of Hollywood. Instead of seeking therapy to come to terms with it, she mutilated her body and lives under a silly delusion that she is a male.
She is not a Little Mermaid transformed in to one of “the daughters of the air”. She is a mentally troubled person who is compounding the tragedy of abuse by others with sick, surgical self-abuse.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago

The stand out point for me is that Page’s identity as a lesbian was rejected by her mother. Her mother preferred her to be trans. It reminded me of the former CEO of Mermaids who admitted that her son became trans because his father couldn’t accept he was gay. It highlights how the trans movement is counter-gay and shouldn’t be grouped with LGB. It’s a step backwards – the real conversion therapy (as it is in Iran).

Last edited 10 months ago by Judy Englander
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

The stand out point for me is there are still people – perhaps yourself among them – that think they can separate the unnaturalness that occurs when men think they’re women, from the unnaturalness that occurs when men think they should have sex with other men. What is the principle that justifies drawing a line between them?
The reason the T is appended to the LGB is because they all depend on the same essential prioritization of what feels right to you, over your biology. They all represent the elevation of humanity’s hopes and dreams over the reality of humanity’s actual bodily existence. In a sense they are the apex of the Western Enlightenment project; in another sense they are bizarre denials of the truth that will of course end badly for everyone.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I disagree. Sexual orientation is rooted in “actual bodily existence” – it’s about how your biological body responds to other biological bodies. Transgenderism exists only in the mind; it’s totally divorced from any notion of biological reality and relates to sexuality only as a fetish in some men’s minds (autogynophilia).

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  S Wilkinson

This comment reminds me of the great Seinfeld episode where George receives a massage from a masseur and is alarmed that “it moved” – fearing this demonstrates some hidden homosexuality. ‘Biological response’ obviously plays an important role in the characterization of someone as a homosexual, but whether biological response is the cause or the effect has been hotly contested for a very long time.
More to the point, trans activists will argue that the same ’cause or effect’ question applies to them as well – so that (supposedly) a man-who-thinks-he’s-a-woman will experience increased health outcomes once he is affirmed in his supposedly unchosen delusion. This is obviously untrue, but the data is complex, there are many confounding factors and (crucially) there are ideological commitments – to self-expression, to the importance of unbounded liberty, to sexuality as an instrument of human authenticity, etc. – which alter how we interpret the evidence and those confounding factors.
These are all the same arguments made by gay activists 50 years ago when homosexuality was considered a mental disorder in DSM, or a moral failing in our churches, etc. Once upon a time the medical community was united in saying that putting a p***s in an a**s led to bad health outcomes and was plainly not the way those body parts were supposed to function. Then those ideological commitments took over, and suddenly the bad health outcomes were either re-characterized as the effect of ‘stigma’ or they were considered public policy challenges that justified govt intervention.
This is the exact same path that trans activists are on right now.

Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Same-sex attraction is different from cross-sex identification. It involves feelings that most people are familiar with; it’s just a question of what arouses these feelings. More importantly, same-sex attraction presents few to no problems for society. People who can’t stand gay and lesbians can just ignore them, for the most part. But transgenderism presents many problems for society, and most of these problems negatively affect women and girls, not boys and men. When women speak up about these problems, activists shout them down and threaten them.

Last edited 10 months ago by Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I should add that trans activism also negatively affects gay and lesbians. Lesbians, of course, are women, but trans activists have condemned same-sex attraction as bigoted and transphobic, which affects gay men as well as lesbians, although it is lesbians who are pressured to accept transwomen as sexual partners. It also affects children who may be gay or lesbian, who are convinced that they are, instead, transgender. When gays and lesbians speak up about these problems, trans activists shout them down, and threaten them

Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Same-sex attraction is different from cross-sex identification. It involves feelings that most people are familiar with; it’s just a question of what arouses these feelings. More importantly, same-sex attraction presents few to no problems for society. People who can’t stand gay and lesbians can just ignore them, for the most part. But transgenderism presents many problems for society, and most of these problems negatively affect women and girls, not boys and men. When women speak up about these problems, activists shout them down and threaten them.

Last edited 10 months ago by Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
Kayla Marx
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I should add that trans activism also negatively affects gay and lesbians. Lesbians, of course, are women, but trans activists have condemned same-sex attraction as bigoted and transphobic, which affects gay men as well as lesbians, although it is lesbians who are pressured to accept transwomen as sexual partners. It also affects children who may be gay or lesbian, who are convinced that they are, instead, transgender. When gays and lesbians speak up about these problems, trans activists shout them down, and threaten them

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  S Wilkinson

This comment reminds me of the great Seinfeld episode where George receives a massage from a masseur and is alarmed that “it moved” – fearing this demonstrates some hidden homosexuality. ‘Biological response’ obviously plays an important role in the characterization of someone as a homosexual, but whether biological response is the cause or the effect has been hotly contested for a very long time.
More to the point, trans activists will argue that the same ’cause or effect’ question applies to them as well – so that (supposedly) a man-who-thinks-he’s-a-woman will experience increased health outcomes once he is affirmed in his supposedly unchosen delusion. This is obviously untrue, but the data is complex, there are many confounding factors and (crucially) there are ideological commitments – to self-expression, to the importance of unbounded liberty, to sexuality as an instrument of human authenticity, etc. – which alter how we interpret the evidence and those confounding factors.
These are all the same arguments made by gay activists 50 years ago when homosexuality was considered a mental disorder in DSM, or a moral failing in our churches, etc. Once upon a time the medical community was united in saying that putting a p***s in an a**s led to bad health outcomes and was plainly not the way those body parts were supposed to function. Then those ideological commitments took over, and suddenly the bad health outcomes were either re-characterized as the effect of ‘stigma’ or they were considered public policy challenges that justified govt intervention.
This is the exact same path that trans activists are on right now.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Nonsense. Same sex attraction is real, physical and happens in other mammals. ‘Gender’ ideology is profoundly homophobic.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago

Same sex attraction is most definitely real – but so is gender dysphoria. All our social problems are real, and most of them are found in other animal communities. (Just think of all the poor female animals that are raped every day. Shiver.)

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago

Same sex attraction is most definitely real – but so is gender dysphoria. All our social problems are real, and most of them are found in other animal communities. (Just think of all the poor female animals that are raped every day. Shiver.)

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

When transwomen have sex with a man isn’t that really being gay?

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Most trans women appear to identify as lesbians – ie they are basically heterosexual men.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

This feels like a definitional question… and I’m happy to draw the lines around the words wherever you like. But whatever you call it, when a man-who-thinks-he’s-a-woman has sex with a man, there are manifold disorders present.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Most trans women appear to identify as lesbians – ie they are basically heterosexual men.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

This feels like a definitional question… and I’m happy to draw the lines around the words wherever you like. But whatever you call it, when a man-who-thinks-he’s-a-woman has sex with a man, there are manifold disorders present.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I can see why you would use the word ‘unnaturalness’; it has great power to provoke. And also why you, like many trans activists, would try to draw a parallel between homosexuality and transgenderism.
But it’s a false and disingenuous comparison. Homosexuality is about our sexual preferences and behaviour. It doesn’t require anybody else to change their understanding of reality to be accommodated. Transgenderism is a faith, with no objectivity or science to support it. Those of us who are skeptical are told that we must either buy in to the belief that a person can be ‘born in the wrong body’ or accept that we are bigots.
Attempting to draw a parallel between homosexuality and transgenderism is like attempting to draw a parallel between gravity and Scientology. It simply won’t do.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

It is simply bizarre to suggest that the normalization of homosexuality has not required any accommodation from other people. Look at the world around you!
But I do agree it is all driven by faith. Do we believe there *should* be limits to the expression and manifestation of our feelings and desires? Could such a question be answered based on anything other than faith?

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

‘It is simply bizarre to suggest that the normalization of homosexuality has not required any accommodation from other people.’
But that’s not at all what I said. I said that people weren’t required to change their understanding of reality in order to accommodate homosexuality. Any accommodation required has been (and continues to be) in respect to ideas of morality, be they religious or otherwise, but nobody is arguing that homosexuality doesn’t exist.
Transgenderism, on the other hand, relies upon the belief that we each possess some intangible essence of gender – something akin to the religious notion of a soul – that may or may not match our physical sex. It is, as you acknowledge in your post, a matter of faith, and in this no different from Christianity, Hinduism or astrology.
Now, in a liberal democracy, we allow all their belief systems of choice, so long as these do not impinge upon the rights of others. But what we don’t do is insist that everybody else must believe them too, at risk of being found guilty of an entirely spurious ‘hate crime’.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

‘It is simply bizarre to suggest that the normalization of homosexuality has not required any accommodation from other people.’
But that’s not at all what I said. I said that people weren’t required to change their understanding of reality in order to accommodate homosexuality. Any accommodation required has been (and continues to be) in respect to ideas of morality, be they religious or otherwise, but nobody is arguing that homosexuality doesn’t exist.
Transgenderism, on the other hand, relies upon the belief that we each possess some intangible essence of gender – something akin to the religious notion of a soul – that may or may not match our physical sex. It is, as you acknowledge in your post, a matter of faith, and in this no different from Christianity, Hinduism or astrology.
Now, in a liberal democracy, we allow all their belief systems of choice, so long as these do not impinge upon the rights of others. But what we don’t do is insist that everybody else must believe them too, at risk of being found guilty of an entirely spurious ‘hate crime’.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

It is simply bizarre to suggest that the normalization of homosexuality has not required any accommodation from other people. Look at the world around you!
But I do agree it is all driven by faith. Do we believe there *should* be limits to the expression and manifestation of our feelings and desires? Could such a question be answered based on anything other than faith?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

You’ve completely misunderstood her comment. Read it again.

S Wilkinson
S Wilkinson
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I disagree. Sexual orientation is rooted in “actual bodily existence” – it’s about how your biological body responds to other biological bodies. Transgenderism exists only in the mind; it’s totally divorced from any notion of biological reality and relates to sexuality only as a fetish in some men’s minds (autogynophilia).

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Nonsense. Same sex attraction is real, physical and happens in other mammals. ‘Gender’ ideology is profoundly homophobic.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

When transwomen have sex with a man isn’t that really being gay?

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I can see why you would use the word ‘unnaturalness’; it has great power to provoke. And also why you, like many trans activists, would try to draw a parallel between homosexuality and transgenderism.
But it’s a false and disingenuous comparison. Homosexuality is about our sexual preferences and behaviour. It doesn’t require anybody else to change their understanding of reality to be accommodated. Transgenderism is a faith, with no objectivity or science to support it. Those of us who are skeptical are told that we must either buy in to the belief that a person can be ‘born in the wrong body’ or accept that we are bigots.
Attempting to draw a parallel between homosexuality and transgenderism is like attempting to draw a parallel between gravity and Scientology. It simply won’t do.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

You’ve completely misunderstood her comment. Read it again.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

It’s a high bar; this is a fantastic piece of writing – illuminating, analytical, critical of the ideology that has brought Page to such a pretty pass, yet deeply and genuinely sympathetic of her plight.
For me, the stand out point, the nugget of truth from which everything else follows, was this:

‘Ellen’s experiences are tied to her femaleness, and more than that, her lesbianism.’

Last edited 10 months ago by Huw Parker
Geraldine Kelley
Geraldine Kelley
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

This has been especially true in America where parents are far more at ease with mutilating their children’s bodies than accepting they are gay. Read Helen Joyce on this phenomenon.

JP Martin
JP Martin
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

And she’s in very bad company. The theocratic government of Iran takes a similar position. There, homosexuality is punishable by death but surgical interventions are accepted.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

All my previous comments were deleted by Unherd (because my fellow Unherd readers disagreed with them so virulently?), so I will add a new one here, again rejecting your conclusion. Perhaps the censors will be too busy to catch this one…
T is grouped with LGB because they depend on the same essential conceit – that our genuinely held feelings and desires trump our biological directives… that the mind and the heart are greater than the body… that ‘nature’ deserves no deference but should be reshaped by us in our quest for authenticity… that even our most intimate and essential bodily functions are simply tools to express the ‘inner me’ and thereby to carve out some slim perch on which to stand in the face of the apparent meaninglessness of our coming deaths.
I find it ironic, sad, funny, I don’t know what, that so many Unherd readers refuse to acknowledge the very strong connection between T and LGB. T is traversing the same path – in scientific consensus, in religious acceptance, in social opprobrium, in legal recognition, you name it – that LGB trailblazed over the past half-century.
We either must examine anew the arguments given us by LGB, or we must accept T, too.

R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

LGB had none of the massive institutional backing that the T has had since 2012 in the previous half a century. T doesn’t walk the same path and beyond superficialities of ‘kink’has virtually nothing in common. Subjective feelings are utterly irrelevant, and the diffrences between attraction and gender “incongruety” gigantic.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I understand where you are coming from with your argument but I think there is a fundamental difference between being gay and even having your same-sex relationship being officially acknowledged as a marriage and transitioning.

If I were a fundamental Christian (which I am not) I might regard gays as being in a state of sin and their right to marry as an abomination, but my own faith and beliefs are in no way affected and it is always open to gay individuals to see the light and put sin away.

In contrast conventions established to ensure women feel safer in refuges, hospitals, prisons and other male-free spaces are adversely affected by enforcement of the trans ideology and more tragically still those that have been persuaded to mutilate their bodies to simulate the sex they were not borne to can not simply change their mind and return to their former state. Moreover, women face competition in sport from men purporting to be women with all the advantages that provides them – no woman has ever protested that lesbians should be excluded from their sport whereas in many sports women are deeply unhappy at the intrusion of men purporting to be women in their sport.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

It’s very strange that Kirk’s points – which were totally reasonable and relatively uncontroversial positions before homosexuality was fetishized by emotional partisans – are being met with such hostility on Unherd. If I’m being honest, it’s not homophobia that inspires my revulsion at the sight two men showing each other romantic affection, it is a rational masculine reflex. And It doesn’t mean heterosexual men can’t love, sympathize with, support and protect homosexuals. It just means that we’re not willing to lie to ourselves or others about same-sex relationships having the same intrinsic value to society as opposite sex relationships. Societies don’t flourish because of but rather in spite of existence of same-sex couples. Opposite sex couples are integral to a flourishing society. Same sex attraction is an artifact.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Sisyphus Jones

And the days of dispassionate research on the physiological and psychological origins of same-sex attraction are done. Whatever we think we know about the issue, it’s all we’re ever gonna know from a scientific standpoint. No sane researcher in the modern academy would risk discovering that homosexuals are the result of trauma or neglect, or a combination of environmental factors when doing so would get them ostracized or offed.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Sisyphus Jones

And the days of dispassionate research on the physiological and psychological origins of same-sex attraction are done. Whatever we think we know about the issue, it’s all we’re ever gonna know from a scientific standpoint. No sane researcher in the modern academy would risk discovering that homosexuals are the result of trauma or neglect, or a combination of environmental factors when doing so would get them ostracized or offed.

R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

LGB had none of the massive institutional backing that the T has had since 2012 in the previous half a century. T doesn’t walk the same path and beyond superficialities of ‘kink’has virtually nothing in common. Subjective feelings are utterly irrelevant, and the diffrences between attraction and gender “incongruety” gigantic.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I understand where you are coming from with your argument but I think there is a fundamental difference between being gay and even having your same-sex relationship being officially acknowledged as a marriage and transitioning.

If I were a fundamental Christian (which I am not) I might regard gays as being in a state of sin and their right to marry as an abomination, but my own faith and beliefs are in no way affected and it is always open to gay individuals to see the light and put sin away.

In contrast conventions established to ensure women feel safer in refuges, hospitals, prisons and other male-free spaces are adversely affected by enforcement of the trans ideology and more tragically still those that have been persuaded to mutilate their bodies to simulate the sex they were not borne to can not simply change their mind and return to their former state. Moreover, women face competition in sport from men purporting to be women with all the advantages that provides them – no woman has ever protested that lesbians should be excluded from their sport whereas in many sports women are deeply unhappy at the intrusion of men purporting to be women in their sport.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

It’s very strange that Kirk’s points – which were totally reasonable and relatively uncontroversial positions before homosexuality was fetishized by emotional partisans – are being met with such hostility on Unherd. If I’m being honest, it’s not homophobia that inspires my revulsion at the sight two men showing each other romantic affection, it is a rational masculine reflex. And It doesn’t mean heterosexual men can’t love, sympathize with, support and protect homosexuals. It just means that we’re not willing to lie to ourselves or others about same-sex relationships having the same intrinsic value to society as opposite sex relationships. Societies don’t flourish because of but rather in spite of existence of same-sex couples. Opposite sex couples are integral to a flourishing society. Same sex attraction is an artifact.

Diane Theobald
Diane Theobald
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander
Last edited 10 months ago by Diane Theobald
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

The stand out point for me is there are still people – perhaps yourself among them – that think they can separate the unnaturalness that occurs when men think they’re women, from the unnaturalness that occurs when men think they should have sex with other men. What is the principle that justifies drawing a line between them?
The reason the T is appended to the LGB is because they all depend on the same essential prioritization of what feels right to you, over your biology. They all represent the elevation of humanity’s hopes and dreams over the reality of humanity’s actual bodily existence. In a sense they are the apex of the Western Enlightenment project; in another sense they are bizarre denials of the truth that will of course end badly for everyone.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

It’s a high bar; this is a fantastic piece of writing – illuminating, analytical, critical of the ideology that has brought Page to such a pretty pass, yet deeply and genuinely sympathetic of her plight.
For me, the stand out point, the nugget of truth from which everything else follows, was this:

‘Ellen’s experiences are tied to her femaleness, and more than that, her lesbianism.’

Last edited 10 months ago by Huw Parker
Geraldine Kelley
Geraldine Kelley
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

This has been especially true in America where parents are far more at ease with mutilating their children’s bodies than accepting they are gay. Read Helen Joyce on this phenomenon.

JP Martin
JP Martin
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

And she’s in very bad company. The theocratic government of Iran takes a similar position. There, homosexuality is punishable by death but surgical interventions are accepted.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

All my previous comments were deleted by Unherd (because my fellow Unherd readers disagreed with them so virulently?), so I will add a new one here, again rejecting your conclusion. Perhaps the censors will be too busy to catch this one…
T is grouped with LGB because they depend on the same essential conceit – that our genuinely held feelings and desires trump our biological directives… that the mind and the heart are greater than the body… that ‘nature’ deserves no deference but should be reshaped by us in our quest for authenticity… that even our most intimate and essential bodily functions are simply tools to express the ‘inner me’ and thereby to carve out some slim perch on which to stand in the face of the apparent meaninglessness of our coming deaths.
I find it ironic, sad, funny, I don’t know what, that so many Unherd readers refuse to acknowledge the very strong connection between T and LGB. T is traversing the same path – in scientific consensus, in religious acceptance, in social opprobrium, in legal recognition, you name it – that LGB trailblazed over the past half-century.
We either must examine anew the arguments given us by LGB, or we must accept T, too.

Diane Theobald
Diane Theobald
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander
Last edited 10 months ago by Diane Theobald
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
10 months ago

The stand out point for me is that Page’s identity as a lesbian was rejected by her mother. Her mother preferred her to be trans. It reminded me of the former CEO of Mermaids who admitted that her son became trans because his father couldn’t accept he was gay. It highlights how the trans movement is counter-gay and shouldn’t be grouped with LGB. It’s a step backwards – the real conversion therapy (as it is in Iran).

Last edited 10 months ago by Judy Englander
Tina Lennon
Tina Lennon
10 months ago

What a confusing and sad piece of writing. This woman is referred to as a he and a she in the same paragraph. She will always be a she, a her and a lesbian.She read a trans memoir and suddenly realized this was who she was. Words are powerful to troubled people. The writer of this piece should remember that.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Tina Lennon

I found the use of he and she confusing too, but I suspect it was deliberate.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Tina Lennon

Yes and she has now written a memoir that is likely to influence other troubled and abused girls (maybe boys as well).

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
10 months ago
Reply to  Tina Lennon

I found the use of he and she confusing too, but I suspect it was deliberate.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
10 months ago
Reply to  Tina Lennon

Yes and she has now written a memoir that is likely to influence other troubled and abused girls (maybe boys as well).

Tina Lennon
Tina Lennon
10 months ago

What a confusing and sad piece of writing. This woman is referred to as a he and a she in the same paragraph. She will always be a she, a her and a lesbian.She read a trans memoir and suddenly realized this was who she was. Words are powerful to troubled people. The writer of this piece should remember that.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago

Odd how so many of these trans stories revolve around abuse and assault suffered by the person prior to transitioning, the change explicitly recognized as a legitimate psychological and pathological response to to trauma, and yet is still held out as perfectly normal. Don’t these stories demonstrate that without the abuse there wouldn’t have been the compulsion to transition? Is it normal and natural or is it a response to trauma? It seems like the entire movement wants to have it both ways.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
10 months ago

Odd how so many of these trans stories revolve around abuse and assault suffered by the person prior to transitioning, the change explicitly recognized as a legitimate psychological and pathological response to to trauma, and yet is still held out as perfectly normal. Don’t these stories demonstrate that without the abuse there wouldn’t have been the compulsion to transition? Is it normal and natural or is it a response to trauma? It seems like the entire movement wants to have it both ways.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
10 months ago

The other sad thing about this is that he won’t be able to work as a mainstream actor again. His star appeal was as a woman – not as a man.

Peter Strider
Peter Strider
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Yeah right, I mean who has ever heard of a movie studio giving prime work to actors based on their identity or gender regardless of audience preference?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

She now looks like a small teenaged boy and will never look like a grown man, which was apparently her goal. Peter Pan leaps to mind, since Aladdin was into Jasmine, but Peter wasn’t into Wendy.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago

Exactly, a teenaged boy.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago

Exactly, a teenaged boy.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Very true, she can’t play a man very convincingly and presumably wouldn’t want to play a woman, so she will have to hold out for the rate opportunity to play trans man.

I hope it is worth it for her.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Or have a different career behind the camera.

Last edited 10 months ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Or have a different career behind the camera.

Last edited 10 months ago by Clare Knight
Peter Strider
Peter Strider
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Yeah right, I mean who has ever heard of a movie studio giving prime work to actors based on their identity or gender regardless of audience preference?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

She now looks like a small teenaged boy and will never look like a grown man, which was apparently her goal. Peter Pan leaps to mind, since Aladdin was into Jasmine, but Peter wasn’t into Wendy.

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Very true, she can’t play a man very convincingly and presumably wouldn’t want to play a woman, so she will have to hold out for the rate opportunity to play trans man.

I hope it is worth it for her.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
10 months ago

The other sad thing about this is that he won’t be able to work as a mainstream actor again. His star appeal was as a woman – not as a man.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago

” Over and over, Page is informed with violence that her body is not hers.” Chilling.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

And, ironically, never more true than it is now.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

And, ironically, never more true than it is now.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
10 months ago

” Over and over, Page is informed with violence that her body is not hers.” Chilling.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months ago

If an adult wishes to transition from one outward appearance sex to another that’s their affair. But the tragedy of Page is that as a woman she was very cute and a wonderful actress with a great career ahead of her; but as “man” it is self-evident to anybody who cares to look, that Page still looks like a young woman pretending to dress up as man. The physique simply isn’t there. It’s not just the height but the the facial features and the body shape. A bit like in the scene from Charlie’s Angels where the 3 angels dressed up in suits to break into a massive vault. Nobody could be fooled that they ever looked like men, even with phony moustaches on!

Last edited 10 months ago by Johann Strauss
Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Exactly this – no matter how wide the shoulder pads s/he still looks like a woman – the high cheek bones, the rounded chin, the lack of stubble – you can’t erase these things.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I think the tragedy of Page is that she believes this damaging nonsense, and is prepared to medicate and mutilate herself in a desperate attempt to make it real that can only compromise her health and well-being in the long run.
I certainly don’t think what you appear to be suggesting, that the tragedy of Page is in what she looks like to others – although ironically that may have played a part in her being taken in by this ideology in the first place.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Exactly this – no matter how wide the shoulder pads s/he still looks like a woman – the high cheek bones, the rounded chin, the lack of stubble – you can’t erase these things.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

I think the tragedy of Page is that she believes this damaging nonsense, and is prepared to medicate and mutilate herself in a desperate attempt to make it real that can only compromise her health and well-being in the long run.
I certainly don’t think what you appear to be suggesting, that the tragedy of Page is in what she looks like to others – although ironically that may have played a part in her being taken in by this ideology in the first place.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months ago

If an adult wishes to transition from one outward appearance sex to another that’s their affair. But the tragedy of Page is that as a woman she was very cute and a wonderful actress with a great career ahead of her; but as “man” it is self-evident to anybody who cares to look, that Page still looks like a young woman pretending to dress up as man. The physique simply isn’t there. It’s not just the height but the the facial features and the body shape. A bit like in the scene from Charlie’s Angels where the 3 angels dressed up in suits to break into a massive vault. Nobody could be fooled that they ever looked like men, even with phony moustaches on!

Last edited 10 months ago by Johann Strauss
S R
S R
10 months ago

We need some kind of society wide CBT.

Also, I’m sure it’s challenging for girls to go through puberty. But how helpful is it for society to keep reinforcing to girls that it’s shit to be a woman and their lives are over, etc. etc.

I would have liked to know about the places in Page’s memoir where Ditum is more sceptical, this seems too much like confirmation of Ditum’s priors, though I still found this piece to be good.

S R
S R
10 months ago

We need some kind of society wide CBT.

Also, I’m sure it’s challenging for girls to go through puberty. But how helpful is it for society to keep reinforcing to girls that it’s shit to be a woman and their lives are over, etc. etc.

I would have liked to know about the places in Page’s memoir where Ditum is more sceptical, this seems too much like confirmation of Ditum’s priors, though I still found this piece to be good.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago

It seems that there is a direct correlation between transmen, lesbians, and early, childhood sexual abuse, particularly being raped by a father. I remember knowing lesbians who shared that this had happened to them. Nowadays, perhaps, they would feel comfortable transitioning because it’s more acceptable. The irony is it’s like identifying with the enemy.

Last edited 10 months ago by Clare Knight
Jenny Caneen
Jenny Caneen
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Alas, the number of children who are sexually abused is roughly 1 in 4. Hence if childhood sexual abuse were the cause of lesbians becoming trans men, there would be a whole lot more of them. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childsexualabuse/fastfact.html#:~:text=Although%20estimates%20vary%20across%20studies,States%20experience%20child%20sexual%20abuse.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jenny Caneen
M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenny Caneen

Like, if you expose 100 people to a pathogen, but only 20 become ill, it means the illness isn’t caused by the pathogen?

M. Jamieson
M. Jamieson
10 months ago
Reply to  Jenny Caneen

Like, if you expose 100 people to a pathogen, but only 20 become ill, it means the illness isn’t caused by the pathogen?

Jenny Caneen
Jenny Caneen
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Alas, the number of children who are sexually abused is roughly 1 in 4. Hence if childhood sexual abuse were the cause of lesbians becoming trans men, there would be a whole lot more of them. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childsexualabuse/fastfact.html#:~:text=Although%20estimates%20vary%20across%20studies,States%20experience%20child%20sexual%20abuse.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jenny Caneen
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago

It seems that there is a direct correlation between transmen, lesbians, and early, childhood sexual abuse, particularly being raped by a father. I remember knowing lesbians who shared that this had happened to them. Nowadays, perhaps, they would feel comfortable transitioning because it’s more acceptable. The irony is it’s like identifying with the enemy.

Last edited 10 months ago by Clare Knight
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago

She’s still a woman. That’s just a fact.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
10 months ago

She’s still a woman. That’s just a fact.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
10 months ago

Out of the millions of yards of print, a simple truth is being restated, some young girls find the onset of puberty and the development of their womanhood distressing. At the root of it can be stereotyping, ‘your in the pink corner OK !, but some of it is much more profound and down to abuse. For the latter, there are three journeys I have noticed.
1) Anorexia, is a denial of womanhood.
2) Rejecting men and drifting toward other women, who ‘understand’ them.
3) Self-Mutilation. (now corporatised).
It’s very clear we need a first-class psychologist class who are not intimated by any ‘ism’s and help people manage their way to peace and survival. The first rule is that if they display multiple mental health issues NEVER put the solution down to one outcome instead work through the palimpsest to the core.
If we start by accepting there are an exceptionally small number of well-functioning successful people, who just happen to have gender dysphoria then the moment the professionals meet someone with multiple issues, indeed more than one issue, the alarm bells should ring very loudly.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
10 months ago

Out of the millions of yards of print, a simple truth is being restated, some young girls find the onset of puberty and the development of their womanhood distressing. At the root of it can be stereotyping, ‘your in the pink corner OK !, but some of it is much more profound and down to abuse. For the latter, there are three journeys I have noticed.
1) Anorexia, is a denial of womanhood.
2) Rejecting men and drifting toward other women, who ‘understand’ them.
3) Self-Mutilation. (now corporatised).
It’s very clear we need a first-class psychologist class who are not intimated by any ‘ism’s and help people manage their way to peace and survival. The first rule is that if they display multiple mental health issues NEVER put the solution down to one outcome instead work through the palimpsest to the core.
If we start by accepting there are an exceptionally small number of well-functioning successful people, who just happen to have gender dysphoria then the moment the professionals meet someone with multiple issues, indeed more than one issue, the alarm bells should ring very loudly.

carl taylor
carl taylor
10 months ago

Interesting to note that in early pantomime productions, Aladdin was traditionally played by a girl.

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  carl taylor

Often still is.

RM Parker
RM Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

Yes, “principal boys” were commonplace in pantomime when I were a lad…

RM Parker
RM Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  Huw Parker

Yes, “principal boys” were commonplace in pantomime when I were a lad…

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago
Reply to  carl taylor

Often still is.

carl taylor
carl taylor
10 months ago

Interesting to note that in early pantomime productions, Aladdin was traditionally played by a girl.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
10 months ago

This is such a sad story – it seems Page was a young boyish lesbian but her formative experiences in childhood and as a young woman led her to hate her femaleness and indulge in radical surgery. She is still a lesbian, she doesn’t even look like a man, barely a boy in fact. She has ruined her career – all for what? Doesn’t even sound like she has obtained peace of mind from her transition. The trans lobby have a lot to answer for, as have the homophobes – many of whom are in said trans lobby. I find transgenderism to be profoundly homophobic – so many teenage lesbians now being convinced that they are actually heterosexual boys in the wrong body.

Last edited 10 months ago by Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
10 months ago

This is such a sad story – it seems Page was a young boyish lesbian but her formative experiences in childhood and as a young woman led her to hate her femaleness and indulge in radical surgery. She is still a lesbian, she doesn’t even look like a man, barely a boy in fact. She has ruined her career – all for what? Doesn’t even sound like she has obtained peace of mind from her transition. The trans lobby have a lot to answer for, as have the homophobes – many of whom are in said trans lobby. I find transgenderism to be profoundly homophobic – so many teenage lesbians now being convinced that they are actually heterosexual boys in the wrong body.

Last edited 10 months ago by Nikki Hayes
Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
10 months ago

I would could that a vacuous and fictionalized re-telling of the tragic life of a girl was a pretty good actress at 20.

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
10 months ago

I would could that a vacuous and fictionalized re-telling of the tragic life of a girl was a pretty good actress at 20.

Terry M
Terry M
10 months ago

When people say they “were born in the wrong body” they are indicating they believe that there is something more to them than their bodies, i.e. spirits or souls. This is mind-body dualism, i.e. nonsense.

R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

It’s interesting that Britney got sectioned for cutting off her hair while these borderline schizophrenics experiencing serious delusions about their bodies and identities are celebrated at every turn.

R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

It’s interesting that Britney got sectioned for cutting off her hair while these borderline schizophrenics experiencing serious delusions about their bodies and identities are celebrated at every turn.

Terry M
Terry M
10 months ago

When people say they “were born in the wrong body” they are indicating they believe that there is something more to them than their bodies, i.e. spirits or souls. This is mind-body dualism, i.e. nonsense.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
10 months ago

Ellen Page — a person who no longer exists, and who by strict application of the rules of gender identity never existed 
How utterly confusing and confused. A person who “never existed”, nevertheless “transitioned” into a “trans” version of its opposite gender. The person “never existed” under a “dead name” which is well known but shall not be uttered. These sound like the mysteries of some esoteric faith whose totems and taboos must be accepted blindly as part of the initiation into it.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
10 months ago

Ellen Page — a person who no longer exists, and who by strict application of the rules of gender identity never existed 
How utterly confusing and confused. A person who “never existed”, nevertheless “transitioned” into a “trans” version of its opposite gender. The person “never existed” under a “dead name” which is well known but shall not be uttered. These sound like the mysteries of some esoteric faith whose totems and taboos must be accepted blindly as part of the initiation into it.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
10 months ago

Is there any woman on this site who has not been afraid walking alone in a street at night when she thought she was followed? When she felt cornered by a man who is fysically stronger. Who has not felt hands in places where they should not be? Who has not been kissed on the mouth, just by accident? Who has been scanning the surroundings for passers by to help her out of a situation in which she felt threathened? Men are fysically stronger than women and can pose a serious threat. Pretending they are women does not change the situation. Unfortunately, women are not able to fight for their interests and show remarkable little solidarity with their sisters. Result is a second rate position in society thanks to a bunch of men who like to wear dresses and high heels. Patriarchy is an easy stroll in the woods, compared to what women will be faced with in the not so distant future, if they do not get their act together and form one front. Half of the population marginalised by a minute fraction of the population. What a clown’s world.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
10 months ago

Is there any woman on this site who has not been afraid walking alone in a street at night when she thought she was followed? When she felt cornered by a man who is fysically stronger. Who has not felt hands in places where they should not be? Who has not been kissed on the mouth, just by accident? Who has been scanning the surroundings for passers by to help her out of a situation in which she felt threathened? Men are fysically stronger than women and can pose a serious threat. Pretending they are women does not change the situation. Unfortunately, women are not able to fight for their interests and show remarkable little solidarity with their sisters. Result is a second rate position in society thanks to a bunch of men who like to wear dresses and high heels. Patriarchy is an easy stroll in the woods, compared to what women will be faced with in the not so distant future, if they do not get their act together and form one front. Half of the population marginalised by a minute fraction of the population. What a clown’s world.

Cate Terwilliger
Cate Terwilliger
10 months ago

A perspicacious and compassionate reflection on “transition” as a form of armor for women whose sex — whether they are lesbian or straight — puts them in harm’s way. This helps me see “transman” as a kind of Stone Butch 2.0 — a way of performing male that protects against the vulnerabilities, and liabilities, of being female.
I am genuinely perplexed, however, by the writer’s use of male pronouns for Elliot. However kindly intended, I think this practice harmful. Language capture helped propel trans ideology; we should not indulge it. Nor is there anything disrespectful about biological truth: Whether Elliot or Ellen, Page is a woman. We can feel compassion toward wounded, distressed people who make the decision to “transition” without obliquely embracing the madness of gender ideology by using pronouns that indicate we believe they have actually changed sex.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago

Exactly! I felt disappointed that Ditum caved to the pronoun thing. I have read other stories, not about trans people, where the pronoun thing was used, and I had to read it many times to figure out what was being said. It’s frustrating.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
10 months ago

I am totally skeptical of the trans movement – but I will use any adult persons preferred pronouns if they ask – unless they try and compel me or threaten me.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Absolutely. Rob – Robert; Steve – Stephen; He – She. Respecting a polite request when referring to another is simply good manners.
I’m happy to make anyone comfortable; doesn’t mean I buy into the whole gender ideology schtick. Try to compel me, however . . .

Daria Angelova
Daria Angelova
10 months ago
Reply to  Red Reynard

I used to feel the same way, until it struck me that from the outside, politeness and compliance look exactly the same even if the intentions in your head are not the same. At this point, the amount of politeness I’m willing to extend is to avoid pronouns altogether.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
10 months ago
Reply to  Daria Angelova

I second that, Daria.

Michel Starenky
Michel Starenky
10 months ago

It must be Elliot Page week. There was an article about Page in the Toronto Star today.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 hours ago

The doctor who cut her breasts off is in fact a criminal. A doctor’s duty is to heal and not affirm a lie which she was brought to believe. Never was anyone born in the wrong body.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
10 months ago

Page mentions an “acquaintance” who told her, after she came out for the first time, “I’m going to f**k you to make you realise you aren’t gay.” 

A real Page-turner.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
10 months ago

Page mentions an “acquaintance” who told her, after she came out for the first time, “I’m going to f**k you to make you realise you aren’t gay.” 

A real Page-turner.

Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
10 months ago

This article is simply rambling and incoherent. It also seems to treat hearsay as fact.

Stephen Magee
Stephen Magee
10 months ago

This article is simply rambling and incoherent. It also seems to treat hearsay as fact.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

Who is page? as if I cared?…

Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago

Firstly, you have the internet. Secondly, why are you here?

Last edited 10 months ago by Huw Parker
Huw Parker
Huw Parker
10 months ago

Firstly, you have the internet. Secondly, why are you here?

Last edited 10 months ago by Huw Parker
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months ago

Who is page? as if I cared?…