Elliot Page, the actress long known as “Ellen Page” who came out as a female-to-male transgender in December, opened up about undergoing surgery to remove her breasts in a wide-ranging interview with Time published on Tuesday. In the interview, she leveraged her transgender identity to oppose legislation that would protect fairness in women’s sports and protect kids from undergoing experimental transgender “treatments” that have left people scarred for life.
“With deep respect for those who came before me, gratitude for those who have supported me & great concern for the generation of trans youth we must all protect, please join me and decry anti-trans legislation, hate & discrimination in all its forms,” Page tweeted with a picture of her image on Time‘s cover.
With deep respect for those who came before me, gratitude for those who have supported me & great concern for the generation of trans youth we must all protect, please join me and decry anti-trans legislation, hate & discrimination in all its forms. pic.twitter.com/5yr8TYywTn
— Elliot Page (@TheElliotPage) March 16, 2021
In the interview, Page attacked two kinds of legislation aimed at combatting the fallout of transgender activism: bills to protect fairness in women’s sports and bills to protect children from experimental transgender “treatments” that often have life-long consequences.
Time reported that Page “has been mostly quiet on social media,” except for her tweet supporting the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) campaign against Alabama’s law to protect children from transgender “treatments.”
“Efforts to criminalize trans kids are deadly and we need to fight back against Alabama’s HB1/SB10,” Page tweeted, tagging the ACLU’s Alabama chapter. “Trans kids’ lives depend on stopping this bill. Tell Alabama lawmakers to [protect trans kids].”
H.B. 1 and its companion bill, S.B. 10, together known as the Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, would prohibit experimental transgender “treatments” on children who cannot give informed consent to permanent life-altering procedures.
There is no evidence that transgender surgery improves the mental health outcomes of gender dysphoric people. Men and women who formerly identified as transgender and underwent surgery have grown to reject transgender identity and lament the damage they did to their own bodies. Last year, Britain’s High Court ruled that children under age 16 lack the ability to consent to “puberty-blocking” drugs and cross-sex hormones that have irreversible life-long effects. Children who undergo such “treatments” often persist in transgender identity and lose their ability to have children later in life.
Yet in her interview with Time, Page attacked Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for pressing President Joe Biden’s transgender HHS nominee Dr. Rachel Levine on whether or not he supports genital mutilation of children in the service of transgender identity. According to Time, Page “brings it up almost immediately, and seems both heartbroken and determined.”
“[Page] wants to emphasize that top surgery, for [Page], was ‘not only life-changing but lifesaving.’ [Page] implores people to educate themselves about trans lives, to learn how crucial medical care can be, to understand that lack of access to it is one of the many reasons that an estimated 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide, according to one survey,” Time reported.
Suicide rates for people who suffer from gender dysphoria (the persistent identification with the gender opposite their biological sex) are tragically high, but no study has conclusively proven that invasive medical procedures to confirm a transgender identity actually improve mental health outcomes. One study claimed to have reached this conclusion, but a review of the data led the researchers to retract their claims.
While Page may describe her transgender surgery as “life-saving,” that surgery involved the removal of otherwise healthy breast tissue. While she can mutilate her body in this way, she cannot change the fact that, since the moment of conception and down to the cellular level, she is female, with XX chromosomes that set her body on a path to develop as a woman. Roman Catholic doctors and hospitals refuse to carry out elective surgeries like this because they remove a function from the body, arguably doing harm in violation of the Hippocratic oath.
Transgender activists claim that society must accept transgenderism, complete with invasive surgical alterations and various social changes, or gender dysphoric people will commit suicide. There is no proof to support this extremely manipulative argument, and many detransitioners have reported that transgender identity — and the medical “treatments” they undertook in pursuit of it — did them tremendous and long-lasting harm.
Page also attacked Republican bills aimed at preserving the fairness of girls’ and women’s sports by keeping biological males from competing against females. Time framed the issue as an attempt to “ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports.”
“Page played competitive soccer and vividly recalls the agony of being told [she] would have to play on the girls’ team once [she] aged out of mixed-gender squads,” Time reported. “After an appeal, Page was allowed to play with the boys for an additional year. Today, several bills list genitalia as a requirement for deciding who plays on which team. ‘I would have been in that position as a kid,’ Page says. ‘It’s horrific.'”
Time did not explain why Page wanted to play with boys at the time. Page did not openly identify as male until last year, but she told Time that she identified as a boy at age 9. Time used male pronouns to refer to Page throughout, but the circumstances around Page’s desire to play sports with boys remain unclear.
Time argued that American culture is “obsessed with femininity,” that “men’s bodies are less policed and scrutinized,” and that “patriarchal people tend to get more emotional about who is considered to be in the same category as their daughters.”
Yet Americans tend to be more concerned about biological males who identify as female competing in women’s sports than they are about biological females who identify as male competing in men’s sports — for obvious reasons.
Scientific journals have confirmed the obvious: males have biological advantages over females that cannot be erased simply by identifying as female. Due to their XY chromosomes, males experience more testosterone from the womb onward, even if they take experimental drugs to “block” puberty or to feminize their bodies.
Last year, female high school athletes filed a Title IX lawsuit challenging rules that allowed biological males who identify as female to compete in their sports leagues, denying them first- and second-place finishes. The lawsuit listed eight broad physiological athletic advantages males enjoy over girls and women after the onset of puberty, including larger lungs, larger hearts, an increased number of muscle fibers and muscle mass, higher myoglobin within muscle fibers (enabling faster transfer of oxygen to those muscles), larger and longer bones, increased mineral density in bones, and height.
Due to these long recognized advantages, sporting events have had different standards for boys and girls to accommodate the athletic striving of biological females. For example, women’s volleyball nets are 7 inches lower, the weight of high school shot put for boys is 36 percent heavier, the hurdle is 6 inches higher for boys, etc.
Duke Law School professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman warned that if women’s sports must admit biological men, “the very best women in the world would lose to literally thousands of boys and men, including thousands who would be considered second-tier.”
For whatever reason, Page wanted to keep competing against boys when she was young. Allowing her to compete against boys would not have upended the essential fairness in sports — if anything, it would have raised the bar for her competition higher. By contrast, when biological males who identify as female compete in women’s sports, they enjoy an undeniable leg up. Page’s experience is not an argument against laws to protect fairness in women’s sports.
Elliot Page has the freedom to identify however she wants, and to champion the causes she prefers, but her experience is not a trump card to prevent Americans from protecting kids from experimental transgender drugs or stop Americans from safeguarding fairness in women’s sports. The struggles of gender dysphoria are real, but that does not mean society must kowtow to the wishes of a struggling and vocal minority.
Much of transgender activism boils down to coercion using threats of suicide. Americans cannot take the bait.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.