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Elliot Page Had Top Surgery After Coming Out as Transgender: It ‘Transformed My Life’

“My privilege has allowed me to have resources to get through and to be where I am today,” Page tells Time

In his first interview since coming out as transgender in December, actor Elliot Page said he had recently undergone top surgery that was “not only life-changing but lifesaving.”

In a cover story in Time magazine published Tuesday, Page emphasized that surgery is not a central part of transitioning for everyone, but said that for him, “It has completely transformed my life” after the “total hell” of puberty.

The “Umbrella Academy” actor also said that his coming out has been both a challenge — and an opportunity to share his experience as a transgender person. “Extremely influential people are spreading these myths and damaging rhetoric — every day you’re seeing our existence debated,” Page said in the interview, which is the first he’s given since disclosing his trans identity. “Transgender people are so very real.”

According to Time, Page volunteered early during the interview that he was recovering from top surgery, a procedure to remove breast tissue, when he came out as transgender last December.

The “Juno” actor told Time that top surgery for him was “not only life-changing but lifesaving,” and hopes people will educate themselves about the topic after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) ranted about “genital mutilation” during the Senate confirmation hearing of Dr. Rachel Levine, who stands to become the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the Senate.

“I’m really excited to act, now that I’m fully who I am, in this body,” Page said. “No matter the challenges and difficult moments of this, nothing amounts to getting to feel how I feel now.”

Page intends to use his status to help fight for trans rights for others: “My privilege has allowed me to have resources to get through and to be where I am today and of course I want to use that privilege and platform to help in the ways I can.”

GLAAD released a statement praising Page’s interview Tuesday, saying: “Not only is Elliot Page a fine actor, he is also an advocate for equality and justice who continues to educate the world about who trans people really are and about why the current barrage of anti-trans bills promoted by fearmongering politicians are so harmful and unnecessary.”

Read Page’s full interview here and check out his Time cover below: