Transgender teenager explains why Elliot Page’s deadnaming is harmful Article


Teen says trans role models can change children’s lives

As a young and queer growing up in Halifax, Hanley Smith, 18, always knew who Canadian actor Elliot Page was.

Mainly because they come from exactly the same neighborhood.

“I was always very aware of who they were and what they did,” Hanley told CBC Kids News. “An adult and queer person [is] a magical thing to see as a young queer person.

Now they have something else in common.

Earlier this week, Oscar nominated actor Elliot Page – best known for films such as Juno and Start, as well as the Netflix series Umbrella Academy – shared that he was transgender.

“I love that I’m trans,” Page said in an Instagram post. “And I like the fact that I’m queer. And the closer I stand and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I blossom.

Page also thanked others in the trans community for inspiring him and said his pronouns are he / they.

Page has received a ton of support from others on social media, including Netflix and queer Canadian musicians Tegan and Sara.

What is “deadnaming” and why is it harmful?

Page’s announcement sparked a conversation about “deadnaming,” which refers to the use of a trans person’s former name.

You may have noticed that CBC, along with other news platforms, made a conscious decision not to use Page’s old name in their coverage.

Part of this is because trans people say using their old name can be harmful.

Hanley, who is transgender and non-binary, said hearing their names dead made it difficult to step out of their past.

Hanley Smith (they / them) is transgender and non-binary. They are members of the board of directors of the Youth Project, a Nova Scotia-based non-profit organization for queer youth. (Image submitted by Hanley Smith)

“Every time I hear my death name it makes me think, oh yeah, other people will never see me as the person I see myself, and that’s really hard,” Hanley said.

They said the same applies to Page.

“He didn’t click for the people who, no, Page was never that person, it was just the title given to them before they could find each other.” ”

Nancy Waugh, editor-in-chief of CBC Nova Scotia, said CBC’s choice to avoid using Elliot’s dead name is both a matter of respect for Page and journalistic accuracy.

“In our journalistic standards and practices, we talk about our commitment to accuracy, fairness and balance,” she said. “Elliot Page says that’s the name he wants to be known by, so it’s precision work. ”

How Elliot Page’s ad affects trans kids

Hanley said that for young children struggling with their gender identity, seeing someone like Page can be life changing.

“When you’re young and hear about a queer or queer person, it really changes your life because it says there’s something outside of what you’ve been taught,” said they said.

The tweet reads: Nice to meet you Elliot!  Thanks to you I have found myself and have something to watch now.

Hanley, who uses their pronouns, identifies as both transgender and non-binary, meaning they don’t see their gender as purely male or female.

Non-binary people can see themselves as a mixture of the two, neither one nor the other, or even see themselves in a third sex that they define themselves.

Hanley said that the fact that Page came out as having both him and them pronouns was “beautiful” and powerful, “because it also gives visibility to the idea of ​​being nonbinary.

Concerns about hate online

But Hanley said Page’s announcement was “a mixture of pride and concern” as they know how hateful trans people are online and Hanley said the hate “is already happening.”

Hanley said that’s what makes Page especially brave.

“They not only put their identity and their personality on the line, but also their job, their safety and their chances of getting new roles,” Hanley said.

With files from CBC News

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