Ian McKellen Says He's 'So Happy' for X-Men Costar Elliot Page for Coming Out as Transgender

Ian McKellen is applauding former X-Men costar Elliot Page for his decision to come out as transgender.

In a new interview with Attitude magazine, the 81-year-old British actor commended Page, 33, while reflecting on their time working together in the superhero film series.

"Everything gets better [when you come out because you get self-confidence]," said McKellen, who is openly gay. "So you get better in terms of relationships, friends of all sorts, family, if you’re lucky."

"And in my case, I think in every case, your acting is bound to change and improve," he added.

McKellen, who starred in the X-Men films as the villainous Magneto, recalled having a difficult time communicating with Page, who played Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat, on set at the time.

"I remember Elliot Page, in one of the X-Men, sat as close as we are now," he said. "And I had to speak when they’d finished, and I couldn’t hear what they were saying. Nobody could hear what they were saying. So, I said, 'Look, if you can’t speak up, would you mind when you’re finished speaking, just dropping your hand so I know when you’ve finished speaking?'

He continued, "And then they came out [as gay] years later and suddenly you couldn’t stop them talking. You heard everything."

"And now… they’re Elliot," McKellen said of Page. "And I’m so happy for Elliot. And so disappointed in myself that I didn’t detect what their difficulty was with communicating."

In December, Page released a lengthy and heartfelt statement on Twitter and Instagram, and shared: "I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot."

"I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life," the Oscar nominee wrote. "I feel overwhelming gratitude for the incredible people who have supported me along this journey. I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self. I’ve been endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community."

"I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society," Page added. "I also ask for patience. My joy is real, but it is also fragile. The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I’m scared of invasiveness, the hate, the 'jokes' and of violence."

Page received an overwhelming amount of support after coming out, including from his former Juno costar, Jennifer Garner, his Umbrella Academy costars, and his wife, Emma Portner.

"I am so proud of @elliotpage. Trans, queer and non-binary people are a gift to this world," Portner, 26, wrote on Instagram at the time.  "Elliot’s existence is a gift in and of itself. Shine on sweet E. Love you so much."

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