When a celebrity comes out as trans, there’s often a following news cycle about whether it was reported accurately and responsibly. Elliot Page’s recent news was handled with surprising speed and sensitivity by the world’s free encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
On Wednesday, Juno and Umbrella Academy star Elliot Page came out publicly as transgender. He made the announcement on social media, saying “I love that I am trans”.
— Elliot Page (@TheElliotPage) December 1, 2020
The announcement subsequently generated headlines around the world. And, as with any time someone comes out as trans, people noticed if publications misgendered — meaning to refer to a trans individual by a gender other than the one of their choosing — or deadnamed — which is when someone refers to a trans person by their former name — Page when covering his decision.
And social media users noticed that Wikipedia did a surprisingly good job with the transition.
“Within roughly two hours and with relatively little dissonance, @Wikipedia editors had a fully updated post for @TheElliotPage, including a redirect. Some back-and-forth about categories, how and where in the entry to recognize his transition, what to include,” one user wrote.
Within roughly two hours and with relatively little dissonance, @Wikipedia editors had a fully updated post for @TheElliotPage, including a redirect. Some back-and-forth about categories, how and where in the entry to recognize his transition, what to include. pic.twitter.com/uACeqh2jir
— Staci D Kramer (@sdkstl) December 1, 2020
In a short amount of time, the site’s volunteer editors had updated Page’s entry to reflect his choice of pronouns, his decision, and set it up so that any search for Page’s former name would take to you the current entry with much ado.
— Asgard (@Newasgard3000) December 1, 2020
Unfortunately, there still was some trolling but that was quickly dealt with. Overall, Wikipedia continues to earn its reputation as one of the few nice, orderly places on the internet.
Coming out as a trans often means having to deal with a lot of administrative issues. Trans people have for long times had to battle against rigid structures around identity like government ID cards to have their gender accurately reflected. This is changing but there’s still a long way to go.
Wikipedia’s swift and no-nonsense change to Page’s profile reflects their commitment to telling the truth. And the truth, in this case, is that Elliot Page identifies as transgender.