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Sir Ian McKellen as Magneto in X-Men: The Last Stand

As Hollywood has been embracing people of different sexual orientations more often, more stars have become open about theirs. But years before this was the norm, X-Men’s Ian McKellen was one of the industry’s few openly gay stars. The acclaimed actor has used his celebrity status to advocate for gay rights. So it’s not surprising that McKellen is happy about former X-Men co-star Elliot Page coming out as transgender.

Throughout the year, Ian McKellen has been revered for his acting skills on stage, film and television. Unlike the reception of Elliot Page’s coming out in 2020, he came out in 1988, a time where being openly gay in Hollywood (or in the public) wasn’t widely accepted. The actor managed to keep his career while encouraging others to come out as well. McKellen talked with Attitude about his excitement over Page’s much-talked-about coming out:

I remember Elliot Page, in one of the X-Men, sat as close as we are now. 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? 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. And I’m so happy for Elliot. And so disappointed in myself that I didn’t detect what their difficulty was with communicating.

Ian McKellen’s words, while expressing excitement, seem to be more self-reflective and disappointed in his actions (or lack thereof) when it came to Elliot Page’s possible sexuality struggles. But for many young people (or people in general), finding themselves is a journey many must experience on their own.

Like Ian McKellen, many were caught off guard by Elliot Page coming out as transgender. Page gained international recognition as Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand, who later appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past. This eventually led them to their breakout role in the critically acclaimed hit film Juno, paving the way to Oscar and BAFTA nominations. In recent years, Page has gone on to produce and direct films and television series such as the 2019 documentary There's Something in the Water and Viceland’s Gaycation. Page currently appears in the hit Netflix series The Umbrella Academy.

Ian McKellen’s long and celebrated career began in the 1950s as a renowned theater actor in London. His film and television career didn’t take until the 1990s when he starred in Six Degrees of Separation and Tales of the City. But his real breakthrough came in the 2000s through the X-Men and Lord of the Rings franchises as Magneto and Gandalf, respectively. In recent years, he has appeared in hit films such as Beauty and the Beast, The Good Liar and Cats.

The actor shouldn’t feel bad about being unaware of Elliot Page’s sexual journey, as he crawled so they could walk with no regrets or backlash. With that said, you can check out Ian McKellen and Page in X-Men: The Last Stand on DVD, Blu-ray and HD Blu-ray, as well as streaming on YouTube, Prime Video and iTunes.

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