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Last December, Elliot Page revealed in an Instagram post that he is trans. Now, Page has given his first interview since announcing that he’s transgender, speaking to TIME magazine about what he’s experienced since sharing the news with the world.

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Though the Umbrella Academy star’s announcement was met with an outpouring of love, he also expected to be faced with prejudice. “What I was anticipating was a lot of support and love and a massive amount of hatred and transphobia. That’s essentially what happened.”

Despite being faced with online hate, the Oscar-nominated actor is committed to ensuring that the world accepts and understands trans people everywhere. “Extremely influential people are spreading these myths and damaging rhetoric—every day you’re seeing our existence debated,” Page told TIME. “Transgender people are so very real.”

Related article: Juno And Umbrella Academy Star Elliot Page Announces That He Is Trans

Page, who separated from his wife, Emma Portner, last year, also shared that the pandemic allowed him the time he needed to explore his identity. “I had a lot of time on my own to really focus on things that I think, in so many ways, unconsciously, I was avoiding,” Page told the publication. “I was finally able to embrace being transgender and letting myself fully become who I am.”

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Journalist Katy Steinmetz, who wrote the TIME profile, also asked Page which pronouns he prefers to use now. “Both he/him and they/them are fine,” Steinmetz wrote. “(When I ask if he has a preference on pronouns for the purposes of this story, Page says, ‘He/him is great.’)” Page started becoming aware of his identity at a young age, recalling a haircut he got at age nine. “I felt like a boy,” he told the magazine. “I wanted to be a boy. I would ask my mom if I could be someday.”

As for what’s next, Page is currently filming the third season of Umbrella Academy and is ready to advocate on behalf of the trans community. “My privilege has allowed me to have resources to get through and to be where I am today,” the actor explained, “and of course I want to use that privilege and platform to help in the ways I can.”

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.