British actor Sir Ian McKellen was born in a world where it was illegal to be gay. Born in 1939, it wasn’t until the actor was 28-years-old that homosexuality was finally decriminalised in the United Kingdom. In 1989, the actor would go onto found the LGBT charity Stonewall, named after the 1969 riots.
For some reason, the sexual and gender identities of individuals are somehow seen as controversial by certain crowds of people. Even within the gay community, there are people who refuse to accept others for who they are. Sir Ian McKellen has spoken out on this.
Sir Ian McKellen says all gay men should support trans people
In a Tiktok with It’s a Sin star Olly Alexander, McKellen declared that gay men ally with the trans community. Over the years, the topic of transsexuality has become more prominent. The rise of social media and accessible resources for trans people, have allowed people discover who they are. However, the rise of social media has also led to online harassment and abuse towards these people.
“I do hear people – gay people – talk about transgender people in very much the same terms as people used to talk about your common or garden gay. The connection between us all is we come under the queer umbrella – we are queer. I quite like being queer actually."
McKellen explains that the vitriol directed towards trans people nowadays is just like the hatred that gay people received. While gay people are more accepted than they used to be, trans people are often treated harshly. The actor explained:
“The problems that transgender people have with the law are not dissimilar from what used to be the case for us, so I think we should all be allies really.”
The actor on X-Men co-star Elliot Page
In a past interview with Attitude Magazine, McKellen expressed regret over not noticing the identity struggle of Elliot Page. In the X-Men franchise, Page played the role of Kitty Pride. McKellen admitted that he often saw the actor being quiet on set. Years later, Elliot Page would come out as gay before coming out as transgender last year.
“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.”