The Wachowski siblings have always been very private in their personal affairs, to the extent that Matrix and Cloud Atlas co-director Lana Wachowski’s transition from male to female took place out of the public eye. But while Lana presented herself to the world on her own time, her sibling and creative partner Lilly (formerly Andy) Wachowski has been compelled to hasten her announcement by the fear of being outed in a British newspaper.
Wachowski explains her situation in a statement originally published in Chicago’s LGBT Windy City Times newspaper (the Wachowskis were born in Chicago), where she says that she’s “been waiting for this past year” for someone to out her as transgender in the press, and had preemptively “prepared a statement that was one part piss, one part vinegar and 12 parts gasoline” in response. But when a reporter from The Daily Mail—a paper whose story on a transgender teacher in the U.K. reportedly led to the woman’s suicide—showed up on her doorstep, she realized that she had to say something soon. (The Daily Mail has since responded with a statement denying their reporter pressured Wachowski.) Wachowski writes:
My sister Lana and I have largely avoided the press. I find talking about my art frustratingly tedious and talking about myself a wholly mortifying experience. I knew at some point I would have to come out publicly. You know, when you’re living as an out transgender person it’s … kind of difficult to hide. I just wanted—needed some time to get my head right, to feel comfortable.
But apparently I don’t get to decide this.
Wachowski goes on to say that she is “one of the lucky ones” with access to medical care to ease her transition, and cites the high rates of violence against trans people who lack the same means. She adds:
And though we have come a long way since Silence Of The Lambs, we continue to be demonized and vilified in the media where attack ads portray us as potential predators to keep us from even using the goddamn bathroom. The so-called bathroom bills that are popping up all over this country do not keep children safe, they force trans people into using bathrooms where they can be beaten and or murdered. We are not predators, we are prey.
So yeah, I’m transgender.
And yeah, I’ve transitioned.
I’m out to my friends and family. Most people at work know too. Everyone is cool with it. Yes, thanks to my fabulous sister they’ve done it before, but also because they’re fantastic people. Without the love and support of my wife and friends and family I would not be where I am today.
But these words, “transgender” and “transitioned” are hard for me because they both have lost their complexity in their assimilation into the mainstream. There is a lack of nuance of time and space. To be transgender is something largely understood as existing within the dogmatic terminus of male or female. And to “transition” imparts a sense of immediacy, a before and after from one terminus to another. But the reality, my reality is that I’ve been transitioning and will continue to transition all of my life, through the infinite that exists between male and female as it does in the infinite between the binary of zero and one. We need to elevate the dialogue beyond the simplicity of binary. Binary is a false idol.
The full text of Lilly Wachowski’s funny, fiery statement can be read on the Windy City Times website.