Several years ago, one-half of the Wachowski Starhip directing team came out as transgender, and revealed she was transitioning from Larry to Lana Wachowski. Now, her former brother has done the same, announcing this week that she is also transgender. Formerly known as Andy Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski feared she was about to be outed by a tabloid. So she decided to pen an emotional, heartfelt letter to Windy City Times.
The co-director of the blockbuster hit The Matrix and it's sequels speaks quite frankly about her decision to transition. She also discusses the challenges faced by transgender people. She kicks things off with a little bit of humor Then dives into her personal story, explaining exactly what spurred her decision to come out.
"SEX CHANGE SHOCKER-WACHOWSKI BROTHERS NOW SISTERS!!!" There's the headline I've been waiting for this past year. Up until now with dread and/or eye rolling exasperation. The "news" has almost come out a couple of times. Each was preceded by an ominous email from my agent-reporters have been asking for statements regarding the "Andy Wachowski gender transition" story they were about to publish. In response to this threatened public outing against my will, I had a prepared a statement that was one part piss, one part vinegar and 12 parts gasoline. It had a lot of politically relevant insights regarding the dangers of outing trans people, and the statistical horrors of transgender suicide and murder rates. Not to mention a slightly sarcastic wrap-up that "revealed" my father had injected praying mantis blood into his paternal ball-sac before conceiving each of his children to produce a brood of super women, hellbent on female domination. Okay, mega sarcastic. But it didn't happen. The editors of these publications didn't print a story that was only salacious in substance and could possibly have a potentially fatal effect. And being the optimist that I am, I was happy to chalk it up to progress. Then last night while getting ready to go out for dinner my doorbell rang. Standing on my front porch was a man I did not recognize. "This might be a little awkward," he said in an English accent. I remember sighing. Sometimes it's really tough work to be an optimist. He proceeded to explain he was a journalist from the Daily Mail, which was the largest news service in the UK and was most definitely not a tabloid. And that I really had to sit down with him tomorrow or the next day or next week so that I could have my picture taken and tell my story which was so inspirational! And that I really didn't want to have someone from the National Enquirer following me around, did I? BTW-The Daily Mail is so definitely not a tabloid."
Together, Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski have directed a number of big budget epics tat haven't necessarily been met with much critical praise. While The Matrix turned into a phenomenon back in the late 90s, more recent releases such as Jupiter Ascending, Cloud Atlas and Speed Racer have been bombs at the box office. The directing duo found more success this past year with their TV series Sense8, which was as equally praises as it was called befuddling. Through it all, Lilly Wachowski has stood by her sibling Lana as she transitioned in wide eye of the press. Now she is going through the same process. About that past experience, and coming out on her own, Lilly had this to say.
"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. Being transgender is not easy. We live in a majority-enforced gender binary world. This means when you're transgender you have to face the hard reality of living the rest of your life in a world that is openly hostile to you. am one of the lucky ones. Having the support of my family and the means to afford doctors and therapists has given me the chance to actually survive this process. Transgender people without support, means and privilege do not have this luxury. And many do not survive. In 2015, the transgender murder rate hit an all-time high in this country. A horrifying disproportionate number of the victims were trans women of color. These are only the recorded homicides so, since trans people do not all fit in the tidy gender binary statistics of murder rates, it means the actual numbers are higher. 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."
You can read the rest of Lilly Wachowski's open letter to the public here. Lilly Wachowski will continue to work as a film and TV director and producer, plus screenwriter, comic book writer, video game director and writer. She is currently married to Alisa Blasingame, and the pair have been together since 1991. Sense8 has not yet been renewed for a second season on Netflix. The Wachowski Starship currently have no movies in the works.