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Filmmaker Lilly Wachowski Pre-empts Tabloid by Coming Out as Transgender Woman

Lana, left, and Lilly Wachowski at the Chicago International Film Festival’s screening of the siblings' "Jupiter Ascending" in 2014. (Barry Brecheisen / Invision / AP)

She has a successful filmmaking career, a supportive wife and a transgender sister, but when it came to going public about her own transition, Lilly Wachowski didn’t have a choice.

Instead, Lilly, who before her announcement had been known as Andy Wachowski, half of the Wachowski duo of directing and producing siblings (“The Matrix” trilogy, “Bound,” “Cloud Atlas”), was compelled to come out on Tuesday before the Daily Mail did it for her.

That sums up the “what” in this story — the “how” is one for the ages.

After a Daily Mail reporter turned up on her doorstep on Monday night, cloaking a forced exposé attempt in co-opted language of empowerment, Wachowski evidently wasn’t willing to let the London-based gossip source get away with invading her privacy, and potentially threatening her safety, by telling her story their way.

So, in a statement to the Windy City Times, Wachowski got the first and last word, cleverly flipping the script on the Daily Mail and pulling a page from the tabloid’s own playbook. Take, for example, her headline: “SEX CHANGE SHOCKER — WACHOWSKI BROTHERS NOW SISTERS!!!”

But that note of ironic levity didn’t linger long past the opening of Wachowski’s piece, as there wasn’t room, or time, for that sort of thing given the seriousness of the state of affairs for transgender people in the United States and abroad (Lilly Wachowski via the Windy City Times):

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.

After he had given me his card, and I closed the door it began to dawn on me where I had heard of the Daily Mail. It was the “news” organization that had played a huge part in the national public outing of Lucy Meadows, an elementary school teacher and trans woman in the UK. An editorial in the “not-a-tabloid” demonized her as a damaging influence on the children’s delicate innocence and summarized “he’s not only trapped in the wrong body, he’s in the wrong job.” The reason I knew about her wasn’t because she was transgender it was because three months after the Daily Mail article came out, Lucy committed suicide.

And now here they were, at my front door, almost as if to say—

“There’s another one! Let’s drag ’em out in the open so we can all have a look!”

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.

By Tuesday evening, Andy Wachowski’s IMDb page name had been changed to Lilly Wachowski. As of press time, the Daily Mail had published wire reports from Reuters and the Associated Press covering the news the tabloid had effectively created.

Lana Wachowski came out as transgender in 2012.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

Kasia Anderson
Executive Editor
Dr. Kasia Anderson is Truthdig's executive editor. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1997 with a degree in English literature and sociology, she worked as a Web journalist in San Francisco until…
Kasia Anderson

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