The Matrix Director Lilly Wachowski Pens Powerful Essay Publicly ‘Coming Out’ As Transgender
The Daily Mail paid her a visit...
Lilly Wachowski, who makes up half of the awesome film-making Wachowski sibling duo responsible for films such as The Matrix and V For Vendetta, has come out as transgender.
Great news. Good for her, right? Well, not quite.
The news allegedly comes following an uninvited and unwelcome visit from The Daily Mail who put pressure on Wachowski to publicly reveal her gender status. In an essay Wachowski wrote for Windy City Times, she describes the visit following a knock on her door one evening:
“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.”
In the essay Wachowski explains that this isn’t the first time she’s felt pressure from the media to come out and she’s even had a statement prepared that is, “one part piss, one part vinegar and 12 parts gasoline” to react to what she saw as the inevitable leaking of her gender identity.
Wachowski is open about being transgender; her friends know, her family know and most of the people she works with know, but she’s never been keen on speaking about it to the press. “I knew at some point I would have to come out publicly,” she said in the essay, “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”. FAIR ENOUGH.
But this is more than just an invasion of her privacy; it represents a wider problem of the treatment of transgender people in the media as a whole. Wachowski said that when she thought about it she realised that she had heard of the Daily Mail once before, from their part in the public outing of Lucy Meadows, a trans elementary school teacher.
“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.”
This, Wachowski says, is common. She describes her experience with news outlets as a mentality of “There's another one! Let's drag 'em out in the open so we can all have a look!” and says being transgender means facing a world that is “openly hostile” to you, highlighting the fact that transgender murders are at an “all-time high” in America.
Speaking of her own “transition” Wachowski said, “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.”
We think it’s great that Lilly is comfortable with who she is. What’s not so great though is the fact that she’s been pressured into talking about that publicly. A person’s sexuality, gender identity and even just their personality, belongs to them.
Being transgender isn’t something celebrities have to ‘admit’ or ‘announce’, it’s just who they are. So, let’s take this story as inspiration and just let everyone speak about their identity in their own time, or never at all.