The younger of the sibling directing duo behind the blockbuster Matrix trilogy has come out as a transgender woman, three years after her sister did the same, and apparently after being door-stepped by a newspaper reporter.
Lilly Wachowski, 48, made her transition public on Tuesday, after she was approached for an interview on the subject. In a statement to the Chicago LGBT publication Windy City Times, Ms Wachowski wrote: “SEX CHANGE SHOCKER—WACHOWSKI BROTHERS NOW SISTERS!!! There’s the headline I’ve been waiting for this past year... So yeah, I’m transgender. And yeah, I’ve transitioned.”
Lana Wachowski, 50, announced she was transgender in 2012. Since then, her younger sibling said several publications had enquired about her own transition, but she was finally prompted to come out publicly after allegedly being door-stepped by a reporter from the Daily Mail, who told her he wanted to tell her “inspirational” story. “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,” Lilly Wachowski wrote. “It was the ‘news’ organisation that had played a huge part in the national public outing of Lucy Meadows.”
Meadows, a transgender primary school teacher, took her own life in 2013, months after a column was published with the headline: “He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job.” In the piece, it was suggested Ms Meadows’ gender transition could have a “devastating effect” on her pupils. Rather than grant an interview, Ms Wachowski resolved to write her own statement.
“Being transgender is not easy,” she wrote. “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.”
She cited the Oscar-winning 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs and its serial-killer villain “Buffalo Bill” as a low point in the portrayal of transgender people. “Though we have come a long way since [then], we continue to be demonised and vilified in the media,” she wrote.
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After Lana Wachowski came out in 2012, she gave a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT organisation, saying: “When I was young, I wanted very badly to be a writer, I wanted to be a film-maker, but I couldn’t find anyone like me in the world and it felt like my dreams were foreclosed simply because my gender was less typical than others. If I can be that person for someone else, then the sacrifice of my private civic life may have value.”
The Wachowskis have directed seven films including the Matrix trilogy and Cloud Atlas. Their recent Netflix sci-fi series Sense8 starred the transgender actress Jamie Clayton. Eddie Redmayne, who appeared in their 2015 film Jupiter Ascending, recently said Lana Wachowski had provided invaluable advice as he prepared for his Oscar-nominated turn as a transgender woman in the recent period drama The Danish Girl.