Filmmaker Lilly Wachowski, formerly Andy, has come out as a transgender woman in a periodically funny, often moving note published via Chicago's LGBTQ paper, Windy City Times.
The statement recounts the events that prompted her decision to come out, and also touches on the numerous issues facing many in the transgender community, including a lack of support networks and rampant violence.
Wachowski opened her post with a cheeky faux-tabloid headline, "Sex Change Shocker — Wachowski Brothers Now Sisters," referring to her sister Lana Wachowski, who came out as a transgender woman in 2012. But Lilly went on to note that prior to her decision, she'd long been dogged by tabloid reporters and publishers threatening to out her against her will.
"I find talking about my art frustratingly tedious and talking about myself a wholly mortifying experience," Wachowski wrote. "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."
While those aforementioned stories never came to fruition, Wachowski said a reporter from the U.K. tabloid, The Daily Mail, recently showed up at her door and insisted she tell him her story. The encounter spurred her to come out on her own, as she recalled the Daily Mail's significant role in the public outing of a British teacher, Lucy Meadows, who went on to commit suicide after the British rag dragged her through the mud.
"Being transgender is not easy," Wachowski 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… 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."
Wachowski closed her note with a meditation on queer theory and the terms "transgender" and "transitioned," especially as both continue to enter the mainstream lexicon. While she noted such terms are "understood within the dogmatic terminus" of binaries like male or female, and before and after, Wachowski wrote, "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."
Lana and Lilly Wachowski have worked extensively together throughout their careers, breaking through with their hit Matrix trilogy. The pair's most recent film was last year's Jupiter Ascending, while they're also behind the Netflix sci-fi drama, Sense8.