On Tuesday, the filmmaker formerly known as Andy Wachowski announced to the world via a statement to the Windy City News that she is transgender and will be using the first name Lily from now on.
She is the second member of the sibling directing duo – formerly known as the Wachowski brothers – to come out as transgender. Lana Wachowski made her public debut as trans in 2012. The directors, best known for the blockbuster “Matrix” trilogy, now arguably represent the most famous trans figures behind the camera in Hollywood.
The 48-year-old Lilly told the Windy City News that the decision to go public now was an attempt to get in front of media outlets telling her story before she could. “ ‘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,” Lilly Wachowski wrote. “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.”
But when publications didn’t “out” her after all, she held back. Then on Monday night, according to Wachowski, she was confronted by a reporter claiming to be with the UK gossip publication The Daily Mail. Wachowski alleges that the writer pleaded with her to give him an interview about her gender status. Wachowski recalled that the publication had “demonized” Lucy Meadows, a British elementary school teacher who happened to be trans, in 2013. Three months after The Daily Mail published a column about Meadows titled, “He’s not only trapped in the wrong body … he’s in the wrong job,” she committed suicide.
A spokesman for The Daily Mail has denied in an official statement that they “in any way tried to coerce Lily Wachowski into revealing her gender transition” and insisted that their reporter was “extremely sympathetic and courteous at all times.”
“I 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,” wrote Wachowski. And so, in part because she believes her coming out can combat the notion that trans people are “predators,” she decided to go public.
“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,” she wrote.
Her statement has inspired an outpouring of support on social media, and has been hailed as a significant landmark for an industry that has been recently exposed as incredibly deficient when it comes to LGBT representation both on camera and in leadership roles. A recent University of Southern California study found that seven– or less than 1 percent – of 11,194 characters in 414 movies, television shows and digital series that they monitored were identified as transgender, and four of the characters came from a single show.
And as Vox has pointed out, the Wachowski sisters’ films have shown a willingness to portray gender fluidity (2012’s “Cloud Atlas”) and LGBT relationships (1996’s “Bound”) in unconventional narratives. “Even the duo’s most famous work is filled with allusions to identity being a construct,” wrote Todd VanDerWerff. ”The ‘Matrix’ trilogy is full of characters who are one thing in reality, but quite another within the computer simulation of the matrix, to say nothing of the way that the ‘reality’ of the computer simulation gives way to something else once you realize the truth.”
“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,” wrote Wachowski. ”We need to elevate the dialogue beyond the simplicity of binary. Binary is a false idol.”