When The Matrix premiered in 1999, the film world got all excited about the duo of sibling writer/directors who rose up from the underground to create an international phenomenon. We called them the Wachowski Brothers — until, in the past year or so, it became public knowledge that Larry Wachowski had transitioned and would now be known as Lana. (The siblings, meanwhile, now jokingly refer to themselves as Wachowski Starship.) Her recent re-emergence has made Wachowski an inspiration to the transgender community.
Over the weekend, Lana Wachowski accepted the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award and gave a showstopping personal speech. She opened up about some difficult moments from her childhood, cleared up the misapprehension that her absence from the public eye for the past 12 years had to do with her transition, discussed the difficulties of negotiating between public and private identities, and revealed that she’s been out to friends and family for over a decade. “I knew I was going to come out but I knew when I finally did come out I didn’t want it to be about my coming out,” Wachowski said. “I am completely horrified by the ‘talk show,’ the interrogation and confession format, the weeping, the tears of the host [applause] whose sympathy underscores the inherent tragedy of my life as a transgender person. And this moment fulfilling the cathartic arc of rejection to acceptance without ever interrogating the pathology of a society that refuses to acknowledge the spectrum of gender in the exact same blind way they have refused to see a spectrum of race or sexuality.” Click through to watch a video of the event (Wachowski’s speech begins roughly five minutes in) and read the full transcript at The Hollywood Reporter.