Mar 09, 2016 4:20PM

'Sense8' Director Lilly Wachowski Comes Out As Trans On Her Own Damn Terms

Binary is a false idol.

Director/writer Lilly Wachowski — formerly known as Andy, and one half of the duo that brought us movies like Bound and The Matrix — has come out as transgender in an essay for The Windy City Times. This important piece of writing touches on issues of privacy, the way the media treats trans people, and the nuances of gender and identity. 

As you probably know, this news comes a couple of years after Lilly's sister Lana Wachowski also transitioned and was subsequently honoured with the Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award in 2012. We can expect Lilly to do similarly great things for trans visibility, not least via the sisters' truly great show Sense8, which features Nomi, a trans character, as one of its leads (pictured above). 

In her essay, Lilly pre-empts the media frenzy and gives her own essay a tabloid-worthy headline: "SEX CHANGE SHOCKER — WACHOWSKI BROTHERS NOW SISTERS!!!" She writes that recently a reporter from the Daily Mail showed up on her doorstep, and told her that she should share her "inspirational" story with the world — in other words, he wanted to out her before she was ready to go public with what is essentially a very private thing. 

"My sister Lana and I have largely avoided the press," writes Lilly. "I find talking about my art frustratingly tedious and talking about myself a wholly mortifying experience. 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. But apparently I don't get to decide this."

Lilly goes on to relate the story of Lucy Meadows, a UK transgender woman who worked in an elementary school, who was outed by the Daily Mail and villified to the point that ended up taking her own life some three months after the article came out. Sadly, this kind of negative media portrayal is still common. "Being transgender is not easy," Lilly writes. "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 also touches on the potential negative side-effects of the transgender experience being absorbed into the mainstream:

"But these words, 'transgender' and 'transitioned' are hard for me because they both have lost their complexity in their assimilation into the mainstream. There is a lack of nuance of time and space. To be transgender is something largely understood as existing within the dogmatic terminus of male or female. And to 'transition' imparts a sense of immediacy, a before and after from one terminus to another. 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."

You can — and should — read Lilly Wachowski's full essay here

Photo: Netflix