If you haven’t heard already, the second Wachowski sibling has come out as a trans woman—but the real story here isn’t about a famous half of a Hollywood powerhouse being the woman she always was, but about how her statement that publicly confirmed her inherent, actual self shed light on issues facing the trans community worldwide.
The kerfuffle surrounding Lilly Wachowski—the younger sister of Lana Wachowski, who came out as trans in 2012—came about after an article published by The Daily Mail on March 8 outed her. In turn, the younger Wachowski responded in an eloquent statement posted by The Windy City Times.
In the post, Lilly described what kindled the incident: a reporter from The Daily Mail showed up to her door, uninvited, and more or less pressed her to tell her story. While Wachowski disclosed in her Windy City piece that she had been living as a trans woman for roughly a year, she detailed how the encroachment was something she knew inevitably would come.
“Standing on my front porch was a man I did not recognize.
‘This might be a little awkward,’ he said in an English accent.
I remember sighing.
Sometimes it’s really tough work to be an optimist.
My sister Lana and I have largely avoided the press. 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.”
The reporter emphasized repeatedly that The Daily Mail “isn’t a tabloid” (“he proceeded to explain...was most definitely not a tabloid...BTW—The Daily Mail is so definitely not a tabloid”) and explained that she “really had to sit down with him tomorrow or the next day or next week” to come out to the entire world. But it was only after the reporter left that Wachowski realized where she recognized the name of the journo rag—a realization that represents the overarching travails that trans people face day-to-day in the media.
“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. It was the “news” organization that had played a huge part in the national public outing of Lucy Meadows, an elementary school teacher and trans woman in the UK. An editorial in the ‘not-a-tabloid’ demonized her as a damaging influence on the children’s delicate innocence and summarized ‘he’s not only trapped in the wrong body, he’s in the wrong job.’ The reason I knew about her wasn’t because she was transgender it was because three months after the Daily Mail article came out, Lucy committed suicide.”
Wachowski extrapolated on how fortunate she is to have family and friends support her, and how she is one of the “lucky ones” who can afford the health care that trans people so desperately need and are often denied. Her statement then elucidated how her self-same “coming out” is a lifelong process, and called for the importance of “[elevating] the dialogue beyond the simplicity of binary” in hope of “potentiality for another world.”
“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.”
So I will continue to be an optimist adding my shoulder to the Sisyphean struggle of progress and in my very being, be an example of the potentiality of another world.”
In short: mazel tov, Lilly Wachowski, and fucking preach.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image via windycitymediagroup.com