Lilly Wachowski, the younger half of the Wachowski siblings directing duo, has come out as transgender, just as Lana Wachowski did in 2012 while promoting their film "Cloud Atlas."
Lilly, however, didn't get to do it on her own timeline: She says she was pushed by a journalist from a British outlet who knocked on her door Monday evening around dinner time.
"He proceeded to explain he was a journalist from the Daily Mail, which was the largest news service in the UK and was most definitely not a tabloid," the 48-year-old formerly known as Andy Wachowski said in a statement to the Windy City Times, an LGBT weekly in Chicago. "And that I really had to sit down with him tomorrow or the next day or next week so that I could have my picture taken and tell my story which was so inspirational! And that I really didn't want to have someone from the National Enquirer following me around, did I?"
DailyMail.com confirmed Wednesday that the house call had occurred, but said through a spokesman that it "categorically denies that it in anyway tried to coerce Lilly Wachowski into revealing her gender transition," and that the meeting ended with the filmmaker agreeing to call the reporter the next day.
Wachowski said Tuesday that she'd spent the past year waiting for a sensational headline — "Sex change shocker — Wachowski brothers now sisters!!!" — to pop up and had prepared a statement that was "one part piss, one part vinegar and 12 parts gasoline" but never had to use it, as media that came sniffing around chasing rumors had opted against running stories that would have been merely salacious.
"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," Lilly continued. "But apparently I don't get to decide this."
The co-director of the "Matrix" movies "should not have been forced to disclose her transgender identity before she was ready to do so," said Nick Adams, GLAAD's director of programs for transgender media, in a statement issued after Wachowski's announcement. "Journalists must learn that it is unacceptable to out a transgender person, in the same way it is unacceptable to out a person who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual."
Wachowski said that after the reporter's visit, she still couldn't quite place the Daily Mail — until she remembered it was the outlet that was singled out in an inquest into the death of Lucy Meadows, a transgender British schoolteacher who committed suicide three months after being thrust into the spotlight upon her return to work, post-transition.
According to the Guardian, Meadows' suicide note didn't mention the media attention specifically, but a coroner in the case said the media should be ashamed of its intrusive behavior.
(Parents had contacted local media outlets after receiving a letter from the school about Meadows' intent to return to her elementary classroom with a different gender identity; the Daily Mail subsequently published a column that, according to the DailyMail.com spokesman, defended Meadows' right to transition while expressing concerns about "whether it was right for children to confront complex gender issues at such a vulnerable young age.")
"Being transgender is not easy. 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," Lilly Wachowski wrote. "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. Transgender people without support, means and privilege do not have this luxury. And many do not survive."
She said she's been out — "So yeah, I'm transgender. And yeah, I've transitioned" — to her family, her friends and many people at work, all of whom have been cool about it.
"Yes, thanks to my fabulous sister they've done it before, but also because they're fantastic people," she said.
The down side of Lilly Wachowski's statement Tuesday? It's that we didn't get to read the one she wrote but never used.
"It had a lot of politically relevant insights regarding the dangers of outing trans people, and the statistical horrors of transgender suicide and murder rates," she wrote. "Not to mention a slightly sarcastic wrap-up that 'revealed' my father had injected praying mantis blood ... before conceiving each of his children to produce a brood of super women, hellbent on female domination. Okay, mega sarcastic."
Lilly Wachowski's for-real statement — which addresses a number of transgender issues as well as her struggle to wrap her mind around gender theory, queer theory and even the words "transgender" and "transition" as those terms have gone mainstream — can be read in its entirety at the Windy City Times.