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Lilly Wachowski makes first public appearance at GLAAD Awards since coming out as transgender

Lilly Wachowski makes first public appearance at GLAAD Awards since coming out as transgender
Lilly Wachowski, creator of "Sense8" and director of "The Matrix," takes the GLAAD Media Awards stage in her first public appearance as a transgender woman to explain her serendipitous coming out story as she accepts her award for "Sense8." (Tre'vell Anderson)

"Ta-da."

This was the first word Lilly Wachowski spoke as she took the stage at the GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday. In her first public appearance since coming out as transgender almost a month ago, the director accepted the award for best drama series for Netflix's "Sense8," of which she and her transgender sister Lana are co-creators. Ahead of accepting the honor, on the event's red carpet, Lilly spoke in-depth about her decision to attend the event and be visible in her trans identity.

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"Being transgender, my whole life I've hid. So, I'm going against every instinct, every fiber in my being now, being here and talking about my trans-ness, but I have to," she said. "I have to because people are dying."

The Wachowskis, best known for the "Matrix" franchise, are notoriously private. When Lana, now 50, came out in a video in 2012, it was the first media or public appearance either had done in 12 years. Lilly's coming out, however, was less self-motivated and prompted by a Daily Mail reporter who wanted an exclusive on her transition.

"My sister Lana and I have largely avoided the press," Lilly said in her coming out announcement. "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."

Now that she is out to the world, she's using her visibility and voice to inspire change.

"Coming out and being visible is going to help people feel like maybe there's a chance," she said at the event. "It's not enough to just do it, but you've got to do whatever you can."

Meanwhile, more than 100 laws across the nation have been introduced that would limit the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. In North Carolina, for example, a law mandated anti-discrimination statewide, but did not include specific protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, it restricts the bathrooms that transgender people can use to the sex they were at birth. Countless other states have instituted or are considering such "bathroom bills."

"The bathroom bills popping up all across the country are literally killing people," Lilly said. "That has to stop."

Inspired by the fight for marriage equality as well as the civil rights movement, she noted that "change is a glacial process." But it is on the horizon.

"We're going to get in there and take what's ours in terms of basic human dignity," she said.

Get your life! Follow me on Twitter: @TrevellAnderson.

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