Lilly Wachowski is Trans: Filmmaker Joins Her Sister Lana In Coming Out

Ever since Lana Wachowski, half of the Wachowskis — the pair of filmmakers behind movies like The Matrix, Bound, Jupiter Ascending and Speed Racer and the Netflix show Sense8 — came out as trans a few years ago, she’s been one of the most famous trans women in America. Now, her sister Lilly is joining her. In a statement to the Windy City Times, the second Wachowski sister also came out as a trans woman, making the Wachowskis an extremely powerful, famous and influential force in the world of trans women.

Lilly Wachowski

Lilly Wachowski

Lilly Wachowski started out her statement by mocking gossip headlines by declaring “SEX CHANGE SHOCKER — WACHOWSKI BROTHERS NOW SISTERS!!!” She then continued to talk about how she’s been just waiting to be outed by the news for the past year, something no LTBTQ person should have to worry about. I’m glad that she was able to take control of her own narrative like this, but I’m also sad and furious that she felt pressured into coming out like this. She writes that a journalist from The Daily Mail came to her door and told her that they were publishing a story on her “inspirational” story of transition and that they wanted to get some quotes and pictures. After the way that same paper outed school teacher Lucy Meadows, who committed suicide afterwards, Wachowski felt like he was saying “There’s another one! Let’s drag ‘em out in the open so we can all have a look!”

Wachowski talked about how even though this was a harrowing and hurtful experience for her, she’s still lucky. She has family support and the financial ability to pay for doctors, therapists and other medical care. She also recognizes that as a white trans woman, she isn’t in as much danger as others.

Transgender people without support, means and privilege do not have this luxury. And many do not survive. In 2015, the transgender murder rate hit an all-time high in this country. A horrifying disproportionate number of the victims were trans women of color. These are only the recorded homicides so, since trans people do not all fit in the tidy gender binary statistics of murder rates, it means the actual numbers are higher.

And though we have come a long way since Silence of the Lambs, we continue to be demonized and vilified in the media where attack ads portray us as potential predators to keep us from even using the goddamn bathroom. The so-called bathroom bills that are popping up all over this country do not keep children safe, they force trans people into using bathrooms where they can be beaten and or murdered. We are not predators, we are prey.

The Wachowskis haven’t gone without controversy. In their film Cloud Atlas, actors like Hugo Weaving and Jim Sturgess wore extremely offensive and embarrassing yellowface and Lana has been fairly criticized for her dreadlocks and a very racially insensitive speech she gave at the Trans 100 event last year. These issues should not be ignored, however, they also have the potential to do great things for the trans community, especially if they keep focusing on trans women who are less privileged than themselves.

Lana Wachowski

Lana Wachowski

Lilly Wachowski finishes her statement by talking about how she’s out and open to her family (including her wife) and friends and coworkers, and that they’ve been welcoming and supportive, helping her get to where she is today. She also adds that she’s not necessarily sure that she fits in the male-female gender binary.

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.

Congratulations and good luck to you, Lilly. We hope that you continue to find success in life and support and love, especially from those whom you care about.

Mey Valdivia Rude is a bisexual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. She's a writer, comic consultant and a trans activist. She's a bruja, a femme, a pop princess and she loves comic books, witches, dinosaurs and crying. She has a cat named Sawyer and a very successful twitter.

Mey has written 574 articles for us.

39 Comments

  1. “Not to mention a slightly sarcastic wrap-up that “revealed” my father had injected praying mantis blood into his paternal ball-sac before conceiving each of his children to produce a brood of super women, hellbent on female domination. Okay, mega sarcastic.”

    I laughed *really* hard at this.

    Anyhow, welcome to the sisterhood, Lily! Glad to have you aboard! And don’t let the haters get you down!

  2. This! “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.”

  3. wishing her all the best <3

    it's interesting because i have a friend who identifies as genderqueer but also decided to transition to male because they realised it would be much easier on them (you can get your gender legally changed but agenderism & genderqueer status isn't recognised) and they felt closer to make than female…

  4. I was so happy to hear about this today & the general, uhh, woke-ness, of her statement was really encouraging; as a trans nb femme I especially appreciated her taking the time to call out the inadequacy of the gender binary.

    SO angry with The Daily Mail, though, as usual. And with the many prominent, “respectable” publications writing bad deadname-focused headlines and misgendering content about this news right now.

    …Oh, and of course I’m just tickled that the MRAs now have to live with the fact that their precious red pill metaphor comes from content created by not one but TWO trans women!

  5. I’ve read this obviously too early in the morning, because I’ve interpreted this article in ALL the wrong ways.

    I simply assumed that there was a third sibling in the Wachowski family who now also comes out as trans. I also thought that the title “SEX CHANGE SHOCKER — WACHOWSKI BROTHERS NOW SISTERS!!!” from the Windy City News was a clever wordplay, because of the now two sisters and one brother.

    Little did I know that there was only ever two Wachowski siblings, and that Lilly Wachowski was formerly known as Andy Wachowski. Whoops, sorry :/

  6. I’m surprised but very happy about this news! I hope Lilly and Lana are freer to live happy lives without the Daily Mail’s kind of harassment. Although I get the impression that Lilly doesn’t want to live in the spotlight (especially for being trans), it’s nice to see some mainstream focus on trans women other than Caitlin Jenner – she’s been pretty troubling lately.

    I may not have enjoyed every movie the Wachowski Sisters made, but it seems time to at least re-watch Bound and The Matrix. I think each of these movies can (and should) be seen in a new light, even though The Matrix’s trans allegory probably wasn’t intentional at the time.

  7. “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.”

    Wow, math poetry! Beautifully stated and on point! YES!

    • “Dreadlocks cultural appropriation” is fairly easy to Google, but here’s a basic rundown (as I understand it – I am white so my understanding may be flawed)

      -dreadlocks are a hairstyle historically worn by black people.

      -black people’s hair & appearance has been heavily policed by racist people and institutions. Dreadlocks become symbols of low class and/or dirtiness

      – white people with straight hair misunderstand what dreadlocks are, and mat their hair in ropy stands that can stink, mould and damage hair (this does not normally occur when hair has a sufficiently tight curl pattern to hold a proper dread)

      -dreads become further stigmatised for black people because of association with dirty white hippies. At the same time, white people gain cultural cache for this “boho trend” without acknowledging its origins in black culture.

      -white people gain social capital while black people face increased difficulty

      • Yeah i know it’s easy to google, i’ve read about it multiple times. I know the history of locks as well as the connotation attached to the term ‘dreadlock’ etc. i just cannot understand the big deal. All the points you’ve made are not valid points for me, as far as i’m concerned. Yes, white people have a jaded understand of Black hairstyles (dirty, unprofessional, not hygenic, crazy, ugly, wild, what.have.you…) but i still don’t see how that’s cultural appropriation. It’s a hairstyle. I understand hair politics (i’m biracial and have really big voluminous curly hair that a lot of people cannot resist touching/commenting on). But saying that Lana W. or even Miley Cyrus cannot wear their hair in a certain style because it is predominantly black hairstyles is just ludicruous to me. It might not look good on them but to say they can’t wear that is ridiculous. Again, to me.

  8. News stories about famous people coming out make me realize how many famous people I have no awareness of. I guess I usually start noticing the existence of famous people after they come out.

    But good for them!

    • I am all for reexamining and removing ablist language from our lives, but this one confuses me, can you explain how it is ablist to you? (Genuinely asking, not asking…um…adversarily, if that’s even a word).

      Tone-deaf doesn’t refer to people who cannot hear, it means “unable to perceive differences of musical pitch accurately.” I have not heard of it referred to as a disability before — just a lack of musical ability/talent.

      • I know what “tone-deaf” means, but if you notice this article did not use it in reference to Lana being unable to differentiate musical pitch.

        The issue is using ableist language as colloquialisms is typically overlooked as “not what that means”. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t problematic. Using the word “deaf” to describe anything other than a person who isn’t hearing uses that word to imply lack, deficiency, willful ignorance, and thoughtlessness. Deaf people are none of those things, and their identity shouldn’t be used in a way that reinforces oppressive ideology.

  9. Shouldn’t it be Wachowska Sisters? Wachowski has the male suffix “ski”, the female suffix is “ska”. So they are misgendering themselves, it may cause pain and suffering.

    • They are Americans, we don’t know how to preserve last names or how to operate naming traditions of non-Anglo cultures unless mama came from where that culture comes from a taught it to us. Or we went to a cultural preservation school thing.

      We use -off for -ov and don’t seem to grasp -ova fer chrissake.

      The two-surname personal appellations etc of some Spanish speaking countries makes our heads go boom.

      The only reason scandinavian patronymics seem cute to us is because -son and -dottir are close to English.

      What I’m trying to say is that boat has likely sailed and Polski isn’t the only victim.

    • I expect if their family used the surname with the gendered suffixes that they would have mentioned it. I know in Britain there are some families who use the ski/ska versions, but also there are families who use the ski version for all their members regardless of gender.

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