Film-maker Lilly Wachowski has spoken about feeling forced to come out publicly as a transgender woman, following “threatened” outings by members of the press.
In a statement sent to Chicago's Windy City Times, writer-director Wachowski said: “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.”
Wachowski, 48, explained that she had already prepared a statement to give to the press following previous indications her story was about to be shared without her consent, but that her hand was forced when a journalist knocked on her door earlier this week.
“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. 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! […]
“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.”
She went on to say: “And now here they were, at my front door, almost as if to say – ‘There's another one! Let's drag 'em out in the open so we can all have a look!’”
Wachowski, formerly known as Andy, has come out as a transgender woman four years after sister and collaborator Lana Wachowski, 50, did the same. The directing pair are famous for The Matrix trilogy, as well as V for Vendetta and Cloud Atlas.
While clearly distressed that her public coming out was not her own choice, she used the opportunity to highlight some of the serious problems facing transgender people today and complex issues with gender perception.
“Being transgender is not easy,” she wrote. “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.
“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.”
She added: “I'm out to my friends and family. Most people at work know too. Everyone is cool with it. Yes, thanks to my fabulous sister they've done it before, but also because they're fantastic people. Without the love and support of my wife and friends and family I would not be where I am today.
“But these words, ‘transgender’ and ‘transitioned’ are hard for me […] ‘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”.
MailOnline.com said in a statement: “As Ms Wachowski says herself, we were not the first media group which approached her and we made absolutely clear at several points in the conversation that we were only interested in doing the story with her cooperation and had no intention of publishing anything without her consent.”
Nick Adams, director of programs for transgender media from.US-based organisation GLAAD said: “GLAAD is thrilled that Lilly Wachowski is able to be her true and authentic self today, however, she should not have been forced to disclose her transgender identity before she was ready to do so.
“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.”
Read Wachowski's full statement here.
Images: Lilly Wachowski / Windy City Times / Rex Features