By Frank Kineavy
Lilly Wachowski | The Windy City Times
Film director Lilly Wachowski has come out as a transgender woman. Wachowski, 48, created the Matrix trilogy with her sister Lana Wachowski, who came out as transgender four years ago.
“SEX CHANGE SHOCKER WACHOWSKI BROTHERS NOW SISTERS!!!” reads the opening statement made by Matrix co-director Wachowski to the Windy City Times in response to multiple media outlets pressuring her into revealing her transgender identity. A reporter from the Daily Mail showed up on Wachowski’s front porch and insisted that she sit down tell her “inspirational story and have her picture taken.” The next day, Wachowski penned the statement to the Windy City Times, one of the first LBGT publications based in Chicago, expressing her frustrations with not being able to come out at the time she deemed appropriate.
“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,” she wrote. “I just wanted needed some time to get my head right, to feel comfortable. But apparently I don’t get to decide this.”
Lilly and Lana Wachowski, formerly known as Andy and Larry, rose to fame after directing the 1999 blockbuster “The Matrix.” They saw their careers take off as they won critical acclaim for numerous projects. In the years following the movie that introduced the siblings into the spotlight, rumors surfaced about Lana (then Larry) Wachowski’s physical appearance. While cast members and even Larry Wachowski himself denied the transition, in 2008 he revealed his transgender identity, Lana Wachowski. The media started to refer to the director duo as Andy and Lana in 2010, and in 2012, Lana Wachowski made her first public appearance as a transgender female.
Unlike Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski had an abbreviated transition to identifying as Lilly. Rumors barely circulated before the Daily Mail reporter confronted her at her home, forcing her into making a public statement. “The ‘news’ has almost come out a couple of times. Each was preceded by an ominous email from my agent reporters have been asking for statements regarding the ‘Andy Wachowski gender transition’ story they were about to publish,” she told the Windy City Times.
“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.”
She recognized the Daily Mail when she remembered its story attacking a British teacher transitioning from a man to a woman, Lucy Meadows. Headlines read, “He’s not only in the wrong body he’s in the wrong job.” Three months after the story’s release, Meadows committed suicide, citing debt, job stress and a death in the family as the reasons. Many blamed Daily Mail’s coverage for the teacher’s death. In a statement made in response to Wachowski’s comments to Windy City Times, the Daily Mail denied pressuring Lilly to come out and did not take responsibility for Meadows’ death.
Other than “The Matrix,” much of the Wachowski sisters’ work has focused on LBGT elements, such as “Bound;” “V for Vendetta;” “Jupiter Ascending;” and their most recent work, a Netflix television series “Sense8” that features transgender actress Jamie Clayton. The Wachowskis are the first major Hollywood directors to come out as transgender, alongside other celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono, Laverne Cox, Alexandra Billings, Trace Lysette and Hari Nef.
Wachowski has been married to Alisa Blasingame since 1991, while Lana Wachowski was married to Thea Bloom from 1993 to 2002. After getting divorced, she met Karin Winslow; they married in 2009, shortly after Lana’s transition.
Lilly will continue to focus on her marriage as well as her career, which includes film and TV director, producer, screenwriter, comic book writer, video game director and novelist. She tells the LBGT publication, “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.”