Yesterday, Lilly Wachowski, the sister and filmmaking partner of Lana Wachowski, whose work you already know from all the arguments you’ve had with friends about how good or bad it is, but mostly just all agreeing that the first Matrix is pretty neat, came out publicly about the fact that she’s a woman. She did so in this letter for the Windy City Times, which I was particularly a fan of, because she touched on a few of the ideas about the gender binary and queerness as a whole that I have similar thoughts on.
What sucks about this is the fact that she had to do it at all. Because from what it appears, she was already out. She came out, she has been living as herself and working as herself for a while now, but then the tabloids came, literally, knocking at her door and put her in a position where she had to make a public statement or risk it turning into a huge spectacle of a story. A tabloid that apparently just has a boner for outing trans people.
But considering that until yesterday most of us never thought at all about the day-to-day life of either of the Wachowskis, it doesn’t seem like it was particularly relevant. Lana came out years ago, facilitating the duo’s on-screen credits to become just “The Wachowskis” (seriously, I watched V For Vendetta again last week and seeing their old credit was actually a bit jarring,) but other than when she’s shown up to accept an award or speak about her role as a transgender filmmaker, we don’t see a ton of her either.
In her own letter, Lilly acknowledges this, that she and her sister both try to avoid the press, that they hate talking about themselves or their art, they find it ‘mortifying.’ And they’re not actors, they’re filmmakers. They’ve always been enigmatic, reclusive, and that’s how we understand them. Do I think it’s interesting that Lilly was in the process of medical transition at the same time she was working on Sense8, which features my favorite trans character ever, Nomi Marks? Yes. Do I think that would merit a tabloid blowout? Not at all.
I want everyone to be out, I want us all to be open and to have the freedom to live publicly as ourselves. But Lilly was doing that. All the people who loved and work with her knew, and she was fine with that, as we all should be. And if she needed more time, or she needed to feel ready, or she just didn’t want people who don’t even know her and didn’t give two shits about her yesterday to suddenly gossip about her, that was totally her call. She knew she’d have to eventually, she just wanted a chance to catch her breath first. In her own words:
“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.”
For what it’s worth, Lilly, I’m way more interested in finding out if/when there will be a second season of Sense8.