Lana Wachowski–one half of the sibling team responsible for directing The Matrix and Cloud Atlas (with Tom Tykwer)–has emerged from nearly 12 years of media avoidance to speak about her experiences as a transgendered woman, and as a filmmaker interested in preserving a “private civic life”.
In an acceptance speech delivered at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala dinner in San Francisco, Wachowski explains that being able to circulate anonymously in everyday life is essential to her and her brother as filmmakers. It is a right she and her brother Andy refused to relinquish after the explosion of media attention following The Matrix. However, inspired by the characters of Cloud Atlas, Wachowski recently decided that because her particular lived experience as a trans-woman is so invisible to wider culture, she is compelled to step forward and sacrifice her anonymity. As she states,
Invisibility is indivisible from visibility; for the transgender this is not simply a philosophical conundrum — it can be the difference between life and death.
I highly recommend reading through her speech if you are a fan of the Wachowskis. In addition to a meditation on public versus private life, the speech dips into background on the making of Cloud Atlas, winning the good parents lottery, and includes gems such as, “Several months ago we were sitting in this Berlin club amid beer soaked haggardness in a space not intended to be inhabited by people and sunlight…”.