On October 20, 2012, Lana Wachowski did an amazing and brave thing. She gave a speech at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala dinner about her own struggles with what it is like to be transgender.
Geeks are well familiar with her body of work. Lana Wachowski and her brother Andy gave us The Matrix trilogy and Speed Racer. Tomorrow night is the initial release date for her latest movie, Cloud Atlas.
I strongly urge you to find the 30 minutes to watch the above speech. It is candid, humorous, and quite emotional. Warning, Lana does drop the “b” word, but only once. She talks about why she dropped out of the public for so long, her personal struggles with depression and her suicide plan, her transition, and so much more.
Coming out to your family and friends is never easy, even if you have a supportive tribe. Coming out publicly is even more difficult. It has been just over one year since I came out to the public as a trans man. Even though the public has been mostly supportive of my identity, there are still those who cast judgments and say things that can hurt to the very core of my being. Lana talks about some of these things that people do — either because they are uncomfortable or perhaps they are purposely trying to be ignorant — such as refusing to use her name.
Lana made very poignant remarks about how we live in a world that wants to be blind to race and sexuality, yet this same part of world refuses to be blind to gender; preferring to still think of gender in binary terms. Another part of her speech that really hit home was when she recounted an experience she had when she was in Catholic school. Like all transgender individuals, she always knew she was different. However, she did not have the words to explain it. She couldn’t understand how others couldn’t actually see her. Her story is my story, except for in reverse.
Lana’s speech only scratches the surface. But this small peek into her private and personal life reveals so much. Hopefully, people will watch it and have a better understanding of what it is like to live in a world that still likes to view people in binary terms.