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Matrix director Lilly Wachowski comes out as trans

The filmmaker says she was forced to come out after being ‘threatened’ by the Daily Mail

Film director Lilly Wachowski – best known as one-half of the duo that directed The Matrix ­– has come out as a trans woman. Announcing the news via a statement to her local newspaper the Windy City Times, Wachowski says she felt forced to share the story of her transition after being door-stepped by a journalist from The Daily Mail, who she says pressured her into an interview with the publication.

Wachowski’s transition follows on from that of her sister Lana’s, who publicly came out as a woman in July 2012. At the time, Lana was one of the first major Hollywood figures to come out as trans, and she was awarded a Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award later that same year.

Although Wachowski has been living openly as a woman for some time, she hadn’t intended to make the news of her transition public. In her statement, Wachowski says that she felt forced to ‘come out’ due to repeated threats of being outed by the media. “The "news" has almost come out a couple of times,” she wrote. “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.” 

The final straw came a few days ago, as a British Daily Mail journalist turned up at Wachowski’s house and – according to her claiming he didn’t represent a tabloid newspaper – asked her to come out in an interview with the publication. After he’d left, Wachowski says she researched the Daily Mail and it “dawned” on her that “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…The reason I knew about her [Meadows] wasn't because she was transgender, it was because three months after the Daily Mail article came out, Lucy committed suicide.” 

No-one should feel that they have to come out for fear of being publicly outed in this day and age – something that Lilly acknowledged with anger in her public letter. “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.” 

Many have condemned reports that Wachowski was forced to come out before she was ready to do so.

In response, the Daily Mail has issued a statement claiming that they had “no intention of publishing anything without her [Wachowski’s] consent” and that they “categorically deny” the suggestion that they forced her into outing herself. Whether this is true or not, what can’t be denied is that speculating on people’s gender identity – as many publications did well before Caitlyn Jenner publicly transitioned – or making them feel that they need to ‘out’ themselves before they are ready to do so isn't just immoral, but can have potentially fatal consequences.