Why Lilly Wachowski is more than just a news headline
If you grew up in the '90s you'd remember a certain Keanu Reeves film that spawned a million rip off action sequences and was actually quite revolutionary for its time, in terms of cinematography and special effects. The directors and writers of said movie, the Wachowski brothers, used the film's success to launch a career specialising in screenplays and films that tread the dystopian sci-fi action trope - flicks like Cloud Atlas, V for Vendetta and Jupiter Ascending.
But more recently, it's not the body of work of this creative duo that's caused headlines, it's their respective gender reassignment surgery. Lana (formerly known as Lawrence or Larry), 50, has won accolades in the transgender community for her outing as a woman in 2012. Winning a Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award for her openness and honesty within the LGBT community and beyond, Lana most recently starred in a Marc Jacobs campaign alongside her wife Karin.
Of course, that's old news now. In an announcement that predictably started trending immediately on social media and beyond, Lana's 48 year old brother Andy has just come out as a transgender woman named Lilly. After living with her new gender for around a year, Lilly made the public announcement after a boxed-in-a-corner encounter with a British Daily Mail journalist who attempted to 'out' her "inspirational story." Explaining the unfortunate turn of events to Chicago's Windy City Times, Lilly explained her reluctance to go public with her news.
"My sister Lana and I have largely avoided the press. I find talking about my art frustratingly tedious and talking about myself a wholly mortifying experience. 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."
While the forcible manner in which Lilly's transgender journey was pretty abhorrent, having two famous transgender siblings in the one family isn't something you hear about every day. So we guess you can see why people were so fascinated. Thankfully Lilly has started using her experience to highlight some major transgender issues. "Being transgender is not easy," she writes. "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."
In her eloquent statement, Lilly goes on to describes the societal pressures of being transgender and highlights the depressing suicide rate among the transgender community. "I am one of the lucky ones. Having the support of my family and the means to afford doctors and therapists has given me the chance to actually survive this process. Transgender people without support, means and privilege do not have this luxury. And many do not survive. In 2015, the transgender murder rate hit an all-time high in this country."
While we're sure not all media outlets are aiming to sensationalise the story, unfortunately for Lilly, being well-known (albeit for your professional work) has invited a kind of media spectacle into her life. But with people like Caitlyn Jenner and models Hari Nef and Andreja Pejic proving that empathy and understanding for the transgender community is gaining traction, let's hope the newfound interest in Lana Wachowski is just another step forward in the right direction.
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