For a few long time, Lana and her brother Andy Wachowski – directors of the likes of The Matrix and Speed Racer – deliberately eschewed publicity and press, but recently, in the run up to the release of Cloud Atlas, Lana has reversed that policy. She’s not just opened up about her filmmaking, but also about her transition from living as a man to outwardly expressing her gender identity as a woman.
To acknowledge her stepping out as one of the most successful, high profile transgender people in the world, on October 20th she was given the Visibility Award at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual San Francisco gala dinner. At the event she gave an emotional speech, detailing the difficulties she faced growing up transgender, such as the times she contemplated suicide. Video of that speech has now appeared via THR, so you can watch the whole thing above.
She also spoke to the trade paper about why she’s decided to be more in the public eye and accept the award. Lana said, “They’ve [the HRC] been contacting me off and on for a while and I’ve always said no, I don’t do that sort of thing. But they happened to call again, which was interesting. I think they were reacting to the video that we posted. I said I don’t think I can do it, I don’t think I have time because the schedule was too difficult. But then, it just sort of worked out strangely that a hole opened up and I was going to be in San Francisco and I thought, well, it was just the universe saying I should do it. And my wife thought it was a good idea to do it now.”
As for the difficulties of giving the speech, she adds, “I knew that I would do this [open up about her life] eventually, but it was interesting that I didn’t want to inhabit the memory too closely. A lot of them are very painful memories. I had practiced the speech once before I went on with my partner and I cried several times while I was doing it, and she said, ‘Come on! You don’t want to be blubbering in front of 1,000 people in tuxedos.’
“So when I did it, I did try to have a little bit of distance from the actual emotion of the memory. And then when I wasn’t talking so much about myself, and I was thinking about someone who was like me when I was young, feeling that I was fulfilling the example that I was looking for when I was young.”
Take a look at the speech above, as it really is worth watching the whole thing.