Last Saturday saw Lana Wachowski, one of the directors of the Matrix trilogy and the upcoming Cloud Atlas, give a speech at the annual Human Rights Campaign gala on the subject of growing up transgender. Parts of it are hard to watch—her recollections of being beaten for not joining a line of boys at school and of a later near-suicide attempt, specifically—but don’t let that stop you. The entire speech is incredibly moving and worth your time.
The Wachowskis are notoriously camera-shy directors—they’ve not done press for any of their movies since The Matrix in 1999—so it’s not just Lana’s strength and perseverance in regards to her gender that’s admirable, but also the fact that she left behind her treasured anonymity, even for one evening, to share her experiences with others. Says Wachowski, “I am here because when I was young, I wanted very badly to be a writer, I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I couldn’t find anyone like me in the world and it felt like my dreams were foreclosed simply because my gender was less typical than others. If I can be that person for someone else then the sacrifice of my private civic life may have value.”
For those who’d rather read the speech than watch it, The Hollywood Reporter has a complete transcript.