Washington Lana Wachowski, the critically acclaimed director of the Matrix trilogy and the new movie Cloud Atlas, opened up about her journey as a transgender woman while receiving the Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award in San Francisco this past weekend. Wachowski's emotional speech included heart-wrenching stories about her inability to fit in as a child and her suicide attempt during high school. Wachowski shared her highly personal story with the goal of making conditions easier for other transgender youth to feel confident about their futures.
The video is available at: www.youtube.com/watch .
"It took great courage for Lana to share her personal story," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "The impact of people like Lana and other high-profile figures who talk openly about their journeys sends an incredibly powerful message to youth who, on a daily basis, feel like they are broken simply because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. No one should ever feel like their dreams cannot be achieved because of whom they are, and Lana is a shining example of how we are at our best when we are true to ourselves."
In her remarks, Wachowski touched on the painful isolation that is all too familiar to many LGBT youth: "…without examples, without models, I began to believe voices in my head that I was a freak, that I am broken, that there is something wrong with me, that I will never be lovable." Those feelings led her to consider suicide while in high school.
Wachowski closed her remarks by stressing that she wants to a beacon of hope for youth struggling with those same feelings of isolation: "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."
Wachowski's new film, Cloud Atlas, opens in theaters this weekend. The film, already garnering high praise, stars Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, and received a 10-minute standing ovation following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.