Last Saturday, Lana Wachowski, 47, one half of the directorial sibling team behind "The Matrix" and the upcoming "Cloud Atlas," was honoured by the Human Rights Campaign with their annual Visibility Award at a gala fundraising dinner in San Francisco.
In a moving 25-minute acceptance speech, she shared the highs and lows of her experience being transgendered -- the conflicting emotions of being born a male but feeling like a female.
Until recently, Lana Wachowski was known as as Larry Wachowski. She co-directs with her brother, Andy.
"Lana's willingness to tell her story will impact and change countless lives across the world," HRC president Chad Griffin, who introduced Wachowski at the event, tells the Hollywood Reporter. "She is a giant in her industry, and for someone with such success and such profile to be willing to tell their personal story to the world sends a tremendous message to LGBT people across the globe that they too can aspire to be a giant in their industry."
Lana, who has been out to family and friends for more than a decade, spoke publicly for the first time of her "less typical" gender.
"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," she shares in the heartbreaking, humorous and empowering speech.
She acknowledges that promoting "Cloud Atlas" will put her in the spotlight for the first time since her transition.
"I knew I was going to come out but I knew when I finally did come out I didn't want it to be about my coming out. I am completely horrified by the "talk show," the interrogation and confession format, the weeping, the tears of the host whose sympathy underscores the inherent tragedy of my life as a transgender person. And this moment fulfilling the cathartic arc of rejection to acceptance without ever interrogating the pathology of a society that refuses to acknowledge the spectrum of gender in the exact same blind way they have refused to see a spectrum of race or sexuality," she says.
Read the entire transcript here.
After her moving speech, the Hollywood Reporter asked Wachowski how hard she found it to bring up memories of bullying and thoughts of suicide:
"I guess it's always hard to talk about yourself. I don't think anyone has an easy time with that," she responds. "It's a form of self-consciousness, and when you compound it by thinking of it being in front of a thousand people in tuxedos, it becomes, yeah, difficult.'"