Cloud Atlas, Lana Wachowski, and "Coming Out"

So, I don't think it's a secret that The Matrix is one of my favorite films and The Wachowskis some of my favorite writers/directors. I can spend a truly embarrassing amount of time detailing why Speed Racer was super underrated. But I won't! You're welcome.

Anyway! I am so excited about Cloud Atlas (which was co-directed by Tom Twyker, the director of Run Lola Run, another film I love) that I can barely contain myself, and I was all a-squee when The Wachowskis, with Twyker, did a promotional tease for the film, since their on-camera appearances are extremely rare.

I was annoyed, however, that this video has been widely cited in the media as Lana Wachowski "coming out" as transgender or "revealing" her "new identity" or "making her debut" as Lana "after years of hiding."

Lana Wachowski's transition has been known for many years. The duo once known as "The Wachowski Brothers" have instead been known as "The Wachowskis" for quite some time. This may be the first time Lana has officially done press as Lana, but she didn't fail to exist as Lana before this moment.

Not officially announcing to the media that one is transitioning doesn't mean one is "hiding," or has secreted oneself away before a dramatic "reveal."

There's a lot of problematic framing around issues of sexuality and reproduction and gender and "coming out," especially around famous people, by virtue of our culture of judgment and entitlement. We aren't owed information about famous people's private lives, and narratives around disclosure which imply famous people are "hiding" something about themselves that they've simply chosen not to share with the public in a grand pronouncement reinforce the erroneous notion that we are owed details about their bodies, choices, and lives.

The idea seems to be that if someone gives access to one part of themselves by living a public life, they are tacitly granting access to all of themselves—that they are no longer entitled to boundaries.

No. Everyone is entitled to boundaries.

Clearly, Lana Wachowski was "out" to the people close to her, and she was "out" enough that I've been thinking of her as Lana Wachowski for years.

Which frankly makes it pretty shitty to accuse her of "hiding" or "debuting" or whatevthefuck. Especially given how that framing plays into transphobic scare-stories of trans* people who secret their identities in order to prey on unsuspecting cis folk.

There's a way of honoring Lana's trailblazing as the first out trans* director with such massive mainstream success, and the bravery of her public transitioning, that doesn't implicitly levy negative judgment on the way she did it, or how publicly.

Anyway. This was a long-winded introduction to saying there's not a lot of good coverage of what is apparently Lana's first official press appearance after beginning her transition (The Advocate's piece is the best I've found), but yay for Lana, one of my favorite filmmakers ever, and here is a place to talk about her and her new film.

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