Second Wachowski sibling is transgender, Lilly comes out four years after Lana

The Wachowskis are a sibling directing team best known for The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas and last year’s high-priced bomb Jupiter Ascending. (I didn’t see Jupiter Ascending but I really liked Cloud Atlas and thought it was underrated.) They put out ambitious, sweeping scifi films and are currently working on the second season of the acclaimed series Sense8 for Netflix. They also do screenwriting, video game directing, and comic book writing. They were born brothers and Lana, 50, became one of the first high profile people to come out as transgender in 2012. Now her sibling Lilly, born Andrew Paul, 48, has also come out as transgender. Lilly made the announcement ahead of a story outing her by the Daily Mail. She penned an essay in LGBT publication The Windy City Times out of Chicago, where she’s from. Here’s part of her announcement and you can read it in full at the source. The publication adds that “GLAAD and other LGBT organizations strongly condemn the outing of a transgender person before they are ready to tell their own story.”


There’s the headline I’ve been waiting for this past year. Up until now with dread and/or eye rolling exasperation. The “news” has almost come out a couple of times. Each was preceded by an ominous email from my agent—reporters have been asking for statements regarding the “Andy Wachowski gender transition” story they were about to publish. In response to this threatened public outing against my will, I had a prepared a statement that was one part piss, one part vinegar and 12 parts gasoline.

It had a lot of politically relevant insights regarding the dangers of outing trans people, and the statistical horrors of transgender suicide and murder rates. Not to mention a slightly sarcastic wrap-up that “revealed” my father had injected praying mantis blood into his paternal ball-sac before conceiving each of his children to produce a brood of super women, hellbent on female domination. Okay, mega sarcastic.

But it didn’t happen. The editors of these publications didn’t print a story that was only salacious in substance and could possibly have a potentially fatal effect. And being the optimist that I am, I was happy to chalk it up to progress.

Then last night while getting ready to go out for dinner my doorbell rang. Standing on my front porch was a man I did not recognize.

“This might be a little awkward,” he said in an English accent.

I remember sighing.

Sometimes it’s really tough work to be an optimist.

He proceeded to explain he was a journalist from the Daily Mail, which was the largest news service in the UK and was most definitely not a tabloid. And that I really had to sit down with him tomorrow or the next day or next week so that I could have my picture taken and tell my story which was so inspirational! And that I really didn’t want to have someone from the National Enquirer following me around, did I? BTW—The Daily Mail is so definitely not a tabloid.

My sister Lana and I have largely avoided the press. I find talking about my art frustratingly tedious and talking about myself a wholly mortifying experience. I knew at some point I would have to come out publicly. You know, when you’re living as an out transgender person it’s … kind of difficult to hide. I just wanted—needed some time to get my head right, to feel comfortable.

But apparently I don’t get to decide this.

After he had given me his card, and I closed the door it began to dawn on me where I had heard of the Daily Mail. It was the “news” organization that had played a huge part in the national public outing of Lucy Meadows, an elementary school teacher and trans woman in the UK. An editorial in the “not-a-tabloid” demonized her as a damaging influence on the children’s delicate innocence and summarized “he’s not only trapped in the wrong body, he’s in the wrong job.” The reason I knew about her wasn’t because she was transgender it was because three months after the Daily Mail article came out, Lucy committed suicide.

And now here they were, at my front door, almost as if to say—

“There’s another one! Let’s drag ’em out in the open so we can all have a look!”

Being transgender is not easy. We live in a majority-enforced gender binary world. This means when you’re transgender you have to face the hard reality of living the rest of your life in a world that is openly hostile to you.

I am one of the lucky ones. Having the support of my family and the means to afford doctors and therapists has given me the chance to actually survive this process. Transgender people without support, means and privilege do not have this luxury. And many do not survive. In 2015, the transgender murder rate hit an all-time high in this country. A horrifying disproportionate number of the victims were trans women of color. These are only the recorded homicides so, since trans people do not all fit in the tidy gender binary statistics of murder rates, it means the actual numbers are higher.

And though we have come a long way since Silence of the Lambs, we continue to be demonized and vilified in the media where attack ads portray us as potential predators to keep us from even using the goddamn bathroom. The so-called bathroom bills that are popping up all over this country do not keep children safe, they force trans people into using bathrooms where they can be beaten and or murdered. We are not predators, we are prey.

So yeah, I’m transgender.

And yeah, I’ve transitioned.

I’m out to my friends and family. Most people at work know too. Everyone is cool with it. Yes, thanks to my fabulous sister they’ve done it before, but also because they’re fantastic people. Without the love and support of my wife and friends and family I would not be where I am today.

[From Windy City Times]

She’s such a great writer “BTW, the Daily Mail is definitely not a tabloid.” I’ve never heard the story about how The Mail outed a school teacher, after which she committed suicide. That’s despicable and you would think that after that they would realize that outing people is an awful, destructive thing to do but no, they were trying to do it to Lilly too. That excerpt is long and the rest of her statement is well worth reading in full. It’s thoughtful, poetic and gives insight into what she’s gone through. We may never be able to grasp the complexity of her journey, but we can understand some of it, and it feels like all of society is coming around on this. It was both heartwarming and sad for me to read this statement because she brings the reality of transitioning to light. She also acknowledges and understands her privilege as a wealthy white person, which is much more than I can say for Caitlyn, especially lately.

Lana and Lilly in 2013:
The 2nd Annual Australians In Film Awards Gala

Premiere Of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Jupiter Ascending"

photos credit: WENN, FameFlynet and Lilly Wachowski/Windy City Times

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64 Responses to “Second Wachowski sibling is transgender, Lilly comes out four years after Lana”

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  1. Mia4s says:

    So she didn’t really come out, she was forced out. That’s horrible.

    Ugh Daily Mail. How can anyone who works there show their face in public? It’s an absolute cesspool written at a first grade level.

    • Suzanne says:

      Couldn’t agree more. How could you sleep at night knowing you’re causing so much anguish.

  2. Cupcake says:

    Congrats to Lily!

    • denisemich says:

      I would love for Lily’s wife to write an article about this process.

    • INeedANap says:

      Lana and Lily has a very catchy ring to it.

      Say it out loud: Lana and Lily Wachowski, Sci-Fi Super Nerds. I’d watch that TV show.

  3. Sara says:

    This is going to sound corny, but so be it. I’m a teacher, and so many of my students are going through the misery of not knowing who they are, looking for their intellectual and sexual identity, sometimes their gender identity. Reading about people or meeting people who find peace in themselves because of themselves feels like such a beautiful thing. Sometimes, all I need is a reminder that sometimes we were our own answer, our own solution all along. Much love to the Wachowkis!

    • BooBooLaRue says:

      I love this “sometimes we were our own answer, our own solution all along.” just poetry!

    • chi says:

      You don’t sound corny at all, Sara! Much love to those trying to figure out who they are and their place in this world. You’re right – it’s a truly beautiful thing.

    • Narak says:

      Sara, my partner is a teacher and sees the same thing. The bathroom issue is what uninformed people grab onto – they seem to think that transgender means rapist or pedophile- what Lily said is absolutely true: the reality is that transgender kids are the prey not the predators.

    • Brittney B. says:

      It warms my heart to know you’re in charge of shaping young minds… we form our identities and insecurities in childhood, and it’s so important to have support and positivity and accurate information when we’re little. Every bit makes a profound impact. I wish I’d had a teacher like you!

    • Neelyo says:

      Not at all corny. A wonderful statement. I’ll bet you’re a great teacher.

    • Tara says:

      Beautifully put Sara.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Beautiful comment!

  4. Lindy79 says:

    F8ck the Daily Mail

  5. QQ says:

    This is … Incredible, like zero snark

    The Wachowski SISTERS

    and also the incredible flip this creates in Hollywood cause now top writers/producers/directors of sci fi and money bringers in Hollywood are women, but also Eyeroll that this is how we got women to loudly barnstorm the genre?

    • Lizzie McGuire says:

      That was amazingly written I mean obviously because she’s talented but wow she’s someone to look up to. Sad that the Daily Fail wanted to out her just like that, she wanted to take her time but I think all in all with her statement & all she’s a great role model for the transgender community.

    • Coconut says:

      Now that they’re women, does this mean they’ll get paid less for their work???

    • Naya says:

      Well, the Hollywood establishment (and aholes in the general public) arent going to see this as a vindication of women writers/directors. I mean they’ll use the correct pronouns but continue to think of them as those “two guys who made the Matrix”.

      But my god does this say plenty about how social conditioning limits girls!

    • Jwoolman says:

      Us women are so sneaky…. 🙂

  6. doofus says:

    I wonder if they’re voting for Cruz.


  7. Lennox says:

    The Lucy Meadows story was absolutely tragic. That was the work of Richard Littlejohn, who is a notorious – well, there are no words to describe him. Needless to say, he still writes for the Mail. He faced no repercussions whatsoever.
    Lilly writes beautifully. I’ve never seen any Wachowski films but I’d be happy to read more essays or articles by her.

  8. Jayna says:

    What a great statement. I even reread it.

  9. aims says:

    I’m hoping that Lana and Lily grow and become at peace with who they are.

  10. bohemianmartini says:

    Hats off to her. I’m sad that the public coming out wasn’t on her terms. It’s a shitty, disgusting practice to say the very least. To any legal folk – why can’t people sue?

    And I want that gorgeous mess of bright pink hair.

  11. Diana B says:

    I hope I don’t sound callous or insensitively oblivious but I find so curious and fascinating both of their stories. I mean, what are the odds of a pair of brothers both turning up trans women? I don’t know why but I find myself wanting to know every detail of what got them to this point, which I know it’s none of my business, but still. Good for the both of them for having the chance to live their truth and recognizing it is a luxury not afforded to everyone. It is really heart warming to be able to see when people achieve happyness.

    • QQ says:

      I feel you, I myself was just texting my bf to ask him, how can people not believe there is a genetic component to this!!?!?

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I am a twin, and I believe that this does support the idea that there is a genetic component to sexuality. I know studies have been done showing that if one identical twin is gay, the odds are greater than normal that the other twin is also gay. I haven’t seen a study on transgendered twins, but I imagine it would have the same results.

      I really agree, it IS heart warming to see people achieve happiness.

    • Katten says:

      I don’t think that is callous at all. Interestingly, I know a family that has three children – born with the assigned genders of male (oldest), male (middle child), and female (youngest). The oldest assigned-male child came out as transgender and has since transitioned. The assigned-female child has also come out as transgender, and is in the process of transitioning. The middle assigned-male child however does identify with his assigned gender. I’ve wondered before what the odds are that two children in a family would turn out to not identify with their assigned gender. I don’t believe it is still that common, but I could be wrong. It’s very interesting to see it happens in other families though.

  12. Grump says:

    From now on, when the public/media wants a trans woman’s opinion, how about we direct towards these sisters, instead of Caitlyn?

  13. Cee says:

    I HATE the Daily Mail. I long to see the day they’re sued out of their offices.

  14. Pickles says:

    I was just reading this on yahoo news, and if you want to see the true nature of our society, just read the comment section. I’m literally still sick to my stomach. I don’t know why I do it. Maybe I think there will hopefully be a change, but always left sick. Such bigoted, racist, sick, perverse comments. These people are walking amongst us, and there’s just so many of them.

    This story is just so wrong. But not the way they see it. Lily should have never been forced to come out. I realize people would eventually find out, but it has to be on Lily’s terms. She was robbed of that. There has to be some sort of legislation on this.

    • Nic919 says:

      There is so much sexism in there too. Every time there is an article that deals with pay inequity, the same jerks come out to say that women just need to work harder… And that is one of the nicer things said.

    • I Choose Me says:

      NEVER read the Yahoo comment section. How does that saying go? My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.

      • Pickles says:

        I know. The fact that I keep going back and reading them, expecting a change, is basically the definition of insanity. I have to except that I can’t change it, but I can stop reading them. It’s just so unsettling that there is so much hate. Not to mention how many rapey minds there are mingling amongst us.

  15. littlemissnaughty says:

    “Lily made the announcement ahead of a story outing her by the Daily Mail.”

    Well f*ck you, Daily Mail. I truly despise violence but this “reporter” showing up on her doorstep makes me feel like hurting him. I would not be sad to see him punched in his despicable face.

    Congrats to Lily, that’s a beautifully written statement. And on a purely superficial note, I kinda love Lana’s style even if it’s not mine at all.

  16. Tiffany says:

    I know the Matrix gets all the love. But the sisters were responsible for the aweseomness that is, Bound. That film really does not get it’s due.

  17. Asiyah says:

    May I ask an ignorant question? Forgive me for this for I’m not quite familiar with this:

    when we say transgender woman, that refers to a person born as a male but transitioning (or already transitioned) to female, correct? and when we say transgender man, it’s a born female transitioning (or already transitioned) to male? Just wanted to make sure I have it right.

  18. Lady Keller says:

    Sara – that was beautifully written. That you for the heartfelt sentiment. You’ve brightened my morning.

  19. PennyLane says:

    She looks great! It’s always nice to see someone looking so at ease.

    (Lily looks so relaxed and happy that for half a second I thought the top photo was an advertisement for coffee!)

  20. Terf4eva says:

    Congrats to Lily and her authentic self!

    Love this emergence of equal rights!

    I just hope there’s a way for victims of s*xual assault triggered by cis gender, primary, se*ual reproductive characteristics, (ahem the intact /pre operative p*nis), to also have their needs accepted (in bathrooms/ locker rooms etc).

    • TotallyBiased says:

      This is a very good point.
      I’m going to admit my ignorance and risk a pile-on, but I don’t really comprehend why some transgendered women who go through so much to achieve the gender that is right for them (hormones, breast surgery, et cetera) choose to retain that particular primary sexual characteristic of the cisgendered male: i.e. their p*nis. Isn’t it the very root (pardon the expression) of what they are needing to transition away from?
      Any discussion/elucidation on this is welcomed, because I do want to understand it.
      If it provides balance, I am similarly confused as to why a female to male transgender chooses to retain the uterus/ovaries when transitioning.

      • outoftheshadows says:

        It is hard to find out information about this issue, but here’s what I know: transwomen who were born in male bodies do not often get rid of their male organs because it is expensive, grueling, and sometimes not entirely effective. There was an article in the New York Times several months ago about the first transwoman to get that surgery paid for by Medicaid. She returned after several months to see her doctor and the surgery had not been successful because of poor post-op care. She was going to have to go in for more surgery. I can’t even imagine how painful/scarring that must be.

        Anyway, we don’t go around in society examining each other’s genitalia every day. It’s presentation of gender that’s most important, and sex and sexuality can take many forms anyway, depending on what you’re into. It is considered incredibly rude by trans people to focus just on the genital issue, which is why it’s hard to get the information (and I do think it’s natural to be curious about it, but really, we don’t go around asking cisgender men all the time how many inches they’ve got, so….)

        Eventually, it usually comes down to economics, and our current group of highly visible trans people are a complete anomaly–transpeople are discriminated against openly almost everywhere, including in the workforce, so it just isn’t an option for them to do more expensive surgeries sometimes.

        I hope this is helpful–and please, if anyone else knows, add more information–I’m by no means an expert.

      • Pepper says:

        It’s expensive and not yet a perfected art. Complications are common. There are some people who just aren’t good candidates for the surgery, others who’d rather not take the risk, and many who’d rather wait a while and see if things improve.

        For some people taking hormones long-term or removing the testicles shrinks the penis down to a size that makes the surgery difficult to impossible and it can take some people well over a decade to save up for the surgery, so that obviously causes issues.

        With someone like Caitlyn, age is a factor. Even with all her money and the best surgeons, the results would be less than ideal and the surgery would have added risks.

      • Jwoolman says:

        I’d rather see people keep their original equipment and just be accepted as a normal variation on the female theme, because the risks are way too high. That’s an essential system in the body and when it’s messed up for any reason- big trouble and potentially major pain.

        People can be born with “anomalous” genitals, usually called “intersex” today. Male and female are two ends of a spectrum in many ways. The usual approach has been to do surgeries to alter the baby to look more like one sex – often female, since girls aren’t so obsessed with their equipment and in our culture, the child’s differences wouldn’t be noticed much. But intersex adults are telling us that they had other problems due to such alterations, and wished they had been left alone except to correct anything that would have caused true medical problems. So we really need to loosen up about expectations about what must be “down there”. I read an article some years ago about a couple of kids (in the UK, I think) who were intersex but their parents decided to not do anything to them to get a boy or a girl, but just were upfront about the in-between. The kids were fine with it. The younger one seemed to prefer identifying as female, the older one was reveling in the ambiguity as I recall.

      • TotallyBiased says:

        Thank you all for the information–I really didn’t know the surgery was so iffy. Taking hormones and other surgeries seem like so much to do to one’s body, I can see why it would be yet another ordeal.

        I would like to clear up one point, though–I wasn’t asking from the external perspective equivalent to “how many inches ya got” to a cisgendered male, but rather in an attempt to understand why the line of making deep changes to one’s body is (sometimes? frequently?) drawn there. And how it affects self-deception.
        The information provided by all of you who replied has gone a long way towards increasing my understanding, and is greatly appreciated.

  21. OTHER RENEE says:

    My stepson is transitioning to female and my heart breaks to hear her talk about her daily fears and ordeals. I’m sick with worry for her safety every day especially as she moved to a different state last year. You can only imagine how stressful something simple like riding a bus or going through airport security is. Only recently did TSA decide to stop calling Transgender people “anomalies” – to their faces. My step child is talented, kind with a heart of gold and just wants to lead a “normal” life and be accepted for who she is. I pray for that day to come.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Hugs Other Renee. I heard Laverne Cox speak and the most heartbreaking part were the stories from the audience at the end. She recorded encouraging messages for other trans people whose family members were concerned about them and wanted to share their stories. TSA are the worst though don’t go by what they do/say. I really hope that things are changing and I know I see it with my son and younger people, there’s a much better understanding and acceptance of other people and of gender differences. I hope your stepchild can find peace and understanding.