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Notoriously private writer, director and producer Lana Wachowski — formerly known as Larry Wachowski of the Wachowski Brothers filmmaking team — emerged from hiding this weekend to give an acceptance speech for the Human Rights Campaign's annual Visibility Award and wowed the film world with a brave, emotional account of life before her transgender transformation.
The "Cloud Atlas" helmer, who underwent transformation operations following the release of "Speed Racer" in 2008, talked frankly about moments through her life, even recently, when her gender identity issues left her feeling isolated, alone and once very near to committing suicide by jumping in front of a train.
One touching moment recalled involved her brother Andy Wachowski, their "Cloud Atlas" co-director Tom Twyker and an unaware journalist doing press for the film.
"Tom, Andy and I were being interviewed, one of the reporters ventured away from the subject of the film towards my gender. Imagine that, a reporter," Wachowski explained. "My brother quickly stepped in, 'Look, just so we're clear,' he says, 'if somebody asks something or says something about my sister that I don't like, understand that I will break a bottle over their head.' Few words express love clearer than these."
The 25-minute speech — her first since the eighth grade — came with no shortage of difficulty for the filmmaker, but she concluded, "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."
Watch the full speech below.