Cloud Atlas Director Lana Wachowski Opens Up on Being Transgender in Hollywood

In 1999, the first Matrix film was released, and saying that it took the world by storm would be an understatement. Over the next decade, the franchise earned close to $2 billion globally, and the Wachowski brothers, who created, wrote, and produced the series, were international stars. Larry and Andy Wachowski soon became the most sought after individuals in Hollywood.

Among other movies, the duo wrote and produced the 2006 dystopian movie V for Vendetta, a political satire film based in England with a story line which heavily involves the oppression and murder of LGBT individuals.

This weekend, Cloud Atlas, the much anticipated science fiction movie based on the 2004 book of the same name, is set to be released. However, one may notice that the film was written and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski, in addition to Tom Tykwer. Not, as typically seen, the “Wachowski brothers.”

During the early 2000’s, rumors began to circulate that Larry began transitioning from male to female. Even though transgender is, of course, a part of the LGBT community, it is a topic that has smaller recognition and understanding; even among gay and lesbian individuals themselves. As a gay male, this actually helped put my understanding into perspective. 

Although I would never want to be a female, why should I judge another individual for wanting to be that way? It’s the same way, I suppose, that straight people think of my homosexuality; they are unable to grasp it, but hopefully, they are able to understand and respect it.

In July of this year, Lana made her first public appearance as female, in a video discussing the creative process behind Cloud Atlas. Lana was joined by her brother and Tyker.

However, her appearance at the October 20th Human Rights Campaign’s annual gala in San Francisco really made a statement, as her 25-minute talk touched upon growing up transgender, suicidal thoughts during her teenage years, and what it means to be transgender in America (and in the entertainment industry).


“Lana’s willingness to tell her story will impact and change countless lives across the world,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “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.”

As a young American, it’s amazing to see a transgender woman in this amazing role in Hollywood. As an aspiring television and film writer myself, it’s great to see that gender, sexuality, and race are not issues of contention within this industry, which ironically, often trickles down and influences popular culture and the beliefs of the general public.

Congrats, Lana. All I have to say is this: You go, girl.

Jeffrey Hartinger writes about the impact of the LGBT rights movement, in addition to comedy and political satire on his website, www.thewhygenerationusa.blogspot.com. You can also check out his recent Op-ed in The Advocate, How America Subconsciously Evolves on LGBT Rights, regarding the depiction of LGBT individuals in media and popular culture. (http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2012/08/29/marketer-how-america-subconsciously-evolves-lgbt-rights)

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Jeffrey Hartinger

Jeffrey is a graduate of Canisius College. He works at a nonprofit organization in Manhattan and writes freelance. You can visit his website at www.thewhygenerationusa.blogspot.com. He has a strong interest in politics, comedy, and music, in addition to using his writing to educate and entertain.

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