But that was all that was essentially known. The two continued to make incredible films but did not do the typical press that comes with a movie’s release.

Now, however, the duo are receiving all kinds of praise for their new film, “Cloud Atlas,” starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. And Lana Wachowski decided it was time to share her story on her own terms.

On Oct. 20 when she accepted the Visibility Award from the Human Rights Campaign at its gala dinner in San Francisco, she spoke for 25 minutes, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and talked about the pain she endured growing up transgender.

From the THR story:

She once suffered a physical beating at the hands of a Catholic school nun after she failed to join a line of boys and nearly committed suicide as a young adult before being stared down by a man who wandered onto an empty subway platform where Wachowski was standing.

“I don’t know why he wouldn’t look away,” Wachowski told the crowd. “All I know is that because he didn’t, I am still here.”

Wachowski, 47, half of the sibling directing team behind The Matrix trilogy, was on hand to accept the Visibility Award for her recent decision to reverse a long-standing policy of eschewing press and public appearances and to openly acknowledge her transition (a word she said she dislikes “because of its complicity in a binary gender narrative”) to womanhood.

She also talked about how she won the “lottery” by having a family accept her so easily and that for other transgender people, such as Gwen Araujo, their circumstances are not as fortunate.

“Invisibility is indivisible from visibility; for the transgender this is not simply a philosophical conundrum — it can be the difference between life and death,” Wachowski said.

The THR also includes a transcript of the emotional, funny and heartfelt speech. From the transcript:

I have been out to my family and friends for over a decade and for the majority of that time I have been discussing this, this particular moment with my therapist, with my family and my wife because I know eventually I will do it but I know there is going to be a price for it. 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 [applause] 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. [applause]

Good for you, Lana. Congratulations on being you. And your hair is fierce.

To listen and watch the entire speech — highly recommended — here’s the full video below:

Photo: Lana Wachowski (screenshot via THR)

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