Lana Wachowski gave an incredibly moving speech at the Human Rights Campaign’ Visibility Award this past Saturday. She spoke about growing up transgender and how she wrote a long suicide note in Burger King.
Wachowski was open and honest, talking about a subject matter that a lot of people still haven’t become comfortable with. And while being serious, she injected some humor into her words.
Here are some highlights:
- On feeling lost:
- On how she’s accepted into the world:
- On speaking for the first time since her transition:
After school I go to the nearby Burger King and write a suicide note. It ends up being over four pages. I’m a little talkative. But it was addressed to my parents and I really wanted to convince them that it wasn’t their fault, it was just that I didn’t belong. I cry a lot as I write this note, but the staff at Burger King has seen it all before, and they seem immune.
I was recently out to dinner with a mixture of friends and strangers who were all very excited to meet a “Hollywood” director…Throughout the dinner they repeatedly refer to me as “he” or one of the “Wachowski Brothers,” sometimes using half my name, “Laaaaaa,” as an awkward bridge between identities, unable or perhaps unwilling to see me as I am, but only for the things I do.
I realize the moment I go on camera, that act will be subject to projections that are both personal and political…I am completely horrified by the “talk show,” the interrogation and confession format, the weeping, the tears of the host 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.
Lana was accepting the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Visibility Award, and after this speech we certainly cannot think of anybody who was more deserving than she.