Director Lana Wachowski Delivers Gripping, Emotional HRC Speech About Growing Up Trans, Coming Out: VIDEO


At the Human Rights Campaign's annual San Francisco gala dinner Oct. 20, trans director Lana Wachowski (Cloud Atlas, The Matrix) delivered a lengthy, powerful amazing speech upon being awarded HRC's Visibility Award in which she talks about her painful childhood, her suicide plans, and coping with fame, family, and making her transition.

Watch highlights as well as the entire speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Wachowski also talks about receiving the award and delivering the speech in a Q&A with the Hollywood Reporter:

THR: In the speech, you refer to “this moment,” as in, the moment your whole life had been leading up to. Did it live up to everything you had built it up to be?

Wachowski: I knew that I would do this eventually, but it was interesting that I didn’t want to inhabit the memory too closely. A lot of them are very painful memories. I had practiced the speech once before I went on with my partner, and I cried several times while I was doing it, and she said, “Come on! You don’t want to be blubbering in front of a thousand people in tuxedos.” So when I did it, I did try to have a little bit of distance from the actual emotion of the memory. And then when I wasn’t talking so much about myself, and I was thinking about someone who was like me when I was young, feeling that I was fulfilling the example that I was looking for when I was young. Then it was weird how potently the emotion hit me when I was thinking about someone else. It caught me off guard, and I started to get very emotional. And I had to stop.

Highlights from the speech:

Here's the full speech, and here's a transcript:

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  1. great gal!!

    Posted by: no-no | Oct 24, 2012 6:35:13 PM

  2. I"m sorry but being trans has nothing to do with being gay. People who want to be trans are running away from gayness. Most trans people are driven by fetish. You can tell by the absurd hair length that male-to-female transexuals adopt when they undergo their "procedure".

    As for Lana, you need a new hair color, sis.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 24, 2012 6:42:38 PM

  3. "Jason," why don't you take a long walk off a hort per.?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 24, 2012 6:48:51 PM

  4. Jason, if Lana is "running away from her gayness" why is her post-trans partner a woman?

    Did you skip your critical thinking classes at school?

    Posted by: Caliban | Oct 24, 2012 6:50:14 PM

  5. You're an idiot, Jason. Shut the hell up about stuff you don't understand.

    Posted by: Mikey | Oct 24, 2012 6:50:27 PM

  6. What a wonderful speech.

    Posted by: RandySf | Oct 24, 2012 6:50:35 PM

  7. I don't usually comment, but Jason you are such a sack of sh*t and bring nothing positive into the world. If you're trolling, you're disgusting.
    Lana - what a fantastic & inspiring person. Looking forward to Cloud Atlas.

    Posted by: Dan | Oct 24, 2012 6:58:07 PM

  8. I disagree with nearly everything Jason said... Except .... Tran'ism has nothing to do with be gay. I dont know why they are lumped in with us. They are two completely different things.

    I have nothing against Trans people but I dont think either groups are served being joined at the hip. I really have no interest in many of their issues and others I will never have to deal with. In many ways they have it so much harder. The analogy I like to use is grouping Blacks and Asians together in one group because they arent white.

    I wish we could drop all this LGBTXYZ BS is just go back to being Gay. I think what bugs me the most is when people use it to be PC and its actually wrong. They will say LGBTWXYZ when most of the time there are no lesbians and more likely than not trans people involved in what they are talking about. I find the T rarely if ever applicable when that acronym is used.

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Oct 24, 2012 7:02:00 PM

  9. Important and heart warming....thank you so much for posting this!

    Posted by: donny with a "D" | Oct 24, 2012 7:04:55 PM

  10. The other trick of the GLBT abbreviation is the L. Why on earth is a gender-specific word like "lesbian", which L represents, included in this? There is no other gender-specific term there so why are women given the privilege?

    The answer is this: it's a trick designed to make us think that women are on our side. In fact, if you look at many of the articles on towleroad, for instance, many of those who are opposed to our rights are women.

    Don't fall for the GLBT trick.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 24, 2012 7:06:53 PM

  11. Jason/Rick - you are the only pathetic trick and we ain't falling for you.

    Posted by: WOW | Oct 24, 2012 7:33:35 PM

  12. This is one of the best speeches I've had the privilege of hearing. I wish I'd been there.

    I, also, wish that the comments here were moderated. The nutters bring discredit to the site.

    Posted by: Akrontru | Oct 24, 2012 7:42:16 PM

  13. I had the honor of attending the HRC dinner Saturday, and Lana's speech was nothing short of amazing. Her riveting candor and warmth were inspiring and moving. Additionally, she was followed by Gene Robinson, who explained why the letters that get added to GLBT are not only important, but crucial to the progress of humanity. Its about being an "other" in society's binary idea of sexuality and gender.

    If we need other's to open their hearts and minds to whatever letter of the alphabet we are, then we need to be open to their letters as well. Ultimately, we're all in this together whether we want to believe it or not.

    I've been to many fundraisers over the years, and this one was better than the average celeb-fest, in that these people actually had something meaningful to say. I wish you could have posted the whole event.

    Posted by: Jeffery | Oct 24, 2012 8:01:38 PM

  14. Jason is not really a gay person like he pretends. He comes on here criticizing gay people and making stupid claims (like Obama has really done nothing for us and Mitt is more of a gay ally---whatever!). I think Jason is a GOP or LCR hack who is trying to score points and thinks by saying the administration really doesn't care about gay people it will drive a wedge in hopes we will vote for Romney. Jason is sadly mistaken.

    Posted by: NANCY | Oct 24, 2012 8:14:58 PM

  15. I normally do not comment but after reading Jason's post I had say something. I am a gay man in love with a transgender guy. No one can say that he or I are "running away from our gayness," because unless you are in Lana's shoes or my fiancé's shoes, than you have no room to talk. My fiancé is more of a man than most of the guys I dated before him and my loving him does not make me any less gay than you. What matters is on the inside, not the outside and applaud Lana, my fiance, and anyone coming out as trans.

    Think before you speak, have compassion for those around you, and just because you don't feel this story has anything to do with being gay, it has everything to do with acceptance and tolerance, something you could learn to provide.

    Posted by: Adam B | Oct 24, 2012 8:20:45 PM

  16. I wish the comments here were moderated too.

    Posted by: Eric | Oct 24, 2012 8:27:27 PM

  17. Adam B,

    Acceptance and tolerance are two different things.

    As for being in a same-sex relationship with a transgender, it's not possible. The transgender person is still of the opposite sex regardless of any artificial changes they've made to their organs. Repeat - it is not possible to have a same-sex relationship with a transgender person.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 24, 2012 8:37:02 PM

  18. I love how my gay brothers and sisters, who expect tolerance and understanding from the world, immediately react with hatred and name calling when Jason and Homo Genius DARE to disagree with you. As a gay man over 65 and a REAL Stonewall veteran, I have always thought that the addition of the T and the trans community to the gay rights movement has hurt us severely. Straight people are easily frightened by the idea of men having sex, let alone someone having "the chop".
    You children have NO idea how far we have come.
    So go ahead and attack me. I've been fag-bashed and beaten and arrested by the police
    I can take anything you kids can dish out. I didn't realize that being a member of the "community" meant I had to tow the line of senseless approval of ALL things that even hint at being gay. The majority of trans people I have known (and I have known many) have not identified as gay, before transitioning. But they hung out in the gay crowd for acceptance. So go ahead have at me for daring to disagree.

    In addition, Lana honey lose the hair, it makes you look like carrot top, and NOBODY wants that.

    Posted by: I wont grow up | Oct 24, 2012 8:47:07 PM

  19. If you are a "real" Stonewall person, then you can recognize the contributions of drag and trans people to the riot and spirit.

    But since you just used Stonewall as an excuse to bash transfolk, I think you're just a troll dressed up in Stonewall britches, appropriating a powerful time to promote a selfish agenda.

    You're probably a Jason sockpuppet. That hair dig kind of confirms it.

    Posted by: Polyboy | Oct 24, 2012 8:51:47 PM

  20. "Troll" = "In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[4] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion".

    Jason...Rick. We know that's how you get your kicks just like Anne Coulter and other trash like her get theirs. You thrive on attention even if its purely negative attention. At least Anne Coulter has made a very profitable career out of it it. All you get is hate. Get some really need it!

    Posted by: Nick Name | Oct 24, 2012 8:52:17 PM

  21. Her speech was amazing. I was there and it was truly riveting. So glad that HRC chose her this year. Because mostw times the speeches are god-awful boring.

    Posted by: Mike | Oct 24, 2012 9:30:33 PM

  22. I am so glad to see such a creative and inspiring person recognized for raising her voice and visibility on behalf of those who have felt "other." Lana is an excellent writer and this speech was evidence that the best work we can offer the world comes from a very personal place. What a muse!

    Posted by: Really? | Oct 24, 2012 9:33:31 PM

  23. I have no problem with people living as and presenting themselves as whatever gender (or lack of gender) they wish and I am happy we live in a society that affords people this option (even if it isn't easy to do or be).

    For my own part, I would suggest that "men" and "women" are just the people who happen to be born with penises or vaginas, respectively. (Biologically intersex people are a very different group for a different discussion - most trans men and women are not intersex.)

    We shouldn't assume, and through our assumptions impose, a gender norm on people based on their genitals. If the kids who grew up to be transgender had not been inculcated from birth with the notion that "girls don't do" certain things or that "real mean don't" feel certain ways, I think fewer people would be transgender.

    To put it another way, Lana Warchowski shouldn't need breast augmentation or dresses to bring her self-image in-synch with her outward appearance because we shouldn't assume that our outward appearance dictates our soul (trans and non-trans people are both guilty of this).

    I hope that one day we live in a world where a Lana Warchowski or a Chaz Bono would never even consider that their inner self could conflict with their biological sex because our culture no longer assumes biological sex determines who you can be...

    Posted by: Kipp | Oct 24, 2012 9:41:33 PM

  24. Another vote for moderating the comments on this site. Andy, are you listening?

    It's a shame that something like this speech gets hijacked by Jason and that's what the conversation here is about.

    Posted by: endo | Oct 24, 2012 9:47:01 PM

  25. Andy-- THANK YOU for posting this!!! This is an AMAZING and articulate and powerful expression that anyone with an ounce of humanity will understand and see for the beautiful and unifying message it represents. As a "G" in the LGBT acronym, I stand PROUDLY with my "T" brothers and sisters and recognize-- now more than ever-- the absolute importance of their inclusion in our fight for EQUALITY. The nasty, angry and bitterly confused naysayers in this comment thread are EXACTLY the type of "G"'s that give all our community a bad name and represent a shameful selfishness and homophobia that fails to recognize our shared pain and struggle. I LOVE this post and Lana Wachowski's incredible courage and honesty. To those who berate her inclusion in our community and point the finger at her as the problem-- I suggest they simply look in the mirror to see the real people who are holding us back.

    Posted by: iawl | Oct 24, 2012 10:04:49 PM

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