On Saturday, Lana Wachowski was honored with the Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award at the organization's annual gala in San Fransciso. The resulting 25-minute acceptance speech is a highlight (if not the highlight) of her public output thus far.
"I began to believe voices in my head — that I was a freak, that I am broken, that there is something wrong with me, that I will never be lovable," she told the crowd, recounting the isolation and bullying (by a nun, no less) of her youth.
The speech is an eloquent exploration of the complexity of her coming out:
...In Berlin three months ago[,] all of us are conscious of the fact that not only will it be Andy and my first public appearance in a long time, but it will also be the first time that I speak publicly since my transition. Parenthetically this is a word that has very complicated subject for me because of its complicity in a binary gender narrative that I am not particularly comfortable with. Yet 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.
It also contains the most humorous account of writing a suicide note that I've ever heard:
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.
The whole thing is terrific. What a hero. You can read the transcript here or watch her deliver it below. Afterward, she told The Hollywood Reporter, "I was just trying to be as honest in talking about my own life and engaging with this process, which is what I've been doing since we decided to do press for Cloud Atlas."
[Image via Getty]