So a video has recently gone viral. It's excellently produced and it contains arguments which, if I do say so myself, are great arguments that the original film The Matrix, produced and directed, by Lilly and Lana Wachowski, was in fact a metaphor for being transgender. Why would I add the self deprecating "if I do say so myself" onto someone else's video? Well, because, as it acknowledges with "special thanks" at the end, I made all the arguments it's making. In other words -- this viral video is based on my blog posts.
I appreciate The Film Runner for drawing attention to these themes, which will no doubt receive substantive discussion in the years to come. However, I'm troubled both by the fact that this video doesn't credit me as a writer, but only uses my arguments, and by the fact that my arguments are suddenly gaining traction now that both the Wachowski Sisters are transgender.
Lana Wachowski was forced out of the closet during the production of the Matrix sequels. She chose to continue to direct under her male name despite rumors until 2012, when she came out as transgender.
I came out as transgender in 2013. The reason I wrote the Matrix essays I did was that my everyday life early in transition felt a lot like being Neo. My friends called me by my chosen name, banks call me Mr. Lockhart. All stuff that the video talks about. The thing was, it just clicked for me. It wasn't a stretch. When I went up for a legal name change and the transphobic Texas judge emphasized MISTER and SON while granting it, I just pictured her as Smith and me as Neo... and it helped. It helped because I knew Lana had faced something similar and coded it into her movies.
So, I'm really glad we're talking about how that movie about resisting authority and asserting your identity is about gender identity. What bothers me is that for most people to notice, BOTH directors had to be trans. I got skeptical responses to my arguments that the Matrix was a transition metaphor from 2013 until one day in 2016 when Lilly Wachowski came out and then everyone noticed. Lana was always there, folks -- and Lilly has said Lana tends to be the more creative/idea person. So a lot of us in the trans community have been reading this movie as trans solidarity for a long time. I'm troubled that apparently, if you think a man and a woman directed a movie, the ideas must come from the man -- only if both directors are female can a woman be the source of ideas. That's the implication of why this is only catching on now.
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This post is part of HuffPost's Journey Beyond the Binary blog series, an editorial effort to bring diverse trans and gender non-conforming voices to the HuffPost Blog during and after Pride month. As the LGBTQIA community celebrates great strides forward this June, it's important to acknowledge the struggles still pertinent to trans and gender variant members of the community. Please email any pitches to email@example.com
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