'Cloud Atlas' director Lana Wachowski opens up about transgender experiences

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Lana Wachowski, one half of the Wachowski sibling directing team that is responsible for "The Matrix" trilogy, has been increasingly open about her history as a transgender woman during the promotional tour for "Cloud Atlas," her new movie with her brother, Andy, and director Tom Tykwer. During a speech given as the Human Rights Campaign fundraising dinner in San Francisco on Oct. 20, Wachowski opened up about some of low points in her life before she came out as transgender.

During the speech, the 47-year-old recounts an experience when a Catholic school nun beat her for not getting in line with the boys, and also talks about how she almost committed suicide as a young adult. The Chicago native says she would have jumped from a subway platform had another man in the station not stared her down.

"I don't know why he wouldn't look away," Wachowski says. "All I know is that because he didn't, I am still here."

Wachowski, who was notorious for her private persona and hatred of press tours, was at the HRC event to accept the Visibility Award because of her decision to step out while promoting "Cloud Atlas" and be open about her transgender experiences. Other celebrities who have received the award are Portia de Rossi, director Lee Daniels and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.

"Lana's willingness to tell her story will impact and change countless lives across the world," HRC president Chad Griffin said to introduce Wachowski. "She is a giant in her industry, and for someone with such success and such profile to be willing to tell their personal story to the world sends a tremendous message to LGBT people across the globe that they too can aspire to be a giant in their industry."

"Cloud Atlas" is due in theaters today (Oct. 26).

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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