UK

Daily Mail Denies It Coerced Lilly Wachowski, 'The Matrix' Director, To Come Out As Transgender

09/03/2016 16:46 GMT | Updated 09/03/2016 16:59 GMT

The Daily Mail has firmly denied that it tried to coerce filmmaker Lilly Wachowski into coming out as a transgender woman.

The 48-year-old revealed her transition in a statement given to the Windy City Times, titled 'Sex change shocker - Wachowski brothers now sisters'.

In the statement Wachowski said that she decided to write the letter after a Daily Mail journalist approached her at home.

Wachowski's sister, Lana, came out as transgender four years ago.

lilly wachowski

Lilly Wachowski

Wachowski said: "My sister Lana and I have largely avoided the press. I find talking about my art frustratingly tedious and talking about myself a wholly mortifying experience.

"I knew at some point I would have to come out publicly. You know, when you're living as an out transgender person it's … kind of difficult to hide. I just wanted—needed some time to get my head right, to feel comfortable.

"But apparently I don't get to decide this."

A spokesperson DailyMail.com, the US wing of the paper's hugely successful website, said in a statement: "DailyMail.com categorically denies that it in anyway tried to coerce Lilly Wachowski into revealing her gender transition.

"As Ms Wachowski herself says, we were not the first media organisation to approach her and we made absolutely clear at several points in the conversation that we were only interested in reporting the story if and when she was happy for us to do so and with her cooperation.

"Our reporter was extremely sympathetic and courteous at all times, as is obvious from our transcript of the exchange.

"Indeed the conversation with our journalist ended with Ms Wachowski agreeing to call him the following day."

In Wachowski's lengthy statement, published online on Tuesday, she said that she had heard of the Daily Mail before after the national public outing of Lucy Meadows, a transgender British primary school teacher who committed suicide months after newspaper reports were published about her.

Wachowski said: "And now here they were, at my front door, almost as if to say - 'There's another one! Let's drag 'em out in the open so we can all have a look'."

A Daily Mail spokesman categorically denied that the paper "outed" Meadows.

"The Daily Mail did NOT 'out' her or hound her," he said.

"The story emerged after the school wrote announcing the change to parents, some of whom contacted the local media because they were concerned their children might be too young to understand what had happened.

"The Daily Mail newspaper, which is a separate editorial operation to DailyMail.com, subsequently carried the personal view of a columnist who, while emphatically defending Ms Meadows’ right to transition echoed some parents concerns about whether it was right for children to confront complex gender issues at such a vulnerable young age.

"In the event, it emerged at her inquest that Ms Meadows made no mention either of the press in general or of the Daily Mail in particular in an extensive suicide note."

A note left by Meadows made no mention of press intrusion, citing instead her debts, a number of bereavements including the death of her parents, and her stressful job as a primary school teacher.

The Daily Mail added: "We wish Lilly Wachowski well with her journey though we are surprised as to how she has reacted, given the courtesy and sensitivity with which the reporter approached her."

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