In her 30-minute speech, she revealed that she had been beaten by a Catholic school nun after she refused to stand in a line of boys. Her personal torment got so bad that she had planned to commit suicide as a young adult. Wachowski explained that if it were not for a stranger who had wandered onto the subway platform where she was standing, refusing to leave, she would not have made it.
"I don't know why he wouldn't look away," Wachowski said. "All I know is that because he didn't, I am still here."
Since she and her brother Andy directed the first "Matrix" film back in 1999, the Wachowskis have kept out of the spotlight, declining interviews and press of any kind. But Lana explained that it was not because of her gender.
"Andy and I have not done press or made a public appearance including premieres in over 12 years. People mistakenly think this has to do with my gender. It does not," Lana said in the speech. "After 'The Matrix' was released in '99 we both experienced this alarming contraction of our world and thus our lives. We became acutely aware of the preciousness of anonymity."
Lana and Andy weren't originally going to do press for "Cloud Atlas," but were convinced by Warner Bros., the studio distributing the film, that it would be in the movie's best interest for them to do it. Lana realized that this would not only be the first time her and her brother would be doing press in a decade, but also the first time they would be doing it since her, in her words, made her "transition." (You can hear Lana discuss the thought process behind doing press for the film at the 11-minute mark in the video above.)
Since making the decision to do press, the Wachowskis have received plenty of support from moviegoers and critics (it also helps that "Cloud Atlas" has been heaped with overwhelming praise from critics).
Lana Wachowski was at the Human Rights gala to accept the Visibility Award, which celebrates and raises funds for LGBT-friendly causes. The director's wife, her brother Andy and their parents were among the 600 people present at the event. For more about the event and Lana's speech, head over to THR.
"Cloud Atlas," starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Jim Broadbent, hits theaters this Friday.