One of the most memorable symbols of Lilly and Lana Wachowski’s 1999 film The Matrix was the red pill which Neo selected as part of a choice that Morpheus presented to him, between blissful ignorance and dialectical freedom. Since then, that symbol has been appropriate by the MRA community to represent the (false) choice of seeing women as whores instead of madonnas. However, the real choice here is whether to react to dysfunctional gender norms by resorting to gender tribalism or by considering an altogether different set of possibilities.
So given the courage shown by both Lana and Lilly in coming out as transgender, how should we now see the red pill? I think the answer lies in a speech given by Lana after receiving the HRC Visibility Award in 2012 in which she said:
‘This world that we imagine in this room might be used to gain access to other rooms, to other worlds previously unimaginable.’
This quote connects both the virtual worlds imagined by the Wachowski sisters in the Matrix trilogy, full of Borgesian labyrinths and hidden multiplicities, and their choice to see themselves as transgender individuals within a broader constellation of genders and sexualities than previously imaginable. And, while taking nothing away from the specific significance of this message to the trans community, the broader message of this quote, to embrace and inhabit these new constellations of identity and meaning now available to us, remains crystal clear.