The year was 1999 when the Wachowskis decided to revolutionize the sci-fi genre by making The Matrix. The film The Matrix, the simulation they all live in, and how a group of people learns to break past it. Several different interpretations of the film exist out there, but the theory of the film being a trans allegory sticks out more than the others. I’ll try to explore this theory in this article and let you decide whether to take the red pill or the blue pill.
So what is this theory? Well, it’s simple. It states that The Matrix is a metaphorical look at a trans person’s experience in a cis-heteronormative society. Neo’s journey of discovering who he truly is feels quite similar to the realization that trans people experience. He starts in denial, believing that everything he has heard and seen is a lie. It’s only after Morpheus comes into play that he starts accepting. Morpheus tells Neo that the Matrix is nothing but a lie we are all used to living in, referring to cis-heteronormativity.
Morpheus explains to Neo that they have to rebel against the Matrix, as the machines will not let them be who they truly are. With the machines being a reference to the rigid conservatives who created the lie that is cis-heteronormativity, i.e., the Matrix. As Neo trains to fight against this lie, he eventually learns to believe in himself. That being a hint to him breaking past the gender norms and accepting his own transgender status.
The themes of The Matrix of discovering one’s true self speaks a lot about this theory. Neo’s journey to accepting his status as “The One” refers to the trans people realizing who they actually are. He changes in many ways, both mentally and physically, as the film progresses. This is the transition that trans individuals go through to identify themselves better. Throughout the film, we see a lot of impossible things occurring, but once the truth of the Matrix becomes clear to us, we realize how exactly it is possible. Just like trans people realizing their reality and their role in it.
Agent Smith refers to the trans people who hate cis-heteronormativity, i.e., the Matrix but adhere to it anyway. He does so for his own selfish freedom at the cost of the freedom of other trans people. Smith knows how impossible it is to break cis-heteronormativity, and therefore works to stop people from breaking it. Also, the character of The Oracle designates the medical biases that cannot really diagnose something like gender dysphoria. The Oracle denies Neo his “The One” status as she has no way of knowing how he truly feels. That doesn’t necessarily make her a bad person, but rather a person who looks at the entire situation in an objective way. A way that exists so that others like Neo can break past it to discover themselves.
Years after The Matrix came out, both the Wachowskis, the directors of the film, came out as trans. They even accepted this theory as the true interpretation of the film, being glad that it finally came out. Neither of the directors knows how much of their true identity influenced what The Matrix became, as they both were closeted back then. The sisters even had ideas of making this metaphor even more clear but said that the world quite wasn’t ready for it yet. One such idea was to make Switch a genderfluid character, with them being a man within the real world and a woman in The Matrix.
So, what do you choose? Do you choose to take the blue pill and forget you ever came across this theory? Or do you choose to accept the red pill and explore this theory deeper and deeper and uncover the truth?