Janet Mock – Journalist & Trans Advocate
Anyone meeting Janet Mock for the first time might not be prepared for the person she is. Janet is forthright, outspoken and very clever. When she publicized her transgender status in 2011 to a Marie Claire journalist she got very annoyed that the author ‘misgendered’ her. The statement claimed that Mock had been born and raised a boy, but Mock took issue with it, saying that the body she had been born with was not of her choosing and it was doctors who proclaimed her body was male. Continuing, she added that her genital reconstruction surgery did nothing to make her a girl because she was always a girl.
Outspoken in the Spotlight
Mock flew to Thailand for surgery to achieve gender congruence, at the age of 18. This was during her very first year at college. Her career began when she joined People Magazine, where Mock remained for over five years as a staff editor. Nowadays, aside from her work as an author, Mock puts together transgender specific education programs for the Hetrick-Martin Institute LGBTQ Youth Center—affiliated with the Harvey Milk High School in New York.
During 2014 Mock made the headlines alongside Piers Morgan when they met for a face to face interview on CNN. Mock accused Morgan of ‘sensationalizing her life’ and she took that very seriously, saying that she felt Morgan had no interest whatsoever in what she did, or publicizing her book. It seemed that he simply wanted to talk about her life, but due to the criticism Morgan received from both Mock and the LGBTQ community he was prompted to invite her back to clarify her position. Morgan learned a harsh lesson with that experience and he did seem to attempt to understand the reason why Mock had criticized him. Mock will gladly flip an interview around and take the lead if she feels that her position is not being taken seriously. She also takes it very personally when people ‘misdiagnose’ her mental state that she experienced from an early age. She states in an interview with Oprah that she was compartmentalized as a five year old—named Charles—who was told that boys’ shoes go in the blue boxes. Her friends were all girls, her attitude was one of a girl and her belief system was challenged when she didn’t comply with what society thought was the right thing for her to do.
Redefining Realness (article continued below)
The Book, ‘Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More’ was published on February 1st 2014 and is the memoir of Janet Mock, debuting straight into the hardcover non-fiction category of the New York Times Best Seller List at number 19. The book is a look at her journey in life but it is beautifully weaved and intertwined with the political landscape and the way transgender people are received in society. It is thought provoking and inspiring and twists Mock’s incredible skill for discussing complex issues with obvious elegance and ease.
Laverne Cox, a fellow transgender woman gave high praise to the book, as did Barbara Smith—the famous feminist lesbian—and, political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry. Mock has spent the last year promoting her book and speaking on transgender issues around the country.
Janet Mock accepted an offer in 2014 to become a contributing editor at Marie Claire. You can learn more about her at her website janetmock.com.