Who She Is
Janet Mock is a transgender rights activist and author. Mock was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She came out as transgender and began transitioning during her freshman year of high school, with the emotional support of her mother behind her. To pay for her surgeries, Mock worked as a sex worker and often talks about her experience in interviews. Mock was a first-generation college student when she received her B.A. in fashion merchandising and her M.A. in journalism from NYU. Shortly after earning her master’s, she began to work for People. Did I mention she’s a New York Times bestselling author? Or that she is the first trans woman of color who was hired to write for a TV series?
What She Has Done
Janet Mock is a contributor editor for Marie Claire, a former editor for People magazine’s online website, and the author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, a NYT bestselling memoir. Mock publicly came out as transgender in 2011. After her memoir was published, she began working as a contributing editor at Marie Claire, focusing on increasing representation of people of color and transgender women in the media and beauty industries. Mock has also written for Elle and the Huffington Post about her experience as a trans woman.
Why You Should Love Her
Mock’s book is the first one ever written by a trans person who transitioned during their younger teenage years. In her book, she speaks about her personal experience of being a trans woman of color and admits her privilege in being able to write and tell her story. In her memoir she also admits that her story is one out of many and that there is no one experience of being a woman. Besides being an editor and bestselling author, she also runs her own culture show on Shift (called So POPular!), is a special correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, and has guest starred on Oprah’s show, Super Soul Sunday. She started the 2012 twitter hashtag #GirlsLikeUs to help empower trans women and is on the board of directors for the Arcus Foundation, which focuses on LGBTQ+ rights. In addition to many other television appearances and a second memoir published in 2017, Mock is also a writer for Pose. The FX TV show centers on the lives of five trans women in New York in the 1980’s, and Mock is the first ever trans woman of color to write for a TV series. She also directs episodes for the show, making her the first trans woman of color to direct any TV episode as well. She was named one of Time’s “30 Most Influential People on the Internet” in 2015, and she has been nominated for numerous other awards. Mock is an awesome role model and activist and has accomplished literally so much in her life (just look at her Wikipedia page!). Oh, and BTW, she’s only 35.
She often speaks out about the privileges she has had that not all trans people have had (being able to afford surgery, having a college degree and a great career). She also advocates for awareness of the nuances of sex work and the dangers of being trans in a Trump-era society. She also speaks about her experience in New York and NYU as a woman of color in a predominantly white setting.
Mock has said before that she’d “never seen a young trans woman who was thriving in the world –I was looking for that.”
Featured Quote: “There is no universal women’s experience.”
How to Support Her: You can support Mock by buying her book, Redefining Realness, here. It’s a great way to learn about her story and being trans in America. Watch Pose, too, since she writes and directs for the show. You could also volunteer for or donate to organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community (you can find a great list of some of them here). Reading articles and educating yourself about trans rights is another great way to support people in the trans community.
On a local level, going to Unity House events and talking to people of different backgrounds is a great start to get educated and involved.