On May 2nd, the hard work of students and leaders in the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center came together in one event: A Conversation with Janet Mock. Mock is a Honolulu born trans rights activist and author, with work featured in Slate, Colorlines and Marie Claire. Her best-selling book, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, & So Much More, covers her life before, during and after her own transition.
Mock began the conversation by reading a chapter from her book, highlighting how she stepped forward for the first time as Janet to her student body. But while this first major coming out went well, Mock shared a story about her chemistry teacher who did not respect her pronouns, called Mock by her birth name and refused to discipline any harassment by students.
Empowering points to note:
- She wrote the book to the girl she used to be in seventh grade who looked in the mirrors and saw a cracked and incomplete image of herself.
- Communal care is important. Mock communicates with Laverne Cox almost daily to make sure that they are taking care of themselves.
- Safe spaces are the ones you create for yourself. For Mock, there are no safe spaces outside of her home, and she does not expect them because of the way she grew up.
- Perspective is important. It is not a single person’s job to stop all oppression but do what can be done on an individual level.
Recently, Mock made headlines after appearing on Piers Morgan Live, where she felt insulted by the titles the show used and the way Morgan spoke about her past.
Although Mock stated that she has always been a woman and never identified herself as a man, Morgan claimed that Mock had to tell her new significant other that she “used to be a man.”
After the show aired, Morgan took to Twitter continuing to insult Mock and her fans, and developed a serious victim complex. But this negative interview has not stopped the positive movements that Mock has started.
Mock created the hashtag #GirlsLikeUs on Twitter to empower trans women and create sisterhood. She explained,
“The root of girls like us started in private conversations with young women looking for role models, becoming role models, wanting to be heard and hoping to make a difference.”
Janet Mock is a passionate, smart, beautiful woman who is changing the way our society views gender. Through communication and education, Mock and other popular trans women in the media, are beginning to demonstrate how to talk about the problems facing a community that has been ignored for too long.