Janet Mock is a brilliant writer and transgender activist, and yet she’s only recently getting the attention she deserved.
She’s recently published her second memoir Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me, started a chart-topping podcast Never Before and is appearing on more and more panels, including the Forbes Women Summit, where she sat with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards and actress Kerry Washington. She also made a landmark speech at the Women’s March on Washington and has become one of the most influential trans women in the nation.
So yeah, she’s a big deal.
Below, learn more about Janet and her journey to the spotlight.
On why she hates the term “trans advocate” …
Earlier this year she told NY Times,
“I’m tired of having to discuss the slices of trauma in our life that oftentimes outweigh some of the triumphs that we do accomplish. That’s why I even struggle with being called a “trans advocate,” because we cannot use my single experience because all it does is flatten everyone else’s experience and turns us into a monolith.”
Why she decided to go public as transgender…
Deciding to share with the world that your transgender is a big deal, and not every individual chooses to do it, especially so publically (see Zeke Smith from Survivor). She told Paper Magazine,
“Trans stories have been told, at least in American media, since at least the 1960s, but they all were older, usually white transitioning folk. Those are important narratives to tell, but there were none that were rooted in my generation, who were able to live their truth at younger ages.”
On taking on her own privilege as a trans woman…
“Everyone is so afraid of the term privilege. So for me, the reason that I do it, is to properly frame and be exacting about my place in the world and the spaces that I’m navigating.”
On deciding to share her experience of being raped in college…
In her new memoir, she writes,
“As someone who has been open about so many of my experiences ― from my family’s economic struggles and my teenage transition to my experiences working in a strip club, I am still reeling with the fact that I remained silent about this. The only thing that has made me feel confident enough to share this now is knowing that I am not alone.”
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.