2014-04-24

Janet Mock's Online Activism Is Changing Perceptions About The Trans Community

Transgender activist and author Janet Mock wants others to be as comfortable in their skin as she is in hers.

Janet Mock gets a lot of notes online from fans. But it's not the typical "I love your work" fare.

It's declarations like:

"Through Janet, I’ve learned to love me more."

"Every time I see Janet I am inspired, renewed, and fulfilled."

"I had the pleasure of meeting Janet Mock a few months ago and she has forever changed me."

Mock on the Colbert Report

These are a few of the many recent messages sent to the transgender activist and author of Redefining Realness, a book chronicling Mock's experiences growing up as a transgender woman. Her book came out in February, but Mock's work as an activist started in earnest in March 2011. That's when she publicly declared herself a trans woman in a Marie Claire article. She's been an outspoken proponent of the trans community ever since.

The public and media have been slow to understand the trans community, even as the LGBT community becomes more accepted as a whole. For example, Mock's Marie Claire article was given the headline "I was born a boy." But Mock says that's incorrect—she wasn't born a boy, but was assigned a boy's body at birth. That important subtlety is often missing from the discussion.

On the Internet, LGBT individuals can take control of their own stories. Mock is doing her part to tell her story and the stories of others like her, too. She has done Google chats, created a Tumblr (where she invites people to contribute their own stories) and is active on Twitter, launching the hashtag #girlslikeus to show an inclusive, expansive range of girls and women.

In Redefining Realness, Mock writes that "Being exceptional isn’t revolutionary, it’s lonely. It separates you from your community. Who are you, really, without community?" But online, Mock gets to stay revolutionary and create community at the same time.

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3 Comments

  • Pancho Riatas

    Mock, is a crock and a circus side show freak trying To obtain wealth by importunity. Trying to sell books about a some new "inner self discovery" about a freaky subject that affects only 0.3 % of the US population. Sensationalize the message and sell it. Sensationalism include's reporting about generally insignificant matters and events that don't influence overall society. Furthermore, the content and subject matter typically doesn't affect the lives of the masses and doesn't affect society, and instead is broadcast and printed to attract viewers and readers. Oh shit, I forgot. America makes super stars out of crap like Kanye West and Miley Cyrus. So .........never mind.

    While: 33% or 100 million black people live at or below the poverty level in the USA .

  • Chloe Aaryn

    Thanks so much for speaking on my behalf? The "content & subject matter" obviously affects you or you would not have watched the video & posted a comment. It certainly affects my friends & I, along with any person I ever have contact with. We may represent a small proportion of the population but we are still human beings with all the same needs & desires.

    Which part of being transgender do you think is a "new 'inner self discovery"? Transgender people have existed at least as far back as records allow us to know.

    If "reporting about generally insignificant matters and events that don't influence overall society" is in fact what is happening, then I guess you must have little else to do in your life - you have after all commented on something that you state is insignificant. I hope Janet does extremely well from her efforts as an author...& I hope your life improves as well.

  • Ashley Luna Davis

    Oh Fast Co., it's stuff like this that just makes me love you all the more.