BY AUTUMN SANDEEN / LGBT WEEKLY
Janet Mock has a career as a writer and journalist; she’s an editor for People.com.She’s young, beautiful and African American. Recently, she came out as a woman of transsexual experience.
Mock came out in conjunction with releasing a video for the It Gets Better project – a video series created by Dan Savage to address the rash of suicides by LGBT youth. She’s filled in some details of her coming out in an article with Marie Claireentitled I Was Born a Boy, where she explained why she came out:
“My coworkers don’t know about my past, mostly because I never wanted to be the poster child for transsexuals – pre-op, post-op or no op. But the recent stories about kids who have killed themselves because of the secrets they were forced to keep has shifted something in me.
“That’s why I decided to come out in the pages of Marie Claire, why I’m writing a memoir about my journey. It used to pain me to hear my birth name, a heartbreaking insult classroom bullies would shout to get a rise out of me. But talking and writing about my experiences have helped me finally accept the past and celebrate the fact that I was once a big dreamer who happened to be born a boy named Charles.
“I hope my story resonates with other big dreamers, lets them know that no matter how huge, how insane, how unreasonable or unreachable your goals may seem, nothing – not even your own body – can hold you back if you are certain and fearless and, yes, even a little ballsy in your quest.”
Janet Mock is now publicly trans – a poster child, as it were. As someone who is publicly trans and a writer too, I’d like to share some information and unsolicited advice with her.
Among those new realities she will experience will be a partial loss of membership in the club of women. There are now going to be a large number of women who will forever now look at her not as a woman, but as a man in a dress. Those will include less than accepting coworkers who will smile to her face, and then viciously rip into her behind her back. And, members of the religious right will likely soon be calling Mock a “mutilated man,” and identify her relationship with her boyfriend as a “homosexual” relationship.
I’d advise her to be aware of these attacks on her womanhood and not take it too personally. As she already knows, she cannot allow western societal sex and gender norms dictate for her who she is and still be true to herself.
Mock will also experience being a celebrity in the T subcommunity of the LGBT community, as well as the broader LGBT community itself. There will be speaking requests. However, as she already knows from working as an editor and journalist in the entertainment field, the people who will want her as a speaker will often see her as a celebrity and not a whole human being.