janet mock quotes

I don’t believe transphobia alone exists. I believe it’s very layered. Misogyny and sexism within the LGBT community needs to be checked as well. I think we tend to devalue the voices and experiences of women, period.

Janet Mock in interview with Will O'Bryan

Go figure, not just us tumblr types (which I claim proudly) talking about how “transphobia” isn’t adequate to describe the situation of trans women, and isn’t accurate to describe the situation of trans men.

Janet Mock Inspires CeCe McDonald

“Janet, you know how much I love you. I look up to you as a big sister. And this book really, in my eyes, made me see myself as not just the one who went through my experience alone. Every time I would read a page in your book, it would be like a black and white scene of a movie in my head of my life, of something that you experienced that I’ve experienced in some way. It’s really hard for me to express myself to people when it comes to experiences that I had whether it be good or bad. And for you to have written a book about that is really a blessing. It’s like…this is like the ten commandments for us right now. Like literally. It speaks truth. And with truth comes freedom.” - CeCe McDonald

Part of what Cece McDonald said to Janet Mock in regards to her important, exquisitely written, groundbreaking book about being a trans woman of colour, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. Quote is from The Barnard Center For Research on Women annual salon that featured several panelists.

The names of our sisters shouldn’t only make headlines when we walk a red carpet or lay in a casket. Our visibility shouldn’t be subject to such extreme circumstances. We’ve grown too accustomed, in the past year, to speaking the names of Laverne Cox and Janet Mock, and giving ourselves social justice cred for doing so. This is dangerously tokenizing and speaks to the hypervisibility of women of color who are expected to not only carry their dreams but the dreams of an entire race and people with them.

It’s part of the reason why I am weary of amplifying these women’s deaths because it often feels like these women’s names are only spoken by the majority of us when they can no longer respond. But I must speak their names and when I do, I am aware that my sisters do not need to be reminded of their vulnerability and the threat of violence that looms over their lives.


Janet Mock

Quote is from her essay A Note On The Visibility In The Wake Of 6 Trans Women’s Murders In 2015. Important read. Critical right now. 

Most of the trans women killed are trans women of colour. Of those trans women of colour, most of them are Black. This is relevant. Racism, sexism, misogyny, transmisogyny, misogynoir, classism/poverty et. al. All factors. Intersecting oppressions.

“Trans women of color dangerously fall in between the cracks of racial justice, feminist and LGBT movements.”

Let’s be clear though: This story is larger than Couric; it’s about our culture and its dehumanization of trans people’s bodies and identities. Because trans people are marked as artificial, unnatural, and illegitimate, our bodies and identities are often open to public dissection. Plainly, cisgender folks often take it as their duty to investigate our lives to see if we’re real.

Curiosity is vital to the growth of our society. It allows us to stretch our minds and learn more, which I truly believe was Couric’s intention: to educate her viewers. But curiosity and mere mystery objectifies and others those that are being gazed upon, pushing our most marginalized peers to defend their right to exist without the pervasive violation of the dehumanizing gaze of curiosity.


Watch Me Chat with Oprah!!!

I hope you will join me in watching this moment together tomorrow, Sundaymorning, at 11am Eastern on the OWN Channel (find OWN on your TV!) or streaming worldwide online at www.supersoulsunday.com!

In the final chapter of Redefining Realness, I actually quote Oprah Winfrey: “You are a composite of all the things you believe, and all the places you believe you can go. Your past does not define you. You can step out of your history and create a new day for yourself. Even if the entire culture is saying, ‘You can’t.’ Even if every single possible bad thing that can happen to you does. You can keep going forward.”

This is a full circle moment for me, and I’m humbled to be sharing it with you. I’ll bewatching live and live-tweeting using the hashtag #SuperSoulSunday.

I think we’re all learning this stuff. Like, even me as a trans person, I didn’t know what cisgender was until a year and a half ago. Even I’m developing this language that very much came out of a white queer and trans* space, and which we’re all adopting that rhetoric coming out of academia mostly. I think we’re all very much in process of learning and I think that most people don’t want to say that - even trans* people don’t want to say that that you know, they don’t know what cisgender is. And a lot of people still use “bio” and “real” for people’s genders. We’re on a journey together to learn this language to speak about this community, which is very varied and diverse.
—  Janet Mock on gender and language on today’s Citizen Radio.  Listen at wearecitizenradio.com or on tumblr here.

What Piers Morgan and others like him in mainstream media need to learn is that simply saying you support trans people and trans rights is valueless unless you incorporate those values into your show when you have trans people on as guests and when you discuss us on your shows. To demonstrate support, you must also demonstrate respect, and one of the easiest and surest ways to do that is to refrain from referring to a trans woman as a man, former or otherwise, for any reason, ever.

Whether Morgan or anyone else believes it’s accurate or not is irrelevant. What matters is that trans women perceive being described as former men as disrespectful, demeaning, and rude. In the end, if Piers Morgan is truly the trans supporter he says he is, then what he thinks really shouldn’t matter. Simply the fact that Janet and other trans women were offended should be enough for Piers Morgan to apologize, learn from his mistake, and promise not to repeat it.

—  Where Piers Morgan Went Wrong | Rebecca Juro for the Huffington Post Gay Voices
Trans women are targeted because we exist at vulnerable intersections of race, gender and class. My sisters are vulnerable because no one movement has ever centered the bodies, lives and experiences of these women, except for the severely underfunded, largely volunteer-staffed work of organizations run by and for our communities…
These spaces, even though they’re supposed to be welcoming, safe spaces, they still are infected by the ills that all other spaces are - racism and misogyny and elitism and classism, academia jargon and all of this stuff. These spaces aren’t immune. If you come into these spaces knowing that and your job is to come in and make it a better space.
—  janetmock on finding community as a trans person, especially when not all LGBTQ spaces are inclusive to trans people. Listen at wearecitizenradio.com or on tumblr here.
Morgan really seems to have some really fundamental misunderstandings about how oppression works. He seemed to think that trans people calling him transphobic is just as bad as the oppression that trans women of color face every day. He tried to make himself into the victim, and even though he invited Mock back on his show, he clearly didn’t want to listen to her or learn from this experience. It would have been nice to see a wealthy, white cis man with all the privilege in the world be quiet for a little while, listen to a trans woman of color and actually learn from his mistakes, but unfortunately, that’s not what happened tonight.

“[sex workers] came to merchant street and took control of their bodies–bodies that were radical in their mere existence in this misogynistic, transphobic, elitist world[…]The varied, often conflicting portraits these women presented shaped my developing composition of womanhood. When I am asked how I define womanhood, I often quote feminist author Simone de Beauvoir: "one is not born, but rather becomes a woman.”[…]This short, powerful statement assured me that I have the freedom, in spite of and because of my birth, body, race, gender expectations, and economic resources, to define myself for myself and for others.“ -Janet Mock (Redefining Realness)