In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.
Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.
This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.
Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.
Janet Mock is a writer, advocate and author of “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.” In 2011, Janet publicly proclaimed her identity as a trans woman and focused her efforts on speaking about the struggles, triumphs and portrayals of girls and women like herself. In 2012, she launched the social media project #GirlsLikeUs, a movement that encourages trans women to live visibly.
Janet was profiled in the HBO documentary “The Out List” and contributes to MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show. She is a board member at the Arcus Foundation and has been recognized by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the Anti-Violence Project, and the Center for American Progress. A native of Honolulu, Janet attended the University of Hawaii, earned her MA in journalism from NYU, and worked as an editor at People.com.
She resides in NYC. Tweet her @janetmock.
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Janet Mock on Her Book Redefining Realness