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TRANS MEDITATIONS

Janet Mock, Associate Editor Of People.Com Publically Discusses Her Trans Experience

SOUNDBITE — “Ten years ago, I was a senior at Kalihi’s Farrington High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, where I graduated near the top of class with an academic scholarship to the University of Hawaii. Yet I still cried myself to sleep nearly every night because I felt my anatomy didn’t match the beauty of my soul. I felt my sex organs grew in the wrong direction at my early development and I was given the wrong cocktail of hormones during puberty happy hour.

Though I knew deep down that what lied in between my legs did not define me, I still felt limited. I hated toweling off after a shower and fretting over my “tuck” (yes, I had to hide it some way!) and never dared to wear a bikini. I wanted to be “normal,” I wanted to hold hands with a boy, to wear a miniskirt without being called into the principal’s office, and go on with my days without worrying about the gender stuff.

I just wanted to be. I just wanted to be in a body that represented me at my best.”

Associate Editor for PEOPLE.com Janet Mock who discussed her transsexual experience this week in Marie Claire magazine in an It Gets Better video.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           May 20, 2011
Tagged: ,
  • 23 Comments
    • gina
      gina

      No, she didn’t come out as “a transsexual” she publicly discussed her background as a woman with a trans history. She had many friends (including her boyfriend) who were perfectly aware of the details of her life, therefore, she was already out.

      And yes, I’m really glad to see this video and think it will do help more trans kids, the group with the highest suicide rate, than the dozens of ‘it gets better’ videos which don’t even have a trans person in them.

      May 20, 2011 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete n SFO
      Pete n SFO

      @gina,

      you do yourself no favors quibbling over that kind of language.

      I’m not saying you’re incorrect, but seriously, that’s what captured your focus?!

      People generally don’t understand trans-people & all that comes with it… the last thing needed is a hypersensitivity about saying the wrong thing, or having said something the wrong way.

      Lighten-up. As my mom says, ‘you catch more bees w/ honey.’

      May 20, 2011 at 11:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gina
      gina

      If you don’t “understand” trans people Pete, then I suggest actually trying to learn something (there’s this site called “Google”) instead of making half-backed excuses for ignorance. The person who placed this story has, in fact, posted many trans stories on Queerty.

      I don’t care about your sweet tooth hunny bunny, I’ve long since stop worrying whether I’m saying something which makes your sensitive tummy upset. And I always love it that the people who say “lighten up” to others are the very ones who, heaven forbid, get the most pissed off when their own little world is misrepresented.

      On all the other “It Gets Better” videos, are all the gay people identified as “coming out”? I’ve not seen that term used once. You call it quibbling, I call it treating trans women as real equals.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daniel
      Daniel

      @gina: Despite my continued inclusion of trans and intersexual content on Queerty, I am far from an expert and learn more with each article.

      I read Ashley Love’s thankful letter to Marie Claire and mistakenly called Janet Mock a “transsexual” as opposed to “a woman of transsexual experience.”

      I acknowledge the error, appreciate your letting me know, and have edited the story to accurately represent Janet.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheRealAdam
      TheRealAdam

      @gina: No, it’s quibbling. She revealed that she is a transsexual publicly and in a grand way. Therefore, she “came out” as transsexual. Many gay people who have people close to them who know about them, still “come out” to everyone in an inclusive and major way. It’s really no different.

      And you obviously have some sort of complex about being, in your mind, misrepresented, or not fully included. Fair enough, but I’ll tell you what: if you want people to receive you and your issues favorably and respectfully, especially on a gay blog which isn’t specifically tailored to trans issues, try demonstrating some restraint and respect yourself, first. Otherwise, don’t get upset when you receive the same reaction you basically give off.

      May 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gina
      gina

      Thank you Daniel!

      May 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gina
      gina

      Thank you for your amateur psychotherapy “Real Adam” but I won’t be paying your for it because it, like your viewpoint, are pure smug yet uninformed bs. And having seen you act like a right a-hole on this here blog many a time, kindly don’t try to school anyone on manners.

      May 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • missanthrope
      missanthrope

      @gina:

      Gina, let’s not get in to identity wars here. As much I respect you for your work at Skip the Makeup, I’ve got to disagree.

      She called herself a transsexual in the blog, using that interchangeably with being a woman of trans history. If you’re going to ask people to respect your identity, then you’ve got to honor whatever their going to describe their experience.

      You get don’t paste over other people’s experiences with your, you just don’t get that right. Being transsexual and a woman are not two mutually exclusive identities. If you don’t identify that way, then cool beans, but don’t say someone should be identified in such a way because you see it fit that they do. As much as you champion trans people speaking out for themselves, I must admit I’m not seeing you showing much of it here.

      Perhaps if we, as a community, spent more time on helping each other out rather than telling other trans people how to identify, there might be a couple less trans kids on the streets, or one less trans suicide. Think about it.

      -A fellow trans woman.

      @ Daniel: Ashley Love is probably the last person you’d be wanting to take advice from, she’s a very divisive figure in our community, I’d go so far as to call her a bigot (if you aren’t her ideal of being trans, then you’re a “fetishist” as she said in her letter).

      @ Real Adam: I guess only you listen to “nice and polite trannies” huh? Quit being dismissive. And you’re right, we complain about not being fully included because, wonders of wonders, we aren’t fully included. Have you’ve ever considered that idea?

      May 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fountouki
      Fountouki

      What a great video and a beautiful woman! It’s about time that trans issues receive more attention.

      @gina: In my opinion, your criticism was absolutely appropriate. Pointing out mistakes like that will help us cis peeps to extend our knowledge about transsexuality.
      Greetings from Germany.

      May 20, 2011 at 3:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DJ
      DJ

      She’s SO pretty! I would have never been able to tell. I’m very happy for her.

      May 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete n SFO
      Pete n SFO

      @gina: yawn… seriously, girl, I live in SFO… do you honestly think I don’t have any trans-buddies?!

      From your comments, I gather I’m not the first person to tell you to ‘lighten up’ eh?

      Some people are just unhappy- trans & otherwise.

      Whatevvs, girl.

      May 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shamdrew
      Shamdrew

      @gina: as someone said earlier, bees, honey, etc. stop being a hypersensitive, nitpicking bitch.

      May 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gayboi25
      Gayboi25

      What a freak.

      May 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TheRealAdam
      TheRealAdam

      @gina: Thank you for proving my point, sweetie. And for the record, I’m not trying to school anyone on “manners.” But if YOU insist on having bad ones and then get upset when someone dishes it back to you, maybe you need to check yourself.

      @missanthrope: Yes, I only listen to nice and polite “trannies” (I don’t use that word, but I guess you do) when it comes to silly, nit-picking bickering. If you come across as a gaping cunt about something which I just proved @TheRealAdam: was stupid to point out in the first place, then yes, you need to correct the attitude. Gina’s pissy and unnecessary anger would be better directed elsewhere toward real grievances.

      And if you aren’t included, then that’s something that should be addressed. But pick your battles. Criticizing Daniel over something so unimportant is not going to make you more included.

      May 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kyle
      Kyle

      God this woman is beautiful! I am also transsexual, but FTM

      @Daniel, she has only stated she is transsexual, as her blog and letter both state, so you are correct in calling her such

      @Gina, she is not “trans”, she is a woman who transsexual surgery.

      Many people who are transsexual dont like being called transgender or gender queer, as Ashley Love said. That doesn’t make her a bigot, that makes her honest. If you look closely, the only people who hate on Ashley for keeing it real are “women” who love their penis. Some would call these people cross dressing males who just say that they are women. And as males do, they lash out at women who don’t submit to their craziness.

      May 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      I’m glad to see Ms. Mock made a IGB video and

      The safest path to navigate around identity politics & self identification, for me, has been to notice (or ask) how people prefer to be referred to (other than their name, of course) And when I make an error, I ask to be reminded.

      If Person A prefers “Trans,” or “Transsexual” “Transgender” or “Gender Queer” and Person B goes for “Lesbian” or “Dyke” etc., then it’s just good sense & good manners to use that term, when it’s needed.

      I may not always understand the intricacies of some labels, to be honest, but I’m learning thanks to some very patient teachers [including cyber-friend @Missanthrope]

      I also still am not fluent in gender-neutral pronouns though. I’m a work in progress…

      May 20, 2011 at 9:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gina
      gina

      @missanthrope:

      I’m not telling Janet Mock how to identify… if anything you and Marie Claire are making assumptions about how she does. My issue is with the term “coming out”… she wasn’t “in the closet” (okay, she wasn’t openly trans to her fellow employees, but I don’t consider that stealth or in the closet… that’s called going to work and not sharing a part of your personal life or medical history which no one else is required to share either. I’ve listened to Janet’s podcasts (which are not edited by some third person and she gets to directly speak for herself) for quite a while now and am very well aware how she identifies… she identifies as a woman. (and unfortunately, the Marie Claire story problematically proclaims that “Until she was 18, Janet was a boy.” I suggest we let Janet really speak for herself through her podcast and through her upcoming autobiography “Fish Food” rather than a yet another article about someone’s genitals (yes, the Marie Claire story loooves obsessing over tucking and SRS).

      The issue with having it spread around that she “came out as a transsexual” (and actually most people are reporting that she ‘came out as transgender’) is that people make assumptions about a beautiful woman like Janet that she’s trying to ‘fool’ people into thinking she’s a woman, fool men into having sex, yadda, yadda. Sorry, but that is a societal trope which makes the term “coming out as transsexual” a loaded term in a way that it isn’t when gay men or women come out. She had many friends who knew she was trans, her boyfriend knew she was trans. Yes, she does refer to the word “transsexual” in the story but she doesn’t say “I am a transsexual.” You will note that in her blog, she refers to coming out as my “so-called coming out” meaning that she has issues with the term herself. Can we respect that? In her blog discussing the story (which she wrote and edited, not some non-trans third person) she never refers to herself as “a transsexual.”

      And I use the term “trans” as a blanket term in much the same way as people use “trans*” and too bad, but when discussing issues of how this issues are presented I feel it’s the least offensive term of the bunch, so there.

      May 21, 2011 at 11:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gina
      gina

      @Kyle:

      Sorry Kyle, I’m a woman who had SRS and, while I think Ashley does some good things too, I don’t in the least subscribe to her brand of identity politics nor flinging the term ‘transvestite’ or ‘man in a dress’ at any trans woman who doesn’t agree with her. But this thread is about Janet Mock, a very cool woman who is discussing her history in a very non-judgemental way, not Ashley. I do acknowledge that both Ashley and Janet transitioned as teenager girls which is a highly unique experience, so I am willing to listen to her perspective on it even if she throws nasty labels around.

      May 21, 2011 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • R.A,
      R.A,

      “I wanted to be ‘normal,’ I wanted to hold hands with a boy, to wear a miniskirt without being called into the principal’s office, and go on with my days without worrying about the gender stuff.”

      However you live your life is fine with me, but I am sick of trans people making it sound like gay or androgynous kids are somehow not “normal.”

      Our suicide rates are high enough without promoting internalized homophobia.

      May 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      People magazine is quite homophobic towards male-male sexuality but much more welcoming of female-female sexuality. I wonder if Janet Mock has anything to do with this homophobic double standard.

      People magazine gave so much publicity – including front page covers – to Ellen and her marriage but hardly any to Ricki Martin and his boyfriend. They certainly did not give Ricki and his boyfriend the full front page treatment.

      This is one of the reasons I’ve stopped buying People. It’s homophobic towards men.

      May 21, 2011 at 7:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ruhlmann
      Ruhlmann

      This woman is drop dead gorgeous and very well adjusted to her experience. I have a good freind in B.C. who is a F to M man. He transitioned very quickly and had only begun just before I met him. When he had the breast tissue removed he became distant and seemed agitated easily which wasn’t like him. He had only said to me “I aqm having surgery” and that he didn’t want anyone at the hospital. A few days after he got home I talked him into a canoe trip up the Fraser River to Pitt Lake.

      The third evening we banked and set up camp and a fire and I brought out some glasses and the first of three bottles of Scotch I had brought. We got through half a bottle without a word spoken when he looked at me and I said “you look a lot better with them fucken things off of you L@#$.” Anyway he started bawling, I mean really heaving and I went over and put my arms around him and started bawling to. We killed the rest of the bottle and went to sleep.

      The next day he was back to his same self happy, confident and we have never spoken of it. He had a long way to go yet but his breasts were quite large and created real discomfort for him and significantly, others. I knew what it was that was niggling him and I knew he needed to be in a neutral environment with a good freind to express his relief and I am proud that it was me.

      I still don’t completely understand trans experience because we actually never talked about it beyond my comment about his chest. We talked about Dodge trucks, canoeing, single malt Scotch, my homosexuality and things we had in common but never that because I knew he didn’t want to so I respected that. He is a good freind and still the only guy who can drink me under the table. I miss him heaps.

      May 22, 2011 at 2:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zoe Brain
      Zoe Brain

      @Ruhlmann: Thereby proving to me once more that all the Good Ones *are* married or Gay.

      Thanks for doing that, Ruhlmann.

      May 22, 2011 at 10:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cj M
      Cj M

      @Ruhlmann: Man, ya gotta warn a girl, when you’re gonna tell a story like that. Now, i’m crying.

      It’s good crying, but still.

      -Cj

      May 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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