Janet Mock: At a Glance
Janet Mock is a GLAAD Award-nominated writer and trans advocate, who publicly shared her teenage transition story in Marie Claire and a video testimony for the It Gets Better project in May 2011.
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Janet tells stories from her life on her blog, hosts a relationships podcast and web series called The Missing Piece with her boyfriend, photographer and filmmaker Aaron Tredwell, and is writing her forthcoming memoir, tentatively titled Fish Food, about her adolescent journey beyond gender.
A graduate of the University of Hawaii and New York University’s Master’s program in journalism, Janet lives, writes, and works as a Staff Editor at People.com in New York City, where she’s covered pop culture and entertainment for more than five years. She also serves on the programs committee at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a haven for young LGBTQ people seeking solace and resources in New York City.
Janet, who’s committed to challenging the media’s portrayal of women from all walks of life and was named one of The Grio’s 100 most influential people in 2012, can next be seen in the documentary The LGBTQQA List by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (The Black List, The Latino List ), the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards, where she’s a nominee and co-chair.
Janet Mock: Her Story in Her Own Words
I was welcomed into this world as the firstborn son of my parents in Honolulu, Hawaii. They named me Charles, but my earliest memories involve my first playmate Janet, the girl I always knew myself to be. Janet became my very first conviction, a sort of imaginary friend who would not be ignored.
As puberty began in middle school, my body began to change, slightly fighting the me I knew inside. It was difficult navigating the world in a vessel that did not reflect me at my best, and it became the central struggle of my teen years.
During the eighth grade, I began wearing cosmetics (Lipsmackers, Wet N Wild eyeliner, CoverGirl compacts) and platform shoes and tight bellbottom jeans. I was teased and taunted for this gender variance, but my accomplishments and involvement in school soon overshadowed my gender-nonconformity. By my freshman year, I was wearing dresses to school and was known as Janet through the halls of my high school in Honolulu.
With the help of my family, my friends, my endocrinologist and my teachers, I thrived, eventually earning my Alma mater’s only full-ride academic scholarship to the University of Hawaii.
After my freshman semester, I traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, where at the hands of a surgeon, I became the physical embodiment of the woman of my dreams at age 18. I finally had the body that represented me at my best.
With the gender stuff behind me, I graduated from college and moved to New York, where I earned my masters in journalism at New York University. In 2006, I was elated to be hired to do what I love, working as an editor for PEOPLE.com, where I put my encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, bad rom-coms and Beyoncé to entertaining use.
But writing about famous people only allowed me to express a minutiae of my passions. My wake-up call to a higher purpose came after the 2008 murder of Lawrence “Larry” King and the tragic string of suicides in the fall of 2010. It was apparent that being who you truly are was a matter of life and death. I knew that writing my story in silence was no longer an option. I had to speak up.
I decided to share my adolescent journey to womanhood in Marie Claire, a women’s magazine with the motto “More Than a Pretty Face,” as well as tell my story directly to LGBTQ youth in my It Gets Better video.
Now, I’m in the midst of writing my forthcoming memoir, sharing stories from my life on my blog and podcast and speaking to audiences in an effort to raise visibility for trans people everywhere. I hope by living visibly, I banish the shame attached to being trans, chip away at our society’s transphobia and diversify the portrait of transgender people everywhere.
If you’d like to keep up with my work, read my blog, listen to my podcast, follow me on Twitter and connect with me on Facebook.