Help kickass trans activist and singer KOKUMO fund her second annual T.G.I.F. (Trans*, Gender Non-Conforming, Intersex Freedom) Pride Rally in Chicago. It’s rare for our movement to support spaces created by trans women of color. Let’s make a change.
Contribute funds here or reach out to T.G.I.F. organizers in Chicago (kokumomedia[AT]gmail[DOT]com) for opportunities to help with organizing or assisting with the 2013 rally.
Read this Village Voice cover story this morning and got my life + became a fan. Specifically here:
“Quattlebaum says he hates … the field of queer studies along with it. ‘I have a lot of problems with the academic queer community because it’s a community that exists completely removed from reality,’ he says. ‘Those kids who are selling their bodies on the West Side Highway, on Christopher Street, they don’t even know what the fuck queer theory is.’”
Hence our need to be rooted in grassroots, in the streets, in solidarity with those who are “marginalized.” I’m done with folks and organizations speaking our names and bodies in theory, in death, in stats. Yet ignoring the same folks they discuss in theory without ever knowing us, without ever trying to engage, without ever “outreaching,” without ever lending the stage and resources to us.
As a trans woman of color - no matter what space I enter - I have one stilletoed foot on the street. Always.
Today, I returned to the Melissa Harris Perry Show, where (guess what???) I got to discuss…TV + Scandal + media representations of black women. I got the chance to speak about something other than just being trans in mainstream media.
It’s an exhibition in the fact that trans people do have other interests than just being trans or having “transitioned.” It was a pleasure to return to my giddy pop culture editor roots (with a touch of depth, right?!) and do it on such a powerful platform with one of my sheroes, Melissa Harris Perry.
Yesterday I made my debut on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC - the only political show that I watch. During the segment, I discussed redefining equality, unpacking the monolith of our community, GLAAD’s name change and why we’ll need more from our internal and external allies:
“What I need from these people [our LGBT & Straight Allies] is to fight for access to healthcare coverage, for protection when I’m looking to use the restroom, when I’m looking for housing, employment, and education. Also legal and social recognition that trans women are women and trans men are men, and that some trans people choose not to identify with either and self-determination is okay.” -Me, Janet Mock ;-)
On this International Women’s Day, I celebrate the trans women living, interacting, activating, speaking, writing, acting, singing, organizing, breathing, smiling, crying, working, werqing, twerking, serving, reading, loving, and giving at the margins of this oftentimes hostile, misogynistic, classist, racist, femmephobic, gender-policing world.
I’m in awe of Monica Roberts, Valerie Spencer, Laverne Cox, Danielle King, Ayana Elliott, and Rev. Camarion Anderson, six black trans women who shared space at the National Black Justice Coalition’s historic trans women townhall, where they told their stories, shared their wisdom and educated the community about what it means to be fighting on behalf of trans women, specifically those of color, everywhere.
I can’t wait until the day when we are able, as a community, to truly celebrate the diverse portrait of womanhood - all girls and women from all walks of life - so that townhalls like these are not historic, but the norm for trans women.
Excited to share space on a panel with my big brothers Darnell L. Moore and Wade Davis II in Ottawa, Canada, tomorrow (Friday 1/25) during Carleton University’s GLBTQ Centre’s “Unapologetic” Pride Week. We’ll discuss identities, intersectionality, pride, occupying space and much more.
Event details here.
I had the pleasure of being on a panel called “Race & Gender in the 21st Century” at last month’s “Facing Race” conference by the Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines.com. In it, I added my two cents on the intersections of race and gender, specifically issues and advances for trans women of color.
The Center for Social Inclusion’s Maya Wiley led the conversation with myself, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, race scholar Michael Omi and the Albany Law School’s Christian Sundquist.
Janet is among those who are fighting for change. Key to this, she believes, is allowing some “shades of grey” in how we view people.
“People can’t really be put into boxes,” she says. “We need to get away from just category, and we have to allow people who were in one to move into the next category, [to] respect their right to self-determine.” That also means, she adds, allowing those who have no need to identify as either male or female to be “fine to be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum”.
“I’m very female, whatever that means. But I respect someone who is not and needs to draw outside of the lines a little bit.”
Humbled, honored, amazed to share space with 18 empowering, awesomely diverse women who are using digital media for gender justice. You can vote for our #GirlsLikeUs collective or any of the other nominees ;-)
I returned home today shaking. I was angry, frustrated, disappointed, relieved, frightened, hopeless and hopeful. I had just had lunch with my best friend Wendi. We ate at Whole Foods on a rainy day in the Lower East Side of NYC.
I’m frankly, and I know this is bad, desensitized to the fact that men hoot and holler at me on the street. I’ve learned to block that out despite the irritation. I’ve learned to accept street harassment as a daily part of my life, as common as seeing a rat in Tompkins Square Park.
On my walk home from lunch, I encountered a man who would not take no for an answer when it came to making my acquaintance. His sense of entitlement over this public space and my personal space astounded me.
Though I returned home unharmed and can gratefully say that he did not touch me, I was shaken up and took to Twitter to express my feelings and share my experience of #streetharassment, which has sadly become so normalized in our society.
Here’s my story:
Leaving lunch from Whole Foods, a man passes me on the sidewalk & extends his hand for me to shake. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
When I did not shake this stranger’s hand, he says, “Don’t act like that.”He then changes directions & walks beside me. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
He keeps his hand extended: “Come on!” I tell him to pls let me walk in peace. He begins singing “The Girl From Ipanema” #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
A woman behind me says, “She doesn’t want to talk to you.” He says, “Well I won’t stop until she shakes my hand.” #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
I say, “I’m sorry but I do not shake hands with strangers.” He counters, “I’m not a stranger anymore…” #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
”..I’ve been walking with you for minutes now.” Me: “Against my will. Yes you have. Please leave me alone.” #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
People pass. I wonder if they see it as a grand courting gesture, as if a woman should be used to this kind of attn. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
At a light on Allen&Houston, I turn to say “You’re making me really uncomfortable. Pls just let me be.” I feel vulnerable. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
“Stop being so stuck up,” he yells at me, adding, “God bless you.” He turns around and walks the other way. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
Never experienced #streetharassment to this level in my life. I was afraid he’d follow me home (even made plans to possibly go elsewhere).— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012
I want to feel safe, to walk home w/o some stranger injecting himself into my stroll. This should never be seen as normal. #streetharassment— Janet Mock (@janetmock) August 1, 2012