Note: I’m changing it up a little bit, and writing about some non-sciencey stuff: race and tokenism in America. I was inspired by a marvelous piece I read recently about astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. It made me think about my own experiences as a minority in science and engineering,…
Really enjoyed this piece. It resonated deeply with me as a person carrying multiplicities when I enter many spaces where no one like me has entered before.
Janet Mock delivers a keynote speech at the 2012 USC Lavender Celebration, discussing the disparities facing black transgender women and the Free CeCe movement.
CeCe McDonald and other resistant trans women of color hold me accountable daily in my work. In 2012, I wrote about Cece and Trayvon Martin, making a link between their cases and the media’s (lack of) response. Both broke my heart, made me stand up, raise my political consciousness and sharpen my intersectional lens.
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."