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Trans Activist Janet Mock's Book Is All About 'Redefining Realness'

Trans activist Janet Mock is releasing her book, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, on February 4 and it is unfortunately not about how to achieve her fantastic hair. Oh, because those curls are glorious.


The journalist, who has appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, wrote about her life being born a boy named Charles but knowing from childhood that she was in the wrong body. With a Hawaiian mother and an African-American father, Mock split time between her mother in Honolulu, Hawaii and her father in Oakland, California. In her mid-teens, Mock befriended a group of transsexuals and one named Wendi shared her hormone pills. Soon after, the sharp-edged teen realized that taking treatment outside of a doctor's care was dangerous and that gender reassignment had to be the next step.

After high school, Mock flew to Thailand and underwent surgery. Afterward, she happily realized that her gender history was now her own private story to tell, should she choose to do so. Mock then moved to New York to attend graduate school and become a journalist.


On her website, Mock has released a series of videos that explain the inspiration for Redefining Realness. She is upfront about her past as a sexual abuse victim, a sex worker and how pop culture had a big hand in her life — Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills" video changed her life. She talks about telling her current boyfriend about her gender history for the first time and how she realizes her appearance gives her a sort of cis privilege until she shares that she is trans and then the questions begin. For her, that information is something she has the option to share; but Mock understands that that isn't the case for many in the trans community. But most of all, she hopes that her example of living her life openly can inspire young trans kids who might've been like her, searching for answers.

Mock, formerly an editor for People magazine, revealed her journey in 2011 in a Marie Claire article. Her open, honest honest story really shines a light on LGBTQ activism, and hopefully, helps dispel stigma, much like the work Orange is the New Black actress Laverne Cox is doing. I can't wait to read it this book… And I'd love to know her hair regimen.

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Kat Callahan

Lots and lots of people self-med for hormone replacement therapy, but it does come with risks and should be monitored by blood tests and medical personnel. That said, it is class privilege to even afford HRT in many countries, especially the USA, and seeing a doctor every couple of weeks for blood tests? Beyond the reach of many middle class trans folks.