October 21: Janet Mock, Transgender Activist And Author Photo © GETTY IMAGES
“My genital reconstructive surgery did not make me a girl. I was always a girl.”
Janet Mock is a New York Times best-selling author, television host and transgender advocate. She hosts a weekly online series on MSNBC.com called “So POPular” and is the founder of #GirlsLikeUs, a social media project created to empower transgender women around the world. She came out publicly as transgender in 2011 and was featured in Marie Claire magazine.
One of five children born to an African-American father and a native Hawaiian mother, Mock spent much of her childhood in Honolulu before moving to California and Texas. She began her gender transition in high school. During her freshman year in college, she traveled to Thailand for gender reassignment surgery. The first person in her family to go to college, Mock attended the University of Hawaii and New York University, where she earned a master’s degree in journalism. She began her career as a staff editor for People.com.
Mock has been a contributing editor for Marie Claire and a special correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight.” She has contributed to The Washington Post, National Public Radio, Salon and Slate.
In 2014 Mock’s book, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More,” became a best seller; it traces her life growing up as a boy and transitioning into a woman. She also has written about her experience for The Huffington Post, Elle and The Advocate.
Mock has used her experience as a transgender black woman to help advocate for the LGBT community, women’s issues and multicultural awareness. She serves on the board of the Arcus Foundation, which is dedicated to LGBT and environmental advocacy.
Mock was featured in the HBO documentary “The Out List“ and in the documentary “Dressed” and has appeared on television shows such as “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “The Colbert Report.” In 2015 Oprah Winfrey invited her as a guest on “SuperSoul Sunday.”
Among other recognition, Out Magazine named Mock to its list of Out 100 and TIME named her one of the 12 new faces of black leadership and one of the most influential people online. She has also earned awards from Planned Parenthood, the Feminist Press and others.
Mock lives in New York City with her husband, the photographer and filmmaker Aaron Tredwell.
LGBT History Month celebrates the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Icons. Each day in October, a new LGBT Icon is featured with a video, bio, bibliography, downloadable images and other resources.
In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history, and gathered other teachers and community leaders. They selected October because public schools are in session and existing traditions, such as Coming Out Day (October 11), occur that month.