Redefining Realness–Janet Mock

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For those who do not know, Janet Mock is a well known trans activist. You may have seen her on various news and talk programs. This is her autobiography, the story of her childhood through her transition in young adulthood, mostly.

She had a hell of a life, let me tell you. She struggled against her dad’s resistance to her feminine side, of course, but she had bigger issues. Her parents divorced and she spent part of her life in Hawaii with her mom before being sent to her dad in California. He got addicted to crack cocaine and her stepbrother molested her repeatedly. It got better when they moved to Texas and her dad’s female relatives were more accepting of her feminine preferences.

When she was sent back to Hawaii, all was well for a while. And then her mom got involved with a meth user and became addicted to meth as well.

Janet found some very unpleasant but resourceful ways to pay for her hormone treatments and her eventual surgery.

Her mom eventually got clean and they got their life back together, but it was still a hard, tough road.

What makes this book so lovely is that she has such a delicate, careful and nuanced hand when she writes. These are delicate topics, all of them–her gender identity and medical interventions, her family issues, the drug issues, the sexual abuse, the poverty–and she handles them all with scrupulously fair and sometimes brutal honesty without losing her thoughtful tone.

She is a model for how to write about difficult topics. I recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in trans people and their lives.