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Pride Month: Janet Mock

“I stand here today, most of all, because I am my sister’s keeper… Our approach to freedom need not be identical, but it must be intersectional and inclusive.” - Janet Mock at the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.

A transgender rights advocate, writer, and media producer, Janet Mock made waves in the industry by being the first openly transgender woman of color to write and direct for television and secure a major studio deal. A native of Honolulu and a graduate of Farrington High School and UH Manoa, Janet started as a staff editor for People magazine, where she publicly came out as transgender. Her autobiographies, particularly her first one, showcased her journey transitioning as a teenager in Hawaii, marking her entry into advocacy. Spanning across various media roles, she eventually found her niche in screenwriting, notably creating the acclaimed show "Pose" on FX. "Pose" broke ground by casting trans actors for trans characters, significantly boosting transgender representation in the media.

Janet Mock was born on March 10, 1983, in Honolulu, Hawaii, as Charles. Growing up as the second of five children to her African American father, Charlie Mock III, and Hawaiian-European mother, Elizabeth, she knew from a young age that she was a girl born in a boy's body. As a six year old, Janet (then Charles) and her brother were sent to live with their dad in Texas, so they could have a male influence. Texas was hard for Janet, because her dad wanted to fix his son and remove his feminine tendencies. 

At the age of twelve, Janet returned to live with her mom in Honolulu, where she was surrounded by transgender friends and mentors, like her māhū kumu hula and a high school group for trans girls. She began hormonal transitioning during her high school years, supported by her best friend Wendi, who was also mixed Kanaka Maoli and transitioning. While studying at the University of Hawaii Manoa, she had gender reassignment surgery done in Thailand, choosing the name Janet, after Janet Jackson. Mock graduated from UH in 2004 with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. She continued her education at NYU, receiving her MA in Journalism in 2006.

Almost immediately, Janet enjoyed a whirlwind of success in the media industry, quickly rising through the ranks of People Magazine. However, her unique voice was first heard in 2011, when she shared her own story in Marie Claire magazine, as a way to encourage kids who were struggling because of their gender, sexuality, or sexual orientation. Shortly after, she wrote her first biography, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. This was the first biography written from the perspective of a young trans person. 

Janet Mock has worked tirelessly to advocate for transgender people, LGBT rights, and women’s rights. Her name has been featured on multiple lists including: TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list, Variety magazine’s Power of Women list, Ebony magazine’s Ebony 100, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, and Oprah magazine’s SuperSoul100. In 2017, she spoke at the Women’s March on Washington to millions of people advocating for women’s rights. In that same year, Mock started writing the TV series “Pose” for FX. She hasn’t stopped and continues to tell stories of the LGBTQIA+ community through writing and TV. She recently shared, “Television has the power to offer millions a gateway to better understand and fight for one another. It’s only in the act of spending time with each other—which can happen on our screens—that we better understand the fight ahead of us: to ensure that we are all included in the American story.



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