Mock was born Charles in Honolulu, Hawaii and grew up in Hawaii and Oakland, California. At age 16, she was a sex worker. She was the first person in her family to go to college. She has a bachelor's degree in fashion merchandizing from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a master's degree in journalism from New York University. She came out as a trans woman in 2011 in an article in Marie Claire entitled "I Was Born a Boy." However, in 2014, while promoting her book Redefining Realness, she said she did not choose the article's title and found it to have many problems. She chose the name "Janet" after Janet Jackson.
Mock creates transgender-specific programs and education for the LGBTQ youth center of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, which operates Harvey Milk High School, a high school for LGBT teens in New York City.
In 2012, she started a Twitter hashtag to empower transgender women, called #GirlsLikeUs, which received attention from several queer-media sites.
Also in 2012, she gave the Lavender Commencement keynote speech honoring LGBT students at the University of Southern California. She also served as co-chair, nominee and presenter at the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards.
She has also submitted a video about her experiences as a transgender woman to the "It Gets Better" project, and written about transgender issues for the Huffington Post and xojane.
In June 2013, it was reported that Mock had joined the Board of Directors of the Arcus Foundation, a global foundation dedicated to social justice activism.
She is featured in an LGBT documentary, The OUT List, which premiered on June 21, 2013 at the Olympia Theater and Office Building in Miami and screened on HBO on June 27, 2013. She is also featured in a 2011 documentary called Dressed. On November 14, 2013 Mock was honored as a member of the OUT100, Out Magazine's 100 "most compelling people of the year" and introduced Laverne Cox as the recipient of the Reader's Choice Award at the event.
Mock has written a memoir which was initially announced as being called Fish Food, but was later changed to Redefining Realness, which was released in February of 2014. In February 2014, to promote her book, she appeared on CNN's Piers Morgan Live. The book made the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover nonfiction.
In November 2012, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project gave Mock their Sylvia Rivera Activist Award.
GBMNews.com named Mock one of the "15 Most Powerful Gay Celebrities Of 2012".
Mock was included in the Trans 100, the first annual list recognizing 100 transgender advocates in the United States, and gave the keynote speech at the launch event, March 29, 2013 in Chicago.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Atria Books (February 4, 2014)
Amazon: Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
Amazon Kindle: Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.
Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.
This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.
Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Persistent Voices
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