“Redefining Realness”: Trans Writer Janet Mock’s Memoir

Out today is Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock. Mock was established as a writer in New York City before she publicly disclosed her transgender identity in 2011. At that time the story of Mock’s transition and coming out was published in Marie Claire.

Now, her new book delves into much more about her life. The publisher of Redefining Realness states:

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.

In an interview last month with Autostraddle, Mock was asked what advice she’d give “to someone who is trying to live true to themselves or who is struggling with who they are”:

I think number one is tap into yourself and take your time… …(W)hat I would say to someone is don’t look to these big role models that now you hold up on a pedestal. Look to those who are right in process with you. Because you see that they’re taking their time, that it takes a long time to find yourself. So take your time finding yourself, take your time finding and honing your voice, if you’re a writer or storyteller or an artist, whatever that point of view is, and to really tap into yourself. And when I say tap into yourself, I mean like really find out who you are. Like beyond the labels that people may have embraced for themselves and find the labels that are you, you know?

Selected Reviews of Redefining Realness

Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Stuck in the Middle With You: “Janet Mock’s groundbreaking book is testimony to the remarkable progress trans people have achieved over the last decade– and shines a bright light on the work that still needs to be done. Mock’s clear, lucid prose will open hearts and minds, and further the goals of equality and justice–not just for trans people, but for everyone. Redefining Realness is loving, searing, and true.”

Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History: “Redefining Realness overflows with the everyday magic of survival and resiliency in low income communities of color, of loving kindness bursting through the cracks of a hard reality, and of the life-sustaining bonds of family, friendships, and a powerful trans sisterhood.”

Kirkus Reviews: “From learning her father was addicted to crack to the childhood sexual abuse she sustained to the street sex she performed to gain enough money for her sex-change operation, Mock allows readers into the deepest and darkest moments of her life…It is an eye-opening and unapologetic story that is much greater than mere disclosure; it is a necessary assessment that a transgender person is as normal as any other person who claims the title of normalcy and that gender and body shape do not form a person’s identity.”

You can watch her book trailer below:

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