As an adult, you might self-identify as a Democrat, a punk, or an intellectual—these are identities you've chosen for yourself. But think about the identities you were ascribed automatically at birth: your ethnicity, say, or your sex. These biological identities are written down on your birth certificate, but what if they don't match the person you know you are inside?
That's a question that Janet Mock has had to reckon with directly—first privately, as she underwent gender reconstruction surgery at age 18, then publicly, when she came out as transgender in a 2011 Marie Claire article. She's a successful pop culture journalist and host of her own TV show, So Popular! on MSNBC, and her memoir, Redefining Realness, was a New York Times bestseller. Now, she's using her platform to serve as one of transgender America's most prominent activists.
On this episode of Intersection, Jamil and Janet discuss everything from black cultural appropriation, to intersectional feminism, to Janet's upcoming wedding. Take a listen.
If you want to learn more about Janet, transgender rights, and pop culture criticism, you've come to the right place:
- I Was Born a Boy, by Janet Mock for Marie Claire
- Janet Mock's Brilliant Cultural Insurgency, by Chloe Angyal for the American Prospect
- The Passion of Nicki Minaj, by Vanessa Grigoriadis for the New York Times Magazine
- Nicki Minaj, White Fragility, and Me, by Sally Kohn for Medium (a response to the above article)
- America Has Not Reached a Transgender Tipping Point, by Eric Sasson for the New Republic
- One Picture Can't Tell All of Caitlyn Jenner's Story, by Sarah Marshall for the New Republic
- My Feminist Awakening and the Influence of Beyonce's Pop Culture Declaration, by Janet Mock on her blog