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Janet Mock's Path to Womenhood

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Sammi Bicknell

on 24 April 2017

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Transcript of Janet Mock's Path to Womenhood

Janet Mock's Path to Womenhood
Differences of transitioning vs coming out
Fitting In vs Standing Out
normals vs queers

"Though I would grow up to fit neatly into the binary, I believe in self-determination, autonomy, in people having the freedom to proclaim who they are and define gender for themselves. Our genders are as unique as we are. No one’s definition is the same, and compartmentalizing a person as either a boy or a girl based entirely on the appearance of genitalia at birth undercuts our complex life experiences.” (pg. 22)

using your voice to speak up for those who cannot

My awakening pushed me to be more vocal about these issues, prompting uncomfortable but necessary conversations about the movement privileging middle- and upper-class cis gay and lesbian rights over the daily access issues plaguing low-income queer and trans youth and LGBT people of color, communities that carry interlocking identities that are not mutually exclusive, that make them all the more vulnerable to poverty, homelessness, unemployment, HIV/AIDs, hyper-criminalization, violence, and so much more.” (pg. 256)
How Janet's Journey is Similar or Different from Molly's
Question #1
Trace Janet's path to womanhood, highlighting significant passages in the text that reveal critical moments in her journey. (Identify what these critical moments actually are!) In wat ways does Janet's journey mirror the coming out process of Molly in Rubyfruit Jungle, and how is her journey different? What do these difference tell us about some of the unique issues faced by some trans women?
Path to Womanhood
Definition of what it means to be a women.
"I struggled for years with my perception of what trans womanhood was, having internalized our culture's skewed, biased views and pervasive misconceptions about trans women." (pg. xiv)
"I wantd Halle Berry's or Tyra Banks's breasts, Britney Spears's midsection, Beyonce's curvy sillhouette and long hair, and I prayed that I wouldn't grow any taller so I didn't tower over the petite Asian girls who were the barometer of beauty in the island." (pg. 123)

Influential women in her life who taught her what it meant to be a women
Mother
Grandmother
Sisters
Janine
"Janine seemed to be built of bird bones that looked incapable of having once carried Derek. She was a slow-moving women who slid her feet, spreading her coconut-oil scent throughout the house. She had large eyes, similar to Diana Ross's, that were child-like, making her look all the more vulnerable." (pg. 34)

"...I clung to her as a stand-in mother figure who handled me with care,giving me the nurturing and feminine influence I craved in Mom's absence." (pg. 34)
How Transitioning is Different and Similar to Coming Out


Physical changes
"Genie's persistent reference to my appearance reflects many people's romanticized notions about trans women who transition at a young age." (pg. 236)

Disclosure to significant others
"...I realized then that he had something to lose, too, with what I had to say. There was a dream in him that could be wrecked by my revelation." (pg. 10)

"After I told Mai my story, she yelled at me for scaring her: 'You acted as if you murdered someone!' When we met that evening for dinner, she hugged me, acted just as silly as she normally did, and reiterated that Aaron was still idiotic not to be with me. Her friendship buoyed me as I spoke the truths I'd silenced long ago." (pg. 253)

Passing
"She looked at me in awe, marveling at how well I could "pass", as if I had everything because the world would read me as a desirable woman: young attractive, and cis. I knew through various experiences that when I was presumed to be a cis woman, subject to pervasive sexist and racist objectification as well as invisibility in the U.S. media, which values white women's bodies and experience over mine." (pg. 236)
non binary

"Gender and gender identity, sex and sexuality, are spheres of self-discovery that overlap and relate but are not one and the same. Each and every one of us has a sexual orientation and a gender identity. Simply put, our sexual orientation has to do with whom e get into bed with, while our gender identity has to do with whom we get into bed as. A trans person can be struaght, gay bisexual, etc.; a cus gatm kesvuan, or geterosexual person can conform to expected gender norms or not; and a woman can have a penis and a man can have a vagina. There is nor formula when it comes to gender and sexuality. Yet it is often only people whose gender identity and/or sexual orientation negates society's heteronormative and cisnormative standards who are targets of stigma, discrimination, and violence." (pg. 50)
Labels
"I wish that instead of investing in these hierarchies of what's right and who's wrong, what's authentic and who's not, and ranking people according to these rigid standards that ignore diversity in our genders and sexualities, we gave people freedom and resources to define, determine, and declare who they are." (pg. 50)

"Have you ever loved anybody?"
"I think I loved Leota, but that was a long time ago."
"see, I told you you were queer."
"Fuck off. Why have you got to label everything. Get off that jag before I buts you one in the mouth." (pg. 60 lines 9-14)

Always looking for acceptance/not wanting to be accepted
"I wished the world would let me be myself. But I knew better on all counts. I wish I could make my films. That wish I can work for. One way or another I'll make those movies and I don't feel like having to fight until I'm fifty. But if it does take that long then watch out world because I'm going to be the hottest fifty-year-old this side of the Mississippi." (Rubyfruit Jungle pg. 221)

"I was reluctant to open up to the world for the same reasons I had been afraid to reveal myself as Janet to my mother and siblings at thirteen, to wear a dress through the halls of my high school, to tell the man I loved my truth: I didn't want to be 'othered', reduced to just being trans I struggled for years with my perception of what trans womanhood was, having internalized our culture's skewed, biased views and pervasive misconceptions about trans women. (pg. xiv)

Hiding
"Unlike sexuality, gender is visible. I never hid my gender. Every day that I stepped out into the sunlight, unapologetically femme, I was a visible woman. People assume that I was in the closet because I didn't disclose that I was assigned male at birth. What people are really asking is 'why didn't you correct people when they perceived you as a real woman?' Frankly, I'm not responsible for other people's perceptions and what they consider real or fake." (pg. 257)

"Faye, it's not like this big thing that I keep locked up inside. There wasn't any reason to tell you. Besides my mind is occupied with a lot of other things than the fact that I've slept with some girls." (Rubyfruit Jungle pg. 108)
Full transcript