Redefining Realness by Janet Mock is a memoir about Janet discovering and living her truth. For Mock this truth is that she’s trans* but that is not all that defines her. Unfortunately while Mock has many traits the one that she had the hardest time to come to terms with was her gender.
“I often say I always knew I was a girl since the age of three or four, a time when I began cataloging my memories. No one-not my mother, my grandmother, my father or my siblings- gave me any reason to believe that I was anything other than my parents’ firstborn son, my father’s namesake. But it was my very first conviction, the first thing I grew certain of as a young person. When I say I always knew I was a girl with such certainty, I erase all the nuances, the work, the process of self-discovery. I’ve adapted I always knew I was a girl as a defense against the louder world, which has told me-ever since I left Mom’s body in that pink hospital atop a hill in Honolulu- that my girlhood was imaginary, something made up that needed to be fixed” (pg 16)
This quote replayed in my head all day after I read it. I can’t even begin to imagine needing to edit part of your story so it fits better with the current accepted narrative. When Mock first meets her boyfriend she can’t believe how easy he talks about his past. She marvels at it, and wonders what it would be like to just be able to talk about it without fear of rejection.
Mock takes the reader through her journey starting when she is a young boy in Hawaii to living her truth in New York and finding the love of her life. She doesn’t gloss over any part of her journey which makes for a heart wrenching and inspiring tale.
Mock’s story of triumph is all too rare, most trans people aren’t this lucky. Want a scary statistic? Mocks group is the one most liking to be prayed on, abused and murdered. Can you imagine living your life knowing you’re one wrong person away from being killed and most people wouldn’t fault them for killing you? The life that these woman are forced to live is shameful. The fact that we have and continue to allow any group of people to face this kind of hate on a daily basis is despicable.
This book has been on my to read list for so long and I don’t know why I waited. This book makes me want to run down a crowded street and yell at everyone to read it.
Does it pass the Bechdel test?
*any and all description terms I use in this review are Mock’s. This review is about Mock’s story, not my white, cis one.