Terry Gross. Janet Mock attends a red-carpet event for Pose earlier this month. Janet Mock remembers when she saw the documentary Paris is Burning for the first time.
As part of a series of editorials about transgender experiences, we are featuring personal stories that reflect the strength, diversity and challenges of the community. Welcome to this evolving collection. Please upgrade your browser.
Log in for unlimited access. She was born a he -- a husband for over 30 years, a very successful businessman, and a devoted father to three children. In what she calls an act of sheer survival, Michael would transition to Michaela and become one of the most powerful champions of transgender rights today.
And most existing families break apart when a spouse comes out as transgender. Justine Smithies and Tadhg McMullan are two transgender people living in Scotland, each with a unique story. It was very difficult to make male friends as we just had nothing in common.
One of my earliest memories, about five years old, was being yelled at by a teacher for going to the toilet with the girls. About the same age I realised I was different to these other boys. At the age of nine I refused to have my hair cut.
Tea Uglow was having dinner with her family when her brother proffered an impromptu opinion on "the role of trans people in sport, women's spaces, and the 'danger to the kids. From the conversation with her family, an idea emerged. Uglow, who works for Google Creative Lab, said she wanted to see where those ideas about trans people emerged by doing a non-partisan review of headlines from the past year.
This planted the seed of gender confusion and led to my transitioning at age 42 to transgender female. In my case, I was diagnosed at age 40 with gender dysphoria and at age 50 with psychological issues due to childhood trauma. I thought my secret was safe, but my teenage uncle heard about it and felt I was fair game for taunting and sexual abuse.
As gender identity remains a topical issue, it raises interesting questions about equality and self-expression. According to the American Journal of Public Health90 percent of those who identify as transgender have experienced harassment or discrimination at some point in their life and more than one in ten have been evicted from their homes solely on the basis of their gender identity. Additionally, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey conducted inshowed that 41 percent of its participants had attempted suicide at some point in their life, citing sexual, physical, and verbal assault and discrimination as the main reasons.
Now her in late 60s, Cheryl had spent years of her life traveling to cheap motels where she would feel free to explore her femininity—donning lipstick, a wig, a dress, and high heels. The tremendous isolation involved in this act—the shame and secrecy that went along with the need to be who she truly is—has always stuck with me. There are women inside all of these people.