I forget just when I heard the name *Janet Mock. I had to have been in my mid to late-twenties when I came across her on an television interview.
Now that I think of it, I was and am a subscriber (Substastic!) of JahairasMission on YouTube, and she mentioned her name with a link.
In that link was this poignant, soft-spoken video of Janet: with her signature curls with this blonde-like highlight, and she said, “I came into the world as Charles…”
I sat, in rapt attention, hanging on every word she said. I was trying to process what it was she was saying. I knew what gay was. I knew what lesbian was. I knew what bi was. Trans? I wasn’t comfortable enough to say I knew.
The sheer fact that someone said they routinely woke up and thought their body was a mistake? They looked at how they presented to the world and their mind saw something totally different.
Mind-boggling to me.
But I didn’t hate or ‘dislike’ her because I didn’t understand. My compassion held me to attention.
I kept listening. She spoke about how horrible she felt, and how long she had felt that way, and the suicidal ideation that came from it before she transitioned.
I thought she was gorgeous, articulate, and if she had never revealed her past, or her truth, I would have never thought she was born male. And I wouldn’t have thought to ask because it wasn’t my business. When I found out she had gotten academic scholarship to the University of Hawaii and she was a writer like me? I was thrilled. From then on, I was as fan of hers. Anything she wrote, I gobbled up. The girl can write.
From interviews, to articles, to books, I am a FAN of Janet Mock. I love her. I follow her on Twitter, Facebook and speak about her to people in my circle. I quoted her, which the highest compliment I could pay someone…using their words because I think they’re dope.
When I found out Janet would be on the radio show The Breakfast Club the week of July 24th for her book promotion, I remember tweeting this (in reply) to one of my Twitter friends:
@lushhforevaa it will be awesome or horrific. There is no in-between. Watch that dwarf ass dude Charlemagne act a ass (-_-)
Yes, and I meant every word of it. Fight me.
To credit, I didn’t tune into her interview on The Breakfast Club. I didn’t want to hear the bullsh-t or the remedial Trans 101 (the basic questions people ask about people whom are transgendered) she may/would have to answer.
Now, the next day? That is when irate set in.
This comedian Lil Duval made the comment of if he were ever ‘with’ a woman of trans experience/transwoman, he would ‘have to kill her’ because she ‘messed with his head,’ and he would think he’s ‘gay’ now.
I don’t know who it was, but someone put up a copy of Janet’s book (SUPASSING CERTAINTY), making note of how she looked and would she be included in that quote and his thinking. Here is the quote from Essence magazine (Essence.com), again Lil Duval is speaking:
Duval, however, is defending his remarks. He told TMZ, “I said that because (the hosts) were saying, taking away someone’s power of choice, and that’s what you did.”
“When you take away somebody’s power of choice, it should be criminal … I don’t got no problem with transgender, I ain’t got no problem with gay people. I got a problem with somebody trying to take something from me … That’s psychological damage.”
TAKE?! What is anyone taking from you, my dude?
Clearly, manners, common sense, decency and empathy are already gone. And that concept of choice is equal. You don’t have to sleep with every woman that comes to catch your penis, bruh. You, too, could say no.
It goes on:
During Duval’s appearance on The Breakfast Club, the comedian stated that if he were dating a woman who later revealed that she was transgender “she’s dying.”
“There should be some kind of repercussions if you do that to somebody,” he said. “If one did that to me and they didn’t tell me, I‘m going to be so mad I’m probably going to want to kill them. I can say what I want and do what I want, and people understand where I’m coming from. They know I’m not coming from a place of malice.”
Amazing. It’s really amazing. And scary as hell.
The whole toxic masculinity/hypermasculine attitude is a dissertation, and I won’t attempt to even start it here. But, what I will say is this. He’s wrong. He’s deadass wrong for saying this.
And where was Angela Yee? Like, how was this allowed to be said, unchecked? As a woman, she could have said soemthing. But I think I can discern why.
Comfort and privilege.
Comfort in they weren’t coming for her.
Privilege that being a cis-gender heteronormative woman provides.
Yes, I said it. Fight me.
No one deserves to die because someone feels they ‘tricked’ them during a sexual encounter. There have been 15 murders of transwomen this year (and its only August), the 16th being 2 days ago. TWO. DAYS. AGO. Nothing about that is alright.
There is a YouTube personality that I follow, that I spoke to about this issue, and Janet being on the show. I told her, this madness has got to stop. It really does.
He thought this was alright to say, because no one around him saw a problem.
This is how this type of behavior remains unchecked. When everyone around you doesn’t see a problem, neither will you.
We have to be able to have the capacity to do better. We must do better. The time is over for silence about things that matter. Your humanity and the value of other people’s humanity should not be up for debate.
It should not be determined how passable a transwoman is as to whether she is allowed or continues to live.
Janet Mock, for all concerns and purposes, is a woman. She has come into her womanhood in a different fashion, but a woman nonetheless. She is entitled to live her life, be happy and safe in her own skin without fear trying to stifle happiness from her. She is allowed to write her books, speak her truth and dismiss trolls like those whom echo Lil Duval.
Slay Janet, slay.
*-I suggest y’all follow the amazing Janet Mock on Twitter (@janetmock) and grab her book, Surpassing Certainty. I will be diving into that this weekend. It’s not good enough to say you’re an ally, and then don’t align.
Thank you to all the transwomen/ women of trans experience whom live their truth boldly. A special thank you to JahairasMission whom reminds me of my dopeness and power with every video. Thank you to Diamond Stylz whom let’s me know if we gon’ be angry, we gon get stuff done too.