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Writer and activist Janet Mock was living a successful life, working as a journalist, outside the spotlight, until a friend recommended her for a profile in Marie Claire magazine. The article's publication had consequences that changed the course of her work, and life. 

“I didn't plan the role model part of it or the advocate part of it,” she explains. “I think that all just kind of started. I realized after the piece came out that there was such a hunger to hear more about young trans women of color experiences. I think my writing just kind of went there because I think there was a need to hear more about that and I think there was also a need within myself to share more about parts of myself that I'd kept silent for so long.”

Janet's still a writer, but now she's also an activist – and one of the most recognizable faces in trans advocacy. In many ways, she's become the role model she herself didn't have while growing up.

“People often say that I'm a role model,” she says. “I feel like I'm a real model. Like, there's a real model of how you can do it. I'm existing. I'm out in the world. I'm still discovering who I am. I'm not playing a role. I'm being real. This is my life.”


In her upcoming book, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, she tells her story and shares some of what she's learned along the way.

Janet will be the keynote speaker for Pride Week at UofL, and we're thrilled she took some time to speak with us this week and share some of her wisdom.

“The biggest lesson that I've ever learned in my life is to just truly fight for who you are, and not let anyone – not even your own body – tell you that you can't do something that you know you're supposed to be doing.”

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects.