Monday, October 14, 2013

Why This Janet Mock Photo Is More Important Than You Think

Photo: Today, I was in conversation with bell hooks at Ohio State University. Our talk was called, "Gender Policing and the Politics of Defining Womanhood." I gave her my book Redefining Realness and she read it in one sitting. She actually read passages during our convo. In awe over our conversation, our meeting, having shared ideas about womanhood, and the fact that she enjoyed #RedefiningRealness.My sis Janet Mock has been piling up the frequent flyer miles lately with recent trips from New York to the University of Louisville and The Ohio State University to talk about our issues.  But it's the Ohio State trip that raised my eyebrows, especially after I saw her photo with the legendary bell hooks.

I called Janet Saturday to catch up with her and get her impressions about meeting the iconic Ms. hooks.   She was on the Ohio State University campus as part of a discussion entitled,  "Gender Policing and the Politics of Defining Womanhood." organized by OSU's Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Multicultural Center

They met in their Columbus hotel before the actual event and Janet gave bell an advance copy of her soon to be released book Redefining Realness

Janet was elated to discover the next day that Ms. hooks not only stayed up all night to read it, she was quoting passages from it during their discussion. 
Last night, upon our first meeting, I gave bell my book Redefining Realness, and she surprised me at breakfast this AM by having read the entire book. She actually read passages to the audience! It was a transformative experience for both of us, as black women from different generations and experiences to share stories, insights and thoughts.


One of the things we African-American trans women have needed African American cis women to understand is that trans women are women.  We are just as down for the cause of uplifting Black womanhood if just given the opportunity to do so.  We have also needed cis Black women to understand that some of the issues we Black trans women face walking around in a Black female body are the same cultural and societal issues Black cis women face with the additional challenges of anti-trans discrimination and off the charts violence we have to deal with on top of it.

So yeah, that picture of Janet and bell hooks is a Big Fracking Deal.  So are the Black Trans Revolution Will Not Be Televised (or blogged about) conversations Janet had with her once the just as important one during the OSU event was completed.   

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