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Cultural Icon: Janet Mock


Janet Mock

I decided that each week I will spotlight one person in mainstream culture who embodies all of the characteristics of an icon: someone whose visibility has helped to develop a political, critical consciousness in mainstream culture, someone who stands out as a true leader. I think it’s necessary to highlight people and groups who make it their mission to combat systems of domination.

For this week, I have chosen the brilliant and talented Janet Mock. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mock, she is an author, journalist, activist and transwoman whose visibility has helped combat the oppression that transwomen currently face in U.S. culture. She is the author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.

She has been featured on the Colbert Report, MSNBC’s Melissa-Harris-Perry and her commentary has appeared on Salon, Slate, Feministing, NPR, Colorlines and Buzzfeed. She is an influential cultural icon whose voice is strongly needed in a climate where oppression towards black women is  routine.

According to Janet Mock’s website:

After publicly proclaiming her identity as a trans woman in a 2011 profile in Marie Claire magazine, Janet focused her efforts on speaking about the struggles, triumphs and portrayals of girls and women like herself. In 2012, she launched #GirlsLikeUs, a movement that encourages trans women to live visibly. She currently writes and speaks about her experience of living at the intersections of identities.

Janet is a board member at the Arcus Foundation, a global organization advancing social justice and conservation issues, and an advisor for the {young}ist, a young people-powered media site. She has also advised programming for trans youth at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York.

She is a native of Honolulu where she attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa and she earned an MA in journalism from New York University. She has also worked as a staff editor for  She was named one of the 100 most influential African-Americans at The Grio and was named as one of Huffiington Post’s 23 Inspiring Women Blazing Trails for the LGBT Community.

Lastly, she was also recently featured in a panel alongside esteemed feminist theorist bell hooks about black women’s bodies and liberation. She is an ideal cultural icon who has already changed our culture for the better. I am excited to see what new projects she takes on.

janet mock bell

Janet Mock and bell hooks

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