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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  2,718 ratings  ·  345 reviews
In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and in ...more
Hardcover, 263 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Atria Books (first published February 1st 2014)
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Raymond J
I'm not the biggest fan of memoirs per se, and many trans memoirs are pretty dry, redundant, and focused on white trans men. I even *am* a white trans man but most of them exhausted me. I transitioned about 14 years ago, have worked around the queer community for nearly 20 years, and have recently felt a bit jaded and exhausted by the work. But in the past year, Janet Mock has really exploded into the cultural landscape and I couldn't be more grateful for the passion, kindness, and strength she' ...more
May 13, 2014 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: autobiography fans
Recommended to Carol. by: Janet
I’ve been interested in this book ever since hearing Janet Mock talk on The Colbert Report (segment here). I loved her willingness to laugh at herself, her attempts to focus the disconcerting Colbert, her willingness to articulate identity issues on a show that specializes in sarcasm. Only in her late twenties, she’s written the story of her process of gender identity to date in Redefining Realness, an autobiography that is occasionally as telling for what is included as minimized.

Redefining Rea
É F.K. Ó Conghaile
I first heard of Janet Mock many years ago from her article. I read it around the same time CeCe Mcdonald was kidnapped by police, so it was an awakening time for the politics of my then-vague transness. Now, though, when reading this for my studies in college, I realize my fears: that Janet Mock wrote a bourgeois memoir.

From the very first sentences advertising about buying dresses she didn't need and reading things on her Iphone, I knew I was delving into a rich-people's book. Now, I hoped she
Wart *Rainbows, beauty, and death* Hill
A beautifully written, achingly honest story of one woman's struggle to understand, achieve, and own her truth.

Janet Mock, I salute your courage and your honesty. Thank you for writing this. I hope your story reaches Trans people - and especially Trans women - everywhere.
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
Read this book. It tells about Janet Mock's journey to self acceptance and womanhood. The way her family learned to cope. She realized she was different from an early age. Her family tried to stop her from being feminine, especially her father. She tried to repress it to be the perfect son, but it didn't work.

Soon she was able to get hormones and get closer to who she really is. It's interesting to finally see a book from a transgender perspective instead of a parent or a sibling bemoaning the l
Karina E
It was great getting to know someone I admire so much on a deeper level. An incredibly raw story of finding one's own most authentic self.
This is a story of triumph over adversity. Of being true to one's self in a culture that devalues the lives of ALL black women. Mock stands tall, shines bright and demands RESPECT. If that bothers you, well, go read Fifty Shades of Grey.
Who thinks Janet Mock could pass the Bechdel Test? Not me.

While I appreciate and respect the vulnerabilities she shares in this book, I find it really hard to swallow that the premise of this books existence was basically built on the support (and need for romantic love) of a man.
It just didn't seem well written to me. Too many sweeping statements about life lessons that she conveyed in grandiose sentences. I feel like what is unusual about her story is that she came out post-transition, after establishing herself as an adult woman, rather than most trans celebrities I can think of for whom coming out meant announcing the start of a transition. It would've been more interesting to read about her adulthood than her childhood, which mainly differs from other trans memoirs ...more
TW for child sexual abuse, drug abuse, dysfunctional family junk, forced sex work, and of course transmisogyny, cissexism, and racism!

Janet Mock is not a perfect writer. I grimaced my way through the first quarter of the book, which is full of unnecessary descriptions and awkwardly overstuffed phrases. I was puzzled by her professed love of storytelling and professional writing experience when her prose was so distractingly clunky. Those concerns fell away, however, whenever she switched gears
Alex Pilcher
The story of Janet Mock's youth is a pretty remarkable tale of determination and triumph over very difficult circumstances. As a book it suffers from three major drawbacks:
a) Mock's writing is weak. This is not so apparent when she sticks to narrating the concrete details of her life history, but whenever she reaches for a grand statement she is let down by clumsy syntax, unintentional contradictions and poorly-chosen metaphors. I found the closing pages particularly painful to read.
b) The book
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
This book is so good.

I wish it was longer. I learned a lot and her perspectives were extremely interesting as a woman of colour claiming full womanhood for herself her way. Excellent story. I kind of want a sequel though so I can know she's still doing OK. Living her life, surviving. It's awesome how her parents eventually accepted her on her terms too. It's great to see a book in the perspective of someone transgender and not a parent or a child or something like that. Usually those books have
Check out my review here:

Janet Mock is a transwoman author who has strong opinions on gender and the sex industry shared in this memoir. Mock discusses many topics, but this review will cover five: essentialism, the term “cis”, the term “fish”, hormone blockers for children, and the sex industry.

Book Riot Community
Janet Mock lives for Beyoncé…and I live for Janet Mock! I’m the exact same age as Janet, and I had such a blast getting swept up the late ’90s pop-culture backdrop of her memoir: Destiny’s Child, Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, RuPaul, The Real World, TRL. But the real joy came from her frankness and openness about her experiences becoming the woman she is today — from her childhood spent in poverty and her family’s struggles with drug addiction, to her sexual abuse as a child and her harassment when sh ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
"That visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength."

This quote from Audre Lorde comes towards the end of the book and it really resonated with me and I think also tells you a lot about this book, which is a very honest, open and frank memoir about growing up a trans woman.

I love Janet Mock, she is smart, funny and delightful, and I've been recently watching interviews with her (including that one on piers morgan) and I'm really impressed wit
Bending The Bookshelf
It was 2011 when Janet Mock, editor of, came out as transgender in Marie Claire magazine. In just over 2000 words she went from being a respected editor to an influential spokesperson for the transgender community. Since then, she’s gone on to put a positive, professional face on transgender issues, appearing in the pages of everything from London Times Magazine to The Telegraph, and on such television shows as Huffington Post Live to MSNBC.

Of course, despite what seems like an overni
Krystal Barnes
I first found out about this book in Essence magazine. I read an excerpt and it compelled me to want to read more. I admire Janet for coming out with her story because I know it was not easy. There are so many people that have a story to tell but are unable to tell their story as Janet mentioned several times in her book because of color, economic situation, lack of education and lack of resources. I am glad that Janet had the resources to tell her story and hopefully she will be able to reach o ...more
I read this book because I thought I would enjoy it. I had no idea that I would relate to it. At the crux of this story, we can all relate to hiding some part of ourselves and being afraid of what will happen if someone finds out. Although this can be viewed as a heavy topic, this book had me laughing throughout. There certainly are many parts that are not laughable, but Mock does a brilliant balancing act with the content in that regard. Tenacity and resilience may be an understatement when ref ...more
Gina Kamentsky
back in the seventies I ventured down to the Boston Public library for the zillionth time to try and work up the nerve to go up to the stacks and take "Second Serve" by Renee Richards off the shelf. it took me months to work up the nerve. For a young trans woman access to information was so limited. although we still have a long way to go, thanks to young women like Janet and warriors like Kate Bornstein and Julia Serrano there's a bit more to read these days.
This is such an unbelievably necessary book.
I'd been really looking forward to reading this for a long time, and I was not disappointed. Janet Mock tells a great story of how she grew up--and not just the "trans girl" part of it. We get her in context, with her advantages named and numbered and her oppressions laid out clearly, understanding how she became who she is now through a slow, complicated, nuanced growth that includes elements people can relate to even if they do not share some of her traits.

The only thing I didn't really care f
Redefining Realness is Janet Mock's account of growing up as a poor, multiracial trans woman in Hawaii. It's a very honest and moving account of what she went through in order to fully transition and gain the life she always wanted: a successful college graduate, she now lives in New York City with her partner. Mock writes both about her particular experiences and about the broader experiences of trans women, particular trans women of colour, and is unfailing in her insistence that being trans i ...more
Jessica Rybak
This struck me as a book that would do a great service for people of all different relationships and knowledge-levels of the trans experience. Janet Mock did the important and difficult work of explaining at a very intro-level not only queer and trans terminology, culture and experience, but she also very clearly explained intersectionality, systems of oppression, and other aspects of feminist and queer theory. She used this book as a learning tool for those who may be picking her book up as a w ...more
The word that comes to mind when I think of Janet Mock is "formidable." Her sense of self is so pure and sharp, awe-inspiring. This isn't just a memoir of a young girl's path to womanhood, it's a lesson in humanity. Janet makes herself intensely vulnerable in this memoir, in the name of lifting up and empowering other trans women. We are collectively privileged to know Janet Mock, and to read her words.
I enjoyed and appreciated this book on so many levels - as a reader, I was impressed by Janet Mock's style and clarity; as a gender studies teacher I was so grateful for the clear-eyed hard-won wisdom she shares about trans (especially in relation to women of colour) and the illuminating ways she weaved data and analysis about wider trans issues into her life story (this book will be great to teach with); as a fellow pop culture obsessive I so appreciated how she integrated her passions as sign ...more
I was really looking forward to this book. Janet Mock has an important story to tell and I want stories like hers to have a wider audience. More trans people, particularly trans people of color need to be able to tell real, authentic stories so there's something out there that's more than "this week on Law & Order SVU."

I'm hoping that due to her celebrity as a writer/editor at People Magazine, her story WILL go beyond the LGBTQ community. However, *I* got fifty pages in and had to quit. I t
Janet Mock shares her story with heart, honesty and vulnerability that inspires the reader to dream more for herself too. At times, her memoir broke my heart, made me laugh or exposed me to new ideas and facts. Everyone can relate to Janet's story of becoming the person you know you are meant to be - it's a universal struggle. She beautifully describes her dreams, disappointments, pop culture obsessions, literary heroes and understanding of her past with her current knowledge of intersectionalit ...more

"I began healing by embracing myself through the foreboding darkness until the sunrise shone on my face. Eventually, I emerged, and surrendered to the brilliance, discovering truth, beauty and peace that was already mine."

I LOVE THIS BOOK. This book made me so happy about life, the amazing power of stories, and the ways that real vulnerability, courage and determination can make such a huge difference in the world. I LOVE THIS BOOK. <3<3<3
A very good memoir, and even easier to engage with than her Marie Claire interview a few years ago. In addition to telling a powerful story, Mock's journey to her current self is a reminder of the intersectionality of different marginalized groups; whether that struggle is based on gender, race, sexuality, or socioeconomic status, equality for one cannot be truly obtained without considering the others.
Rachel Smalter Hall
Janet Mock lives for Beyoncé…and I live for Janet Mock! I’m the exact same age as Janet, and I had such a blast getting swept up the late ’90s pop-culture backdrop of her memoir: Destiny’s Child, Janet Jackson, Aaliyah, RuPaul, The Real World, TRL. But the real joy came from her frankness and openness about her experiences becoming the woman she is today — from her childhood spent in poverty and her family’s struggles with drug addiction, to her sexual abuse as a child and her harassment when sh ...more
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Janet Mock is a writer and founder of the trans women's movement, #GirlsLikeUs. She is the author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. Her work has been lauded by the Anti-Violence Project, the Center for American Progress, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, she has an MA in journalism from New York University, wor ...more
More about Janet Mock...

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“I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community. I hope that my being real with you will help empower you to step into who you are and encourage you to share yourself with those around you.” 15 likes
“Being exceptional isn’t revolutionary, it’s lonely. It separates you from your community. Who are you, really, without community? I have been held up consistently as a token, as the “right” kind of trans woman (educated, able-bodied, attractive, articulate, heteronormative). It promotes the delusion that because I “made it,” that level of success is easily accessible to all young trans women. Let’s be clear: It is not.” 12 likes
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