4 Unforgettable Moments From Janet Mock's Must-Watch Interview With Oprah

4 Unforgettable Moments From Janet Mock's Must-Watch Interview With Oprah
Source: Harpo Studios, Inc.
Source: Harpo Studios, Inc.

Janet Mock brought her "realness" to the season finale of Super Soul Sunday on OWN on Sunday. In her first interview with Oprah, the New York Times bestselling author, MSNBC host and transgender activist talked candidly about gender identity and living her truth in a way that honors the complexity of life — and in doing so, proved why she's become such a powerful voice for women everywhere.

Early in the interview, the 31-year-old Redefining Realness author used the word "othering" to explain how identity works in contemporary Western culture. "I was constantly, as a person, going through this society trying to figure out who I was in relation to what people were telling me I should be," she told Oprah. 

Source: Mic/OWN

Mock also told Oprah about her experience digging through the morass of othering to find her "authentic self."

Source: Mic/OWN

After moving from Hawaii in 2005 to study journalism at New York University, at first Mock was determined to try to live beyond her trans identity, because she did not want to be marginalized or discriminated against. She later publicly came out as trans in a 2011 Marie Claire piece, and since then has become a preeminent trans activist — something that caused some trepidation. 

For one thing, as she explains in Redefining Realness, there is no single, universal trans narrative, so it is impossible to be the one representative of the trans community. "On the one hand, there are through lines, common elements in our journeys as trans women, that are undeniable," she writes. "At the same time, plugging people into the 'transition' narrative (which I have been subjected to) erases the nuance of experience, the murkiness of identity and the undeniable influence of race, class and gender."

During the interview, she spoke to Oprah about this experience of embodying multiple identities, and feeling powerful and strong for doing so:

Source: Mic/OWN

Mock ultimately, proudly declared her intention to live her truth, and embrace every part of herself:

Source: Mic/OWN

The interview proved Mock is a powerful feminist voice for all women — black or white, cis or trans.


How much do you trust the information in this article?

Marcie Bianco

Dr. Marcie Bianco is a Staff Writer at Mic, a Contributing Editor at Curve Magazine, and an adjunct associate professor at Hunter College. She has contributed to AfterEllen, Feministing, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Lambda Literary, XO Jane, and The Women’s Review of Books. She writes and lectures about ethics, from feminism to race relations. Her current writing projects include a manuscript about lesbian academic affairs and a collection of feminist essays.

MORE FROM

GOP Senator defends hijab-wearing opponent from anti-Muslim abuse

Police are now escorting the Muslim Senate candidate to public events in response to the online abuse and hate mail.

Cults have a long history of exploiting black women

Black women have been exploited by cultic relationships for years. But this fact is often overlooked.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked 91% within first half of 2017, new report says

2017 is on track to become one of the worst years for anti-Muslim hate crimes, according to a new report.

Prosecutor decides not to try Ray Tensing for third time in Sam DuBose's death

Twice already, jurors have not been able to agree whether Ray Tensing was guilty of murdering Sam DuBose.

It’s 2017 and companies are still describing products as “n*gger-brown”

Walmart's website was selling a third-party product with the descriptor, and people were outraged.

Even where marijuana is decriminalized, police continue to target minorities for arrests

What if prosecutors just started throwing out these cases en masse?

GOP Senator defends hijab-wearing opponent from anti-Muslim abuse

Police are now escorting the Muslim Senate candidate to public events in response to the online abuse and hate mail.

Cults have a long history of exploiting black women

Black women have been exploited by cultic relationships for years. But this fact is often overlooked.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked 91% within first half of 2017, new report says

2017 is on track to become one of the worst years for anti-Muslim hate crimes, according to a new report.

Prosecutor decides not to try Ray Tensing for third time in Sam DuBose's death

Twice already, jurors have not been able to agree whether Ray Tensing was guilty of murdering Sam DuBose.

It’s 2017 and companies are still describing products as “n*gger-brown”

Walmart's website was selling a third-party product with the descriptor, and people were outraged.

Even where marijuana is decriminalized, police continue to target minorities for arrests

What if prosecutors just started throwing out these cases en masse?