How often do the stories of young trans women of color make it into the pages of mainstream women’s magazines? Rare enough that People.com editor Janet Mock’s beautiful essay in Marie Clare is an event unto itself.
Mock, a woman with “an enviable career, a supportive man, and a fabulous head of hair”—it is indeed fabulous—told Marie Clare’s Kierna Mayo about the pain and ridicule and isolation she endured before her transition. It’s a lovely, challenging piece about the long road to the day when her actual identity matched her outside appearance.
Mock tells about the pivotal turning points of her life:
There are key moments in a person’s life when you just know your destiny is about to change. For me, this moment came when Wendi, whom I remained friends with despite being in different schools, started taking female hormone pills. When she graduated to injections a few months later, she sold me her pills for $1 a pop. The timing was divine, as I’d already begun to detect a hint of an Adam’s apple on my throat. The changes in my 15-year-old body horrified me. Sometimes while showering, my thoughts got dark: What if I just cut this thing off? Wendi’s pills were my savior. For three months, I took estrogen and watched my body’s slow metamorphosis: softer skin, budding breasts, a fuller face.
But I knew that taking them without the supervision of a doctor was risky. I needed someone to monitor my progress. That’s when I finally confessed to my mom what I’d been doing. A single, working mother, she didn’t have the luxury or will to micromanage my life and allowed me to do what I wanted so long as I continued making honor roll. That was our unspoken deal. But the medical changes were different — she recognized that my desperation to be a woman was not just teen angst or rebellion; it was a matter of life or death. “If that’s what you want,” she said, looking me straight in the eye, “we’re going to do it the right way.” So she signed off on a local endocrinologist’s regimen of treatments, which involved weekly hormone shots in the butt and daily estrogen pills. For the first time, I could visualize heading off to college as a woman, pursuing a career as a woman. No more dress-up, no more pretending.
But it wouldn’t be a women’s mag story if it didn’t also involve relationship talk, which I guarantee, in a break from most women’s magazine stories, will be worth reading about. Since Mock’s story went up, folks have been excitedly sharing her story, and yesterday Mock tweeted her amazement at the outpouring of love that’s come her way.