In the second episode of Fusion’s “Self Evidence” series, bestselling writer (2014’s Redefining Realness), TV host, activist and self-proclaimed Beyonce expert Janet Mock explains how she acquired a true sense of freedom once she rejected others’ expectations of who she was supposed to be.
“So much of my journey, specifically growing up as this young trans girl, was about fighting other people’s expectations of how they expected me to kind of be or to perform gender or to perform self,” she says. “I knew that that was the first step in being able to free myself from, I think, a self imposed silence that I put on. Once I stopped being silent I don’t think it’s a surprise that I was able to free myself, right? Be more authentic. And tap into, as Oprah would say, my inner greatness.”
Mock emphasizes that even though she’s at a place in her life where she understands and trusts herself, she still finds herself subject to others’ assumptions about who she is, and who she’s not.
“I first came out and told my story in Marie Claire in 2011. And I remember when I opened my mouth and made the decision to step forward as a trans woman, it was interesting in that it became other people’s stories, if that makes sense. And so, in a way, it was hard to be…like, authentically myself compared to Janet Mock this person that people read in a magazine, or even in my own book.”
“There are times when I feel as if because of public perceptions, I perform advocate or I perform intellectual or I perform certain aspects of my public identity. Which isn’t necessarily authentic to whom I am. They’re pieces of me. They’re facets. But they’re not necessarily fully who I am. And so I think, for me, the constant challenge in any space that I enter is how do I come in and show up and be fully who I am and not necessarily perform for other people?”
Executive producer: Anna Holmes
Producer: Mona Panchal
Motion Graphics Designer: Naoko Hara
Sound Engineer: Greg Smith
Photo credit: Aaron Tredwell