I am glad that Janet Mock decided to share her story with us in “Redefining Realness.” I especially liked that she acknowledged that she is one of the lucky few that transitioned in poverty and was able to survive her environment. When this year (2015) began there were already news headlines about transwomen of color who were murdered for their gender identification. Black women are at the bottom of the totem pole but transwomen of color, especially Black transwomen, have to deal with the societal issues brought upon by their race, gender, and trying to be comfortable in the gender that they truly are.
Part of her story that sounded really familiar to me was survival sex work. Being involved with the LGBTQ+ community, I have heard of many young runaway/homeless youths who had to turn tricks just to get food in their stomach, money in their pocket, or a place to sleep. The reality is very saddening. When I read that part of the book my hope in/for her decreased, it didn’t decrease because I thought less of her but because I pictured the worst happening: she would like the money/attention too much to be able to escape or she would catch an STI and then end up dying at the end of the book. I have heard so many unfortunately things happening to young LGBTQ+ individuals that I can only imagine the worst happening to them.
We need to change that. We need to acknowledge that horrible things do happen but we also need to focus on the positive things that happen because there are many young transwomen and men growing up and they shouldn’t be discouraged by all of the negative news that is happening to them. They should have a future to live for, role models to look up to, and a life that they can live without looking over their shoulder fearing that someone would “clock” them and attack them.