If You've Ever Looked At A Person Who Is Trans And Thought 'Wow, I Can Barely Tell,' Watch This.

Trans author and activist Janet Mock has released a series of videos in advance of her book "Redefining Realness." A lot of them cover concepts I've never really thought about as a cis person. ("Cis" or "cisgender" refers to someone who identifies as the gender/sex they were assigned at birth.) I just love that we're giving a range of people a voice in today's world. Let's keep listening.

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I am a woman. I live my life as a woman, and that's how I should be perceived. I'm not passing as anything. I'm being. Being myself. I have such a complicated relationship with the concept of passing, period. Not even applying it to my own life, but just the idea that "to pass" means that you're passing as something that you're not. Right? Passing comes off as if you are actively, right, because it's a verb, you're actively engaging in some kind of trickery or deception.

So that's where I get irritated with passing, because anytime that I walk on the street my gender is visible. I am a woman. People see me and take me as a woman, and that is not passing. That's me just being. But once I disclose that I am trans, things change, and then I become an oddity. I become an object, something that is objectified and gawked over. And my humanity and womanhood is then checked, and put into question. So I can just imagine someone who does not have the conditional privilege of passing having to have to deal with that all the time. So those are the layered relationships with the lived experiences of being a woman that is often seen as cis.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

Original by the illuminating Janet Mock in advance of her book, "Redefining Realness," which is on my Spring Reading List — perhaps it should be on yours, too?

Feb 17, 2014

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