Jant Mock, the editor of People.com, took to the pages of 'Marie Claire' magazine to detail her very brave story of transitioning from a boy into a girl.
Here's a little of what she shared:
It didn't take very long before the social cues got louder and clearer. My parents started scolding me over the way I walked and held my hands. I learned to hide aspects of my personality. Playing with girls was fine, for example, but playing with their Barbies was something I could do only behind closed doors. After my parents split, my mom said my younger brother and I needed a strong male role model and sent us to live with our dad in Oakland, California. Stern and critical, my father couldn't accept how feminine and dainty I was in comparison to my rough-and-tumble brother. "Get outside and play!" he would bark. One time, I pretended to be a girl named Keisha — I wasn't dressed like a girl, but in my baggy jeans and colorful top and with my longish hair, I easily passed for one. A boy who didn't know me told my cousin Mechelle that he thought I was pretty. "Isn't she?" Mechelle said, playing along. She. It spoke to my soul.
It was my father who first dared to ask the question: You're not gay, are you? I was 8 and wasn't even sure what that meant, but I knew from his tone that it was unacceptable. "No!" I shouted defensively.
During recess one day, I met Wendi. A year older than me, she was part of a small, tight-knit group of transsexuals who went around town wearing makeup and skirts hitched up to the thigh. They congregated outside our school at night, where they practiced the dance routines of Mariah Carey and Toni Braxton. They were a revelation, and I was emboldened just watching them. Wendi lived with her grandparents, who supported her and allowed her to wear girls' clothes and makeup, a freedom I envied. I spent hours in her room, playing with her cosmetics, plucking my eyebrows, trying on bras. The more time I spent with Wendi, the more comfortable I grew expressing myself as a female. By the end of my freshman year in high school, I was regularly wearing women's clothes to school.
But the fallout was swift and merciless. Fag! I can see your balls! The insults reverberated off the lockers and echoed down the school hallways. Though I was never physically threatened and never feared for my safety, the harassment was relentless. Not a moment went by that wasn't accompanied by a taunt, a slur, a cruel reminder that my classmates could not, would not, see me as I saw myself. "You're making people uncomfortable," one vice principal said while he looked me over with disdain. Soon he gave me an ultimatum: Wear a skirt to school again and get sent home for the day. But it was too late to turn back. I liked how I looked as a young woman, even though it meant exposing myself to ridicule. After that, I held my head high as I strode through the hallways in my miniskirts, past the haters who called me a freak, past the teachers who looked on disapprovingly, and past the vice principal who routinely sent me home. By the end of sophomore year, my mother, who condoned my wardrobe, had had enough. Together, we decided it was time to transfer schools.
To learn more about Janet Mock visit her website.