Earlier this week, GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) honored New York Times bestselling author and ELIXHER cover girl Janet Mock at the 11th annual GLSEN Respect Awards. The trans advocate was presented with the Inspiration Award for her work as a writer, raising visibility, and her book Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry left Mock a touching video message saying, “I’m so thrilled that you are being honored in this moment. Janet, your book, Redefining Realness, touched me in so many different ways. You, in fact, do redefine realness. Your engagement with the book that both of us love so much, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, reminds me that you and I are just sisters. We’re Black girls trying to figure out the world, trying to navigate questions of love and identity, and politics.”
When Mock took the stage she expressed her gratitude for the honor and sources of inspiration in her own life. “When I was first approached to accept the Inspiration Award, I immediately thought of three inspirations in my own life,” she shared. “I thought of the people who came before me. I thought of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. I thought of Audre Lorde and Miss Major Griffin Gracy. I thought of Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin. Without their audacity to be seen and heard — without their work, I would not exist as a visible, vocal, young, trans woman writer of color.”
You can watch entire event here, and see Mock’s tribute and speech by fast-forwarding to 1:49:00.