By Monica Roberts
My sis Janet Mock has been piling up the frequent flyer miles lately with recent trips from New York to the University of Louisville and Ohio State University to talk about our issues. But it’s the Ohio State trip that raised my eyebrows, especially after I saw her photo with the legendary bell hooks.
I called Janet Saturday to catch up with her and get her impressions about meeting the iconic Ms. hooks. She was on the Ohio State University campus as part of a discussion entitled, “Gender Policing and the Politics of Defining Womanhood.” organized by OSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Multicultural Center
They met in their Columbus hotel before the actual event and Janet gave bell an advance copy of her soon to be released book Redefining Realness.
Janet was elated to discover the next day that Ms. hooks not only stayed up all night to read it, she was quoting passages from it during their discussion.
Last night, upon our first meeting, I gave bell my book Redefining Realness, and she surprised me at breakfast this AM by having read the entire book. She actually read passages to the audience! It was a transformative experience for both of us, as black women from different generations and experiences to share stories, insights and thoughts.
One of the things we African American trans women have needed African American cis women to understand is that trans women are women. We are just as down for the cause of uplifting Black womanhood if just given the opportunity to do so. We have also needed cis Black women to understand that some of the issues we Black trans women face walking around in a Black female body are the same cultural and societal issues Black cis women face with the additional challenges of anti-trans discrimination and off the charts violence we have to deal with on top of it.
So yeah, that picture of Janet and bell hooks is a Big Fracking Deal. So are the Black Trans Revolution Will Not Be Televised (or blogged about) conversations Janet had with her once the just as important one during the OSU event was completed.
Monica Roberts, aka the TransGriot, is a native Houstonian and a trailblazing award winning trans community leader. In addition to participating in a long list of panel discussions and speaking engagements to various colleges, groups and conferences over the years, in January 2006 she founded the award winning blog TransGriot.
*Originally posted on TransGriot. Cross-posted with permission.