Janet Mock, an editor at People.com and a blogger, told the compelling story of how she came out as a transgender woman — a secret that she’s kept from almost everyone she knows — to writer Kierna Mayo for Marie Claire.
It’s a brief but intriguing story, which will challenge the way you think about the transgender process.
The flight to Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport felt far longer than I’d imagined. It was Christmas break during my freshman year at the University of Hawaii, and I was 18, anxious, and alone. After high school graduation, many of my classmates were throwing big graduation parties and buying new cars. Those kids went looking for good times and great memories, but I was desperately searching for one thing only: a chance to be in the right body for the first time in my entire life. I had traveled more than 6,000 miles to have gender reassignment surgery — a sex change.
Counting backward as the anesthesia took hold, I surrendered to what I believed with certainty would be a better future. And then, just like that, I was awake again. The sound of Muslim prayers rang through the air, echoing in my brightly lit hospital room. Even though I’d spent the last three hours on the operating table — I could already feel the first tinges of pain in my lower body — I felt completely reborn. Though I had been born a boy to my native Hawaiian mother and African-American father, I would never be a man. It was the birth of my choosing this time. And now it was official: Charles had died so that Janet could live.
I have a thriving career as a Web editor for a very popular magazine. My coworkers don’t know about my past, mostly because I never wanted to be the poster child for transsexuals — pre-op, post-op, or no op. But the recent stories about kids who have killed themselves because of the secrets they were forced to keep has shifted something in me.