Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 203
Redefining Realness is a story of hope and possibility that reflects the reality of Janet Mock's experience as a trans woman of color, she explains at the outset. Its primary themes are identity and authenticity, the intersection of race and gender, and the importance of community in overcoming adversity.
Janet, formerly Charles, recounts her journey to female bodily identity to correlate with her female self. She makes the point that finding expression of identity is made complicated for trans people, in part because others challenge the authenticity of their self understanding.
For Mock, mixed African-Hawaiian-American heritage puts her in more than one unusual situation. She shows how her personal experience can be compared with that of other trans youth of color and adults. Physical and verbal attacks against trans people of color are more frequent and bullying of youth not uncommon.
Janet's process of self discovery, coming out, and undergoing medical changes took place during her early life in Hawaii as well as the US mainland. Her parents' struggles with substances were part of her youth. Finding emotional support in friends and, later, strangers with similar stories, was crucial for her as for others on their journeys to comprehend realness in their lives.