Millions of women, along with their allies, joined hands and marched through the streets to reject Donald Trump and his anti-women policies. They carried signs, they chanted and they sang. They took a stand for their reproductive rights, for equal pay and for recognition. Celebrities and regular people stood side by side, united against an administration that didn’t value or respect their bodies. While every woman may have been standing in the crowd, not every woman was represented in the coverage across the media. Trans activist and journalist Janet Mock was on hand in Washington, D.C. to remind everyone that trans women are part of this movement, too.
“I stand here today most of all because I am my sister’s keeper,” she said. “My sisters and siblings are being beaten and brutalized, neglected and invisibilized, extinguished and exiled. My sisters and siblings have been pushed out of hostile homes and intolerant schools.”
She painted a harsh but accurate picture of trans reality. She spoke of unjust imprisonment and poverty, and how these injustices motivated her to fight. She begged the crowd to let everyone fight alongside them.
“Our approach to freedom need not be identical but it must be intersectional and inclusive. It must extend beyond ourselves,” she reminded them.
It was a powerful reminder to all that even though feminism is a noble cause, it too can be flawed and even discriminatory.
There are countless think pieces about the feminist movement and how it’s focused solely on cisgender white women. Sites like The Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism and the Independent have all taken a deep dive into the issue.
Mock has been an active figure in the community helping to educate the public about gender identity and serve as a visible diverse member of it. In 2011, she came out as trans in a Marie Claire article. She took issue with being misgendered. The article claimed she was raised as a boy. Mock clarified that she’d always been a girl.
“My genital reconstructive surgery did not make me a girl. I was always a girl,” she said.
She’s gone on to dissect a host of trans-specific issues and analyze their place in the modern world. She has written about race, gender norms and the stigma attached to men who date trans women. She is a champion for all women, but she wants all women to remember that trans women are indeed women, too.
Just before her appearance at the Women’s March, Mock penned a Tumblr post declaring that sex workers must be included in the fight for women’s rights.
“My work and my feminism rejects respectability politics, whorephobia, slut-shaming and the misconception that sex workers, or folks engaged in the sex trades by choice or circumstance, need to be saved, that they are colluding with the patriarchy by ‘selling their bodies’,” she wrote.
She is constantly illuminating important issues, and while she lights the tunnel to awareness, she’s bringing every woman along with her.