There’s this beautiful piece on xoJane from 2011 that sounds like a well-written narrative for another love film.
The writer reveals from the very beginning that she was born a male and identifies as female. She walks readers through a scene somewhere in New York City, meeting a dude who does that kind of stare that makes you instantly connect in that locked eyes moment.
“I find myself out on the cold streets, walking beside this beautiful stranger into a coffee shop on Houston. We have lattes and a cinnamon roll. He tells me he's from North Dakota, I tell him I'm from Hawaii. He tells me he takes photos and trains dogs for a living, I tell him I'm an editor for a popular website. He tells me he hopes to have horses someday, I tell him I want to tell stories that matter for a living.
It’s the kind of exchange only two people who are willing to fully be seen can share. It’s natural and life-shifting.”
Just like that. It made me reminisce for a second and think about whether or not my first encounter with my partner was that dreamy and magical. It wasn’t, but I soaked more into her story as she fell more for this guy named Aaron. The writer fast forwards a month into casual dating with a switch in the tone of the story. She’s at her most vulnerable.
“Aaron stood at the foot of his bed, readying himself for disappointment, it seemed to me. Or at least that's what I internalized. How do I say this? I ask myself. ‘OK, let me just say it: I was born a boy.’
I don't look at his face while spouting off the details of my journey through genders as a kid: "I knew I was a girl from my very first thoughts." "I began presenting as female from age 12"; "I took hormones in high school"; "I flew to Thailand to have surgery at 18." When I finally stopped talking, I exhaled. I'd finally told someone I was falling for my whole story. And I was afraid that my biggest fear would come true: Aaron would look at me differently.
And it did come true.
I could no longer just be Aaron's fantasy, a mixed girl with curly hair from Hawaii with a master's degree and a job that "a million girls would kill for." Our fantasies had ended and now we were just two people bare in front of one another.
"Can I hug you?" Aaron asked.”
She ends the story with the revelation that they’re still together and five years later her and Aaron got engaged!
“After Janet opened up to me, I knew that this was so much bigger than just dating some girl. “I remember saying, ‘If I decide to be in this relationship, it’ll be me and you against the world.'” - Aaron
"He looked like the love thoughts of women." Last night, I married the love of my life, my partner, my best friend near the ocean, under stars that navigated my ancestors to Hawaii, surrounded by the people we love most. I shared my impossible journey exclusively with @BRIDES (link in bio). 📷 by @mauimakaphotography 👰🏽 by @amsalebridal 💋 by @miyakemakeup 💁🏽 by @andrewfitzsimons 💐 by @suvexpressions. Planned with Aloha by @sayidobykarisa. #aaronandjanet #girlslikeus A photo posted by Janet Mock (@janetmock) on
Janet Mock has become one of the many faces for trans women, especially for those of color, and actively advocates for trans rights in America. As the conversation of transgendered men and women continues to become one of the most talked about subjects in the country, so does the news that transwomen are being targeted and murdered at alarming rates.
Just last month, The Daily Dot reported that 22 transgender women have been killed this year alone. When I went to AFROPUNK in Brooklyn this past summer, I was moved by the welcoming environment of trans people in attendance and yet, saddened by the stories of what life is like for transgendered and gender nonconforming people. The words NO TRANSPHOBIA provided an open space of people who welcomed those who are always open targets of senseless hate crimes. Janet Mock’s story of happiness and finding love at such a pivotal time for trans rights in the country is not only touching, but serves as an inspiration for millions.
The New York Times best-selling author and host of MSNBC’s So POPular! was featured in Brides magazine, retelling her story and sharing insight on her thoughts as a fiancée and more so, as a trans woman.
“But as we began to plan, I struggled to imagine what my wedding day would look like because I had never imagined that I would actually have a wedding. I grew up in a world where girls like myself rarely got the guy in the end, where partnership wasn't readily accessible, safety wasn't guaranteed, and love wasn't part of the equation. I had no blueprint for happily ever after.”
It was a simple moment on her way to becoming Mrs. Tredwell that was the most memorable.
“Walking toward Aaron was the highlight of our wedding. All day I was managing details, texting with my planner, getting glam with my girls...then I saw my best friend, my partner, my everything and I just let all the details go. I was fully present, and so was he. Our synchronized "ugly cry" was the highlight of my wedding. Just the two of us, fully present in front of our people meant everything. It was a dream, an impossible dream come true.
Though a wedding doesn't make a marriage, being able to show up and declare our commitment in front of the people we love meant everything to us. The whole day was a statement on the transformative power of being seen for who you really are and being loved not despite your past and experiences but because of it.”
No matter how you identify, there’s no denying that her closing words is something we all want for ourselves. Janet Mock’s story is a bright light on a dark time for those living in fear. Her journey as a transgender rights activist and trans woman in media is no longer an illusion or dream for other trans women–it’s proof that it can happen and you can find acceptance and love in process.
Read Janet’s entire piece for Brides here. We’re wishing Janet and Aaron a lifetime of peace and joy!