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Pose director and bestselling author Janet Mock says her career has been hampered by ‘racism, sexism and transphobia’

Vic Parsons June 23, 2020
Janet Mock says 'racism, sexism and transphobia' hampered her career

Janet Mock on the red carpet for Pose. (Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Pose director Janet Mock says bookshops still don’t stock her bestselling debut memoir Redefining Realness because of “racism, sexism and transphobia”.

The writer, TV host and Emmy award-winning director was responding to a fan who asked, on June 16, why “neither Barnes & Noble or Target have the Janet Mock book”.

Mock – who was, in 2018, the first trans woman of colour in history to be hired as a writer for a television series, when she started working on Pose – explained that despite it making history and jumping straight onto the New York Times bestseller list, most bookshops still don’t stock her book.

“Racism. Sexism. Transphobia….” she responded on Twitter.

“This refusal to even give readers a chance to pick up my books, has happened from the very 1st day of release of Redefining Realness.

“Even after making history & the NYT list, MOST bookstores don’t carry my books & it’s not b/c they’re sold out.”

“It’s still a rare sight for me to walk in a bookstore and find a copy of my books (even in NYC/LA). The erasure is real & it hurts. Try to buy them from an indie (and queer/black-owned if possible). My fave is @bluestockings!”

Mock, who went on to make history again in 2019 when she wrote and directed an episode of Pose, making her the first trans woman of colour to write and direct any television episode, also explained that the lack of her books in bookshops is not to do with its success or popularity.

“Let’s be clear,” she said. “I made the NYT bestsellers list my first week of release as a first-time author — a black trans woman — without the help of brick or moral retailers. All praise to THE PEOPLE!”

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More was published in February 2014 by Atria books.

It debuted 19th on the NYT’s bestseller list for hardcover non-fiction, and is an account of Mock’s girlhood growing up in Hawaii.

Mock continued: “And I’ve held onto this pain of having my work erased for years and the dams are bursting as I type because that shit fuckjng hurts and made me feel like maybe I shouldn’t write books, and just when I doubted myself, POSE came into my life and revived me.

“And what continues to save me are the girls, who found Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty despite access, who said my books saved them, and at the end of the day, that’s why I wrote them: For the girls. We still here.”

More: Janet Mock, pose, Redefining Realness

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