The Life-Shaping Moment Janet Mock Had in Kindergarten

Season 6 Episode 613
Aired on 05/03/2015 | CC tv-14
Long before Janet Mock became a talk show host, bestselling author and outspoken advocate for trans women's rights, she was born Charles and presented as her parents' first born son.

From a young age, Janet says she knew she had a different truth than the gender labels assigned to her at birth. One of her most defining moments took place in kindergarten. She was assigned a cubby, which was color-coded based on whether you were a boy or a girl. "I remember that was the first time in my life where I was told, 'This is where you're supposed to be. This is the box, the literal box, where you are supposed to exist in'," she says. "Even though I had an inclination or a wanting to draw towards the boxes that said Darlene or Kawehi, all the girls who were my friends that I played hopscotch with and played jacks with."

Having a blue box that said "Charles", Janet reflects, was a decision made for her. "There was I guess a chasm between that, between wanting to step across that line that I knew," she says. "I knew from everyone else was wrong to even want to cross that and to go and remove that name, put a new name there, and put my shoes in this box."

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