The Person Who Gave Janet Mock the Courage to Live Her Truth

Season 6 Episode 613
Aired on 05/03/2015 | CC
Janet Mock was presented as a boy, Charles, at birth. During her childhood in Hawaii, Janet struggled to step into the truth of herself. At age 12, she says she met the person who gave her the courage to do so—her best friend, Wendi.

Janet says there was no way to miss Wendi. "She would wear these super short shorts with socks pulled all the way up. She'd prance around school," she says. "I always saw her and I was afraid of her because I knew she was reflecting me. And I didn't want to see myself yet. I wasn't ready."

In their first interaction, Janet says Wendi called her out by asking one question. "Are you mahu? That's what she asked me. And mahu is a term within Hawaiian culture, kind of loosely translated to transgender," she says. "I clenched up. I was, like, wait, someone is seeing me. Someone is calling me out for who I am. And I wasn't ready to face that. And it took a few months and I saw her and she asked me, kindly the next time she goes, do you want to play volleyball after school? And that was the start of our friendship."

In the video above, Janet reflects on how Wendi taught her the true meaning of friendship. "At 12 years old, I was given the gift of having a best friend who saw me," she says. "That was pivotal at a time where everyone else was rebutting me."

More from this episode