Janet Mock to return to Piers Morgan Tonight

Janet Mock will appear on Piers Morgan Tonight for a second time this evening to discuss the backlash from her appearance on the show last night, which was her first mainstream television interview discussing her memoir, Redefining Realness. After she appeared on the show with a graphic that introduced her as "was a boy until age 18," Mock has received an outpouring of support on social media.

She also tweeted:

Among several other tweets, Piers Morgan responded:

Janet is a woman who is changing the conversation about transgender people and our lived experience. She has become a mentor and inspiration to thousands of LGBT people across the country, who were introduced to her after her story appeared in Marie Claire. Janet writes on the Marie Claire article in Redefining Realness:

"Although the facts correlated with my life, the story belonged to Marie Claire through the reportage of Kierna. The profile was a compilation of a series of meetings, phone calls, and emails from the past few months that disclosed one aspect of my identity: I am a trans woman, or, as Marie Claire put it, "I Was Born A Boy." The fact remains that the girl in that article didn't resonate with me because it wasn't really my story."

What is perhaps most concerning for transgender people is that Janet is one of the most visible and revered leaders in our community. If she can be misgendered, then what about all the trans people who do not have the agency, support or level of visibility that she does?

There are a few best practices that journalists can follow to ensure respectful and well-rounded reporting:

  1. Use the proper pronoun at all times including not referencing them as a "former boy or girl". Many transgender people were assigned a sex at birth that they never identified with at all. 
  2. Ask questions about the real issues facing trans people: healthcare inequality, job discrimination, and alarmingly high suicide rates.
  3. Reporters should be aware of not sensationalizing the processes of transitioning whether that be the process of coming out or the medical component of transitioning. Producers and reporters would not ask non-trans people about love-making or how a partner 'felt' about their gender.  
  4. Be vigilant about not making someone's transgender identity into a secret that needs to be revealed or is deceptive in anyway.

Misguided reporting on transgender people is sadly nothing new. Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox and model Carmen Carrera had to pivot away from invasive questions about their private parts on the Katie Couric show calling attention to the fact that their body is not the breadth of their identity or experience as women. Most recently, Grantland.com' ESPN's long form blog, found itself under intense scrutiny after it was revealed that Dr. Vanderbilt, the subject of the article, was outed as a transwoman by the reporter to her primary investor without consent. Dr. Vanderbilt committed suicide before the article was posted.

"The response to this interview shows why it's so important for the media to be well versed on how to address transgender people and speak to their experience," said GLAAD's President, Sarah Kate Ellis. "During tonight's segment, Piers has an opportunity to educate the public about the real issues facing one of the most marginalized groups in our country. I hope he takes it. Janet Mock is a brilliant author, advocate and leader in the LGBT community and should be respected as such." 

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