Just one day after a problematic first interview and a Twitter firestorm, Janet Mock returned to Piers Morgan Live to to clear the air and speak in depth about how misguided reporting, however benign in its intent, is hurtful and harmful.
Janet used the interview as an opportunity to discuss real issues faced by transgender people. She underscored how the lack of recognition and support for who transgender people are means they often face increased hurdles, such as healthcare inequality and violence. Janet also stressed that we need to allow transgender people to tell their own stories, saying, "We need to follow trans women and let them say who they are." She also asked Piers Morgan whether he would continue to use his platform to tell the stories of transgender people.
Watch the interview below:
Piers followed his conversation with Janet with a panel that included no transgender people, debating how Janet, and by extension, the rest of the transgender community, may have felt about the interview. One panelist, Ben Ferguson, screamed "She was born a man!" over and over, while Marc Lamont Hill spoke out in support of the transgender community. The fact that Piers Morgan brought on three CNN correspondents to talk about Janet after she left reinforced Janet's point that trans people, particularly trans women of color, rarely get to tell their own stories in the media.
Take, as a contrast, CNN's Reliable Sources, which invited two transgender people on to discuss Grantland's "Dr. V's Magical Putter" and common issues found in media coverage of transgender people. The show allowed transgender advocates, who also happen to be media experts, to speak about their lives and experiences, something that didn't happen, even after Janet's follow-up interview.
"It’s critical that newsmakers provoke meaningful conversations about transgender people, and Janet helped countless viewers better understand the challenges facing the transgender community," said GLAAD spokesperson Tiq Milan. "The show then failed its viewers by hosting a panel that largely degraded and maligned Janet, with some panelists spreading misinformation about the experiences of transgender people everywhere. The follow-up panel merely served to remind viewers that transgender women are indeed left out of the conversation far too often.”