Isis King and Janet Mock on Transcending Transgender 101

‘America’s Next Top Model’ star and editor talk about life after transitioning.

Janet Mock and Isis King arrive, separately, at the 23rd annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards. (Photos: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Jul 9, 2012
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

Isis King and Janet Mock are two women of noteworthy achievement. Isis King is a fashion model and clothing designer who has competed twice on America’s Next Top Model. Janet Mock is a writer and staff editor for

Both King and Mock are also transgender.

In the Life Media—an organization dedicated to reducing injustice and chronicling LGBT life—has released a video of Janet interviewing Isis about her experiences as a transgender celebrity and her perceptions of media attitudes toward trans people.

King, the first transgender contestant on America’s Next Top Model, recalls being approached in a restaurant by a mother and her five-year-old daughter who wanted to meet Isis, the television star. “I never would have thought that a parent would let their child come up to a transgender woman. It really was touching…. I didn’t grow up and see people that transitioned unless they were on Maury or the Jerry Springer show.”

The nine-minute clip is a steady stream of illuminating sound bites on the power of television to shape a new generation’s LGBT acceptance, taking advantage of teachable moments with Howard Stern, how being called tranny is “the same as the N word,” the crucial difference between transsexual and transgender, and why RuPaul should be more responsible.

Did you find any teachable moments in Isis King and Janet Mock’s conversation? Leave them in COMMENTS.

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