Janet Mocks Responds to Transphobia on “The Breakfast Club”

Trans murder is not a joke.

Janet Mock and
Janet Mock and “The Breakfast Club” hostsCourtesy of Janet Mock/Allure

Last week Janet Mock appeared as a guest on radio show “The Breakfast Club” to talk about her new book “Surpassing Certainty” and her life as a transgender women. Throughout the interview hosts Angela Yee, Charlamagne tha God, and DJ Envy asked a slew of personal questions—oftentimes problematic questions aimed at her body and gender-affirming surgery instead of her work as a writer.

Mock knew going in that the hip-hop radio show deemed “the world’s most dangerous morning show” doesn’t have the best track record with their trans guests; having referred to dancer Sidney Starr as a “tranny” several times throughout her 2013 interview.

However, Mock decidedly engages with Black and Latinx communities on Trans 101 content because she believes that outreach is important for her fellow sisters of color. “My ultimate goal was to be accessible—to not judge, to call in rather than call out, and, above all, to exercise patience as the (straight cis male) hosts processed my existence,” Mock writes in her Allure essay released today.

“I was hopeful that I could use the show’s vast platform to speak directly to their predominantly black and Latinx listeners, who are often excluded from the conversations held in mainstream LGBT spaces (which are largely white, moneyed, and concerned with the centering of cis folk). I hoped I could make listeners aware of the lived realities of their trans sisters, and let them know that we deserve to be seen, heard, and acknowledged without the threat of harassment, exclusion, and violence.”

Mock’s interview with “The Breakfast Club” was shared across platforms on different radio shows, YouTube channels and news sources alike. In the same week, the radio show brought on comedian Lil Duval—who throughout his interview made transphobic and violent remarks about trans women.

DJ Envy asked Duval what he would do if he found out one of his sexual partners was a trans woman. “This might sound messed up, but I don’t care, she dying,” he replied.

“That’s a hate crime,” Charlamagne told him while laughing. “You can’t do that.”

“I can’t deal with that,” Duval continued. “You manipulated me to believe in this thing. If one did that to me, and they didn’t tell me, I’mma be so mad I’d probably going to want to kill them.” After which DJ Envy shows Duval Mock’s photo on her book asking him to rate her attractiveness.

This immediately sparked protests from online and IRL activists. Launching hashtags and responding to comment threads, saying #BoycottBreakfastClub and #TransFolksAreNotJokes. Duval feels he can get away with saying whatever he would like because he’s a comedian. Trans activists like Laverne Cox have since spoken out on the real life implications statements like Duval’s have.

“Duval purposefully misgendered me (as the hosts laugh, thereby cosigning) in an attempt to put me in my place and erase my womanhood,” Mock wrote. “Their fragile masculinity would not allow them to recognize a simple truth: I am an accomplished, beautiful black trans woman. Your willful ignorance will not stop me from being exactly who I am. My sisters and I are here and we exist, and you will not diminish our light and our brilliance.”

We couldn’t agree more. The brilliance that is Janet Mock will surpass men like Duval and DJ Envy 20 times over. Before closing her piece, Mock made one thing crystal clear that these men dealing with male-ego-insecurity just can’t wrap their heads around: “Just because you find me and my sisters attractive does not mean we desire you.”

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