Janet Mock’s Story of Personal Transformation


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Janet Mock has written a memoir of her life journey  in Redefining Realness, My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. Janet Mock has invited her readers into her life sharing detailed descriptions of childhood, puberty and teen years. Her story is shared with dignity, honesty and scholarship. Ms. Mock provides a wealth of information. Information which destroys prevailing societal transsexual mythology.

She shares what it is to live daily in a body you do not believe nor accept as your truth spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and physically. Ms. Mock does not paint herself as some tragic heroine but as an individual who knows who she is, was born to be. This is a book based on Ms. Mock’s experiences. Who can better tell one’s story than the person who has and is living it?  This is not a book fueled by tantalizing sensationalism. This is a text whose purpose is to enlighten. Ms. Mock continues to be embraced by many communities. However, it is the Black community who has and continues to champion her. The Black community sees her as a symbol of advocacy for equality, human and civil rights.

Janet Mock shares the politics and criminalization surrounding transsexual sex workers. In doing so we see the human being not a societal fantasy imagined and draped in judgement, racism and prejudice. She also shares perceptions of society’s heterosexual hierarchy. The belief that transsexuals specifically trans women are less than She goes on to provide statistical data of harassment, assaults and deaths of trans women. Trans women of color being the major targets and victims of these threats, assaults and deaths.

There has been conversations centered around competition between cis women and trans women. I’d like to dispel this myth. Cis women are not enemies of trans women and vice-versa.This is not and never has been a competition. Women whether lesbian, heterosexual, queer or trans are in a united fight for equality, and it’s crucial all women remain supportive of each other, especially women of color. Why? Because women of color specifically Black women remain the media and societal targets of misogynists. Males believing erroneously that Black women and women of color are easy targets and will not respond to their misogyny.

©Lorraine Currelley 2014. All Rights Reserved
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It Got Better with Janet Mock

A little something extra. Sharing Youtube video, great interview!
Janet Mock, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love &…: http://youtu.be/4Na2Ik_zPVM via @YouTube

From Abuse to Empowerment and Love

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Lynette Robinson has written a powerful memoir. Her text is undoubtingly a very important and insightful learning tool for those working in the mental health field, specifically practicing clinicians. I recommend Where The Rainbow Fell Down for required reading for students aspiring to enter the mental health field. Lynette Robinson has written us into these pages and this system. This is not just a book for clinicians and students, laypersons will benefit from Where The Rainbow Fell Down as well.

Lynette Robinson has courageously shared her story of family dysfunction, mental illness, sexual and domestic violence and the misogyny of the Roman Catholic Church. Where The Rainbow Fell Down is at times a painful story and difficult to read. I found myself having to stop and take a few deep breaths before continuing. It is a wonder how she survived horrifc after horrific experience and thrived to become the person she is today. Persons believing in miracles will say, her journey was indeed a miracle.

This memoir describes classic behaviors of persons raised and living in abusive and dysfunctional homes. Homes where family members are coached or threatened not to share what happens in their homes. Everyone is taught to dance, a dance of silence. Coached to protect the abusers, less they be discovered to not be this mythological non problematic family. In many cases the children becoming the parents to parents, lacking the skills for healthy parenting. Lynette Robinson became the parent protecting her mother and the keeper of secrets. The daughter of a mother living her life based on the opinions of neighbors, church doctrine and the keeping up of appearances. Sadly, at the expense of the well being of her children. I cringed at the repeated inequities and patriachal societal preferences for males as experienced in her home. Mother and stepfather prefering her brother. We witness the spirit of a woman who has been beaten down since childhood, subjecting herself to the unwanted advances of a husband she despised, while strategically planning her escape.

Make no mistake Where The Rainbow Fell Down should also be required reading for clergy and not just those of the Roman Catholic faith. Perhaps, the Roman Catholic Church along with its brother institutions( spiritual denominations)who continue to practice abusive ideologies serving no purpose other than to control and dominate will be enlightened. Denominations governed by a group of misogynists robed in an archaic doctrine and a system based on fear not love. Fear as a means of control and power. Persons lacking experience with issues confronting couples and individuals living them on a daily basis. A system where these inexperienced men are set up as fathers and leaders. Lets not forget nuns and female members of the clergy who have bought into this system of oppression. Both male and female lacking compassion, empathy, understanding and love. Reading these pages and having read other texts filled with stories of abusing nuns, priests and clergy one witnesses first hand criteria for diagnoses of mental illness. Mentally ill individuals and criminals protected by institutions of power economically and spiritually.

Lynette Robinson has written us into these pages. We are no longer on the outside looking in. We’re on the inside wondering will she survive the onslaught of crushing physical, psychological and spiritual blows. Happily we rejoice with and are inspired by Lynette Robinson’s personal victories, empowerment and realization of joy, peace and love. This is the story of a courageous and determined woman who found her gold at the end of her rainbow. As a practicing clinician Where The Rainbow Fell Down will join my library of reference and recommended tools.

©Lorraine Currelley 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Ebony Nicole Golden’s A Manifesta For Black Feminism

Ebony Nicole Golden’s “A Manifesta for Black Feminism is a powerfully written document. Seeing ourselves through our own eyes with clarity, thereby acknowledging our individual and collective beauty, power, purpose, brillance, strength and creativity. Like the past historically we continue to be demonized. Her manifesta is empowering and affirming and resonated with me. There’s a welcomed individual and collective validation of Black women and girls. This is seen in a herstorical and contemporary context. Daily Black women and girls navigate a society, and media which attacks our very existence, the way we love, speak, dress, our hair and move throughout the world. We reclaim
ourselves. Ebony Nicole Golden’s “A Manifesta for Black Feminism supports and affirms our speaking in our voices, as only we can.

At the end of her manifesta Ebony Nicole Golden writes of who she is.
It begins with I am. I invite you to do the same. Excerpt used with Ebony Nicole Golden’s permission. Lorraine Currelley
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A Manifesta: Black Feminism(s) and the Poetics of Now!

What does it mean to be a Black girl or woman in this contemporary moment? From Beyoncé to bell hooks, our identities, sexualities, scholarship, wardrobes, genders, you name it, seem to be open for discussion by a host of individuals and institutions that think they know better than we do about what it takes to be a fully actualized Black girl or woman today. We are not verbally, intellectually, or artistically incapacitated. We are right here and we know what we want and how to communicate our desires.

These impositions, ideals, and policies fuel global, multi-billion dollar industries that thrive on their ability to convince us that our hair, skin, hips, asses, reproductive organs, eyes, noses, smells, thoughts, creations, indeed our very existence is a problem that needs to be fixed, perfumed, or prettied up. Can we live? When these systems function at peak performance, it becomes extremely difficult to pursue full agency in our bodies and full citizenship on this planet.

Just listen to the radio, take a walk down the street, sit in a classroom, scroll through a social media site, attend a play, talk to a child, or check in with your own ideas about Black girls and women and it will become crystal clear that it is time to re-invigorate a rigorous and multi-faceted conversation about Black women and girls’ lives. One that pushes our communities to have the hard dialogues that go past the surface of whatever current trend, celebrity interview, or backlash that happens to permeate the airwaves. It is time to dig into the nuanced and intersecting systems invested in the deterioration of our spirits and well-being. It is time to analyze the unhealthy fear of our ability to fly to our freedom. It is time to blow apart binaries about who is the “right” or “wrong” type of Black girl or woman. It is time to rattle the collective chains of elitism, exclusivity, classism, and beauty politics that seek to confine us. We need to disrupt the dominate discourse and infuse the current playlist with new, re-claimed, emergent, and messy ideas of what it means to be a Black girl or woman in the time of now!

Forget what you heard! Black girls and women are futuristic! We are more than the reductive stock images spinning, on heavy repeat, megaphone blasting out of every media outlet, ricocheting and reverberating throughout the solar system.

Now is the time to activate some collective genius to dig into the current conjurations of a visionary Black feminist project. One that introduces new developments in art, culture, traditional medicine, healing, and other sectors as we collectively unshackle our girls and women from the chains of dominant stereotypes, disregard, and disease. Now is the time to swap stories, interventions, lesson plans, and recipes for our own revolution. It is time to immerse ourselves in the language of our liberation, to fan the flames of a Black feminist future that makes this world hear our names in our mothers’ tongues. It is time to come back to the kitchen table and figure out how to snatch back our images and our destinies from the claws of capitalism, patriarchy, institutional oppression, defeatism, and individualism. It is time for strategic engagement and strategic action.

We are not a problem.

We are not a disease.

We are not an issue.

We are not a half-truth.

We are not pathological.

We are not specimens.

We are not tools of our own oppression.

We are determiners of our destinies.

The power of Black women and girls is much bigger than the destructive tropes forcefully mapped onto our experiences. Our vision and collective power hydrated by our spirits, innate strengths, creative capacity, and intuitive talents can tilt this planet in favor of, discourse, policies, and practices that positively govern our lives. Yes! Black women and girls have participated in the movements for social justice and cultural activism, since the beginning of time that have freed our families, our communities, and nations all over this globe. Our DNA is encoded with technologies for liberation and we know how to get free!

Take a moment to consider what will be fly, funky, fresh, and phenomenal about being a Black girl or woman in three hundred years. What do you see when you walk down the street? Who is the president of the country in which you reside? Where do you shop? How do we treat the planet? What are the most pressing issues in your communities? Whose artistic work is hanging on the walls of your favorite museum? What music are you bumping as you astroproject to work? Who has the authority to legislate how you build a family, your reproductive rights, or how you make a living?

More importantly where are you Black girl, Black woman? Are you thriving? How are you creating your community, your viability, your wellness, your art, your identity, your liberation?

This is not just an exercise for Black girls and women, however. No one is off the hook when it comes to envisioning a better world for Black girls and women. I want everybody to dream this brilliant future with us. How are you making a world that is more livable for Black girls and women, regardless of your race, gender, religion, class, or location? What is your role as a co-conspirator in creating a world where all human beings work for the overall badassness of Black girls and women all over this planet and beyond? It may make you uncomfortable to consider; but know this, visioning a Black feminist future is an investment in your own liberation. Don’t you want to release all the baggage attached to oppressing thriving communities of girls and women? Don’t you want to be free?

These are not rhetorical prompts. I want you to riff on all these ideas and share them with the world because now is the time to flood the stratosphere with our collective vision; a vision of a world that places the vitality and liberation of Black women and girls at the center of the universe. Indeed, this vision ensures that each element that creates this universe shines a little bit brighter. Hyperbolic? Not at all! This is a call to action. Our vision is the precursor for our reality.

Triple Consciousness: Black Feminism(s) in the Time of Now marks a new day in the ever growing, every spinning cosmology of Black feminist praxis, creativity, spirituality, and aesthetics. Triple Consciousness is built on the radical realness that we are experts in our own lives, that we determine the trajectory of our future, that we define what it means to be freely, completely, and fully actualized. We will not be denied our humanity!

This is an exciting moment in the evolution of Black feminism(s). Here are some reasons why:

Black feminism is off the hinges, unboxed and unafraid. It is as robust and varied as the diaspora.

Black feminism births a liberation cosmology. It is an intricate system of pathways, railroads, and technologies that demand every Black girl and woman negotiate the challenges and triumphs of being in this world on her own terms.

Black feminism is a series of emergent, interdisciplinary, radical practices for reclaiming reinventing, and charting new and experimental methods for living in this world.

Black feminism is a ritual for the amplification of our human rights and honoring and remembering of what it means to be reborn, grow wings, and fly.

Black feminism disrupts and disturbs contemporary norms of femininity.

Black feminism is more than a reaction, response, or reflection of trauma, lack, despondency.

Black feminism is a living and breathing organism.

Black feminism is not a destination it is a forward moving journey.

Black feminism is a framework a theory a pedagogy a methodology for transgression, transformation, and holistic wellness for every organism on this planet.

Black feminism is the bold act of remembering our connection to the bottom of the ocean, the center of the earth, and the far reaches of the cosmos.

Black feminism is home.

I am Ebony Noelle Golden. Daughter of Dr. Betty Ann Sims. Grand daughter of Bertha “Candy” Sims. Great grand daughter of Pearl Glover. God daughter of Cheryle “Strawberry” Chevalier. God daughter of Mama Dr. Nana Anoa Nantambu. Big sister to Heather Autumn Hicks. God sister to Meagan Salters. Auntie to Jayla, Joi and Jaynah Dancy. Auntie to Audrina Marie Hicks. Auntie to Helaina Ava Hicks. Auntie to Brooklynn Catherine Hicks. My best friend is Angela Spencer. Her daughters Kennady and Krystal are my nieces. I write this manifesta, this love song, this imperative to them and my extended tribe of younger and elder sisters. Because of them I am.

651 ARTS, MAPP International, an arts organization with its home in Brooklyn and The Brooklyn Museum is presenting Triple Consciousness, a three part series of public dialogues exploring Black female identity. Triple Consciousness is curated by Ebony Nicole Golden.
This amazing and needed series is at the Brooklyn Museum until November 15th, 2014.