Janet Mock has been stuck in the center of some crazy controversy lately (thanks to Piers Morgan). But, we're happy to report today, she's getting publicity for something much less nerve-wracking. Mock, the author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, is the newest cover girl for Elixher magazine, posing for a gorgeous nude photo shot by her own partner, Aaron Tredwell. Maybe it's because they're together that her gaze is so confident, but we kind of can't look away. She knows she looks good, and she's damned right.
Mock's not the first lady to go nude for a magazine cover, but no matter how famous, women who don't identify with traditional gender categorizations unfortunately don't often get the same opportunities as their peers. Lately — in both the media and in her personal life — Mock has been subjected to a lot of inappropriate and degrading commentary. So, it's really inspiring and, frankly, emotional for her fans to see her publicly and boldly exclaiming ownership of her own body. Mock has, of course, written about those experiences in her book, but in an essay about the Elixher cover on her website, she wrote that she still "yearned to not only discuss what’s been done to my body but to reclaim that this body is mine. All mine, and that I choose when, where and with whom I bear it." That message couldn't be clearer now.
Mock goes on to explain she wouldn't have done this for just any magazine: "The only reason I chose to be publicly vulnerable in this space is because it’s a space created by and for queer and trans women of color," she writes. "It’s a space of our own and I knew the level of care that would be taken to ensure we got the right image, that the theme of the issue was empowering, that the other storytellers were just as bold and unapologetic about baring themselves."
Among those other storytellers are Kim Crosby, Tiona McClodden, and (fangirl moment right here) Mia McKenzie of Black Girl Dangerous. You'll have to preorder the issue to see the rest, but if you ask us, it's well worth it.