Janet Mock | News | Piers Morgan | Transgender

Piers Morgan's Two-Day Train Wreck with Trans Issues and Janet Mock: VIDEO

Trans woman, advocate and author Janet Mock appeared on Piers Morgan earlier this week in connection with her book Redefining Realness, Buzzfeed reports:

Morgan_mockMorgan ended the first segment of the Piers Morgan Live interview by saying that Mock at one point had to tell the man she was dating that “you used to be yourself a man” — although Mock has never identified as a man.

The on-screen description of Mock was that she “was a boy until age 18,” although she was identifying as a girl in high school, and the Piers Morgan Live Twitter account posed the question during the interview, “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are dating was formerly a man?”

“He’s trying to do info-tainment,” Mock told BuzzFeed Tuesday night. “He doesn’t really want to talk about trans issues, he wants to sensationalize my life and not really talk about the work that I do and what the purpose of me writing this book was about.”

After the show aired Mock sent out a series of tweets including this one:

The tweets apparently launched a barrage of criticism against Piers Morgan that was effective enough to have Morgan invite Mock back on his show to ask her what he did wrong (see next clip).

Mediaite reports:

Morgan repeatedly bemoaned how much he’s been attacked, saying he “spent an infuriating 24 hours,” he was “viciously abused,” cried “I’m being vilified!”, and asked why someone like him, who openly supports LGBT rights and equality, has gotten such “a load of abuse.”

Mock told Morgan she was too “scared” to rebut his references to her as having previously been a man, which she argued isn’t fair because gender is more about how a person identifies themselves as opposed to the genitalia they possess. Morgan argued there is nothing wrong with saying she was born a boy and continued to complain, “you threw me to the wolves a little bit.”

Zack Ford at Think Progress adds:

Morgan began the interview with Mock from a very defensive perspective, claiming that he’d been “abused” by the trans community and demanding an explanation as to why the criticism seemed to come out of the blue. She admitted that during her first interview with him, she was “scared” to confront him and that she was trying to be a “cordial guest,” but Morgan seemed confused as to what she had to be scared of. Throughout the interview, he continued to interrupt her and insist that he had a clear understanding of her story, often ignoring her as she corrected him. Here is how Mock explained the evolution of her gender identity:

MOCK: Before commercial break, we had a lovely conversation, and then all of a sudden you said, “…who was formerly a man.” I was a baby. I was assigned male gender because of the appearance of my genitals. As I grew up, I discovered my girlhood, I discovered my womanhood, and I proclaimed and defined myself for myself.

That explanation didn’t stick. Morgan insisted on asking why it is offensive to say that she “grew up as a boy” and that she “had surgery to become a woman, to become a real woman.” Mock explained that there is a difference between sex and gender...

...Mock pointed out that though Morgan may have felt vilified and misunderstood since Tuesday night’s interview, that’s how transgender people feel every single day. Still, he insisted that she was to blame for not bringing these concerns up during the original interview — neglecting to apologize for how he consistently misrepresented her story and identity.

Finally, instead of letting the segment sit and serve as a learning experience for both viewers and participants, Morgan had to invite a panel on to discuss it, which allowed the panelists to make a series of transphobic remarks directed at Mock.

Equality Matters notes:

The panel was a trainwreck of transphobic misinformation.

— Morgan opened the segment by laughing at a "pun" that conflated Mock's sexual orientation and gender identity.
— Holmes asserted that, as a transgender woman, Mock should have expected to be misgendered, objectified, and sensationalized.
— Ferguson conflated Mock's birth sex and gender, stating that "doctors and science" proved she was born a man. He went on to suggest that Mock was "in the head" and refusing to accept the "facts" about her gender.
— Ferguson also accused Mock of creating a "fake controversy" in order to sell more books, echoing accusations that Morgan himself made earlier in the day on Twitter.

None of the panelists Morgan invited on his show are transgender, nor do any of them have any expertise or background studying or dealing with transgender issues. Morgan never once corrected his guests for making transphobic comments, laughing at Mock's identity, or accusing Mock of creating a "fake controversy" to sell books, even though Mock wasn't present to defend herself.

UPDATE: The conservative rag Daily Caller has just issued this tasteful headline regarding the Mock-Morgan segments.


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  1. This story has me conflicted. On one side I hate obnoxious overly sensitive activists (trans activists seem to have a higher than normal concentration of theses types). On the other anything bad that happens to that vile slime ball Morgan makes me smile.

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 6, 2014 10:32:27 AM

  2. Exactly how many times a week is a trans activist going to attack a longtime ally and alienate them from wanting to help us all?

    Posted by: Hrm | Feb 6, 2014 10:36:44 AM

  3. Mock may not have identified as a boy but she had a penis and was regarded as a boy by society.

    Morgan is not a trans expert and neither is his audience. Mock's hysterical reaction means that trans activists won't be invited back on that show.

    Time for the GLB to lose the T. Why are the problems of a straight woman like Janet Mock our concern?

    Posted by: MaryM | Feb 6, 2014 10:39:03 AM

  4. @ "Exactly how many times a week is a trans activist going to attack a longtime ally and alienate them from wanting to help us all?"

    OK. It's only Thursday, and we have one more day to go, but I think you'll win the award for dumbest comment of week.

    "...from wanting to help us all?"

    And who the f.ck is "us"? Log Cabin b.tches?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 6, 2014 10:44:04 AM

  5. What Piers Morgan doesn't get and what should be coming to the forefront of a controversy like this, is that homophobia and transphobia are internalized by everyone. Ridding yourself of those internalized feelings and ideas is a lifetime process. When a straight person makes the decision to support the LGBT community they generally feel like they've finished a journey. Instead, like those of us in the LGBT community know, they've just begun a journey. To be fair to Piers Morgan, Janet Mock took offense to his internalized transphobia when she should have made friendly corrections - had that failed making a big stink is then appropriate.

    Posted by: Marshall | Feb 6, 2014 10:50:14 AM

  6. Seriously, the American LGBT people have to be the biggest BRATS I have ever seen, as well as ungrateful f*ckers. Lol, you wait, the straight media community will stop coming to your aid and you will only have the Andy Cohen's in the gay media world to represent you. And what a NICE guy he is? Huh? SMDH.

    If she had responded to him in a non bitchy and open manner...it would NOT have gotten to this. Cry me a frigging river.

    Posted by: Rowan | Feb 6, 2014 10:52:00 AM

  7. Yes, Morgan is supportive of the GLBT community but he is also a UK tabloid hound, which is a vicious pack. To go on the air and expect a nuanced and sensitive treatment by and from him is really naive.

    He wants ratings and he'll do anything to get them - and, in our culture, that means to be as sensationalist as possible, and to boil everything down into black & white soundbites.

    Posted by: hugo | Feb 6, 2014 11:00:31 AM

  8. Message to Piers Morgan - in future don't invite T people on your show - their aggression and hysteria is relentless.

    Posted by: MaryM | Feb 6, 2014 11:03:05 AM

  9. Janet Mock had her penis amputated - why is she so freaked out about being called a boy when that is what her familyk, friends and society regarded her as?

    Posted by: MaryM | Feb 6, 2014 11:05:45 AM

  10. Derrick, does your lame personal attack make you feel better about yourself? "Us," clearly is the LGBT community, which P. Morgan AND G. Sidibe have always gone out of their way to help. Same thing with Madonna. But ONE wrong word and people jump all over them, when frankly, they don't have to help the gay community at all. They don't HAVE to mention that treating gay people differently is wrong. They don't HAVE to defend gay rights in their interviews, music, or performances, but they do. Go ahead, attack them, and see how long until they just plain stop wasting their time with ungrateful bitches.

    Posted by: Hrm | Feb 6, 2014 11:06:05 AM

  11. This comment thread is disappointingly indicative of the anti-trans sentiment in the LGBT community. Mock was completely within her rights to take issue with Morgan's treatment of her and all trans people. Furthermore, that Piers Morgan doesn't get that simply identifying as an ally doesn't give you free reign to say and do what you like is disappointing.

    And since when does being an "LGBT ally" get you off the hook for insensitivity? If Morgan had invited on a gay male show guest and spent the segment asking him about anal sex, this comment thread would be full of people up in arms. That you think Morgan gets some sort of pass because he has occasionally been supportive of LGBT rights is ridiculous and you wouldn't say the same if he was insulting LGB people.

    Posted by: Mike8787 | Feb 6, 2014 11:06:49 AM

  12. Ok....the headline by the daily caller was funny.

    Posted by: Xander | Feb 6, 2014 11:09:14 AM

  13. morgan, like katie couric before him may have gotten some things wrong... but isn't it the duty of the misrepresented to correct them?

    i thought laverne cox and carmen carrerra did a better job of redirecting the conversation after their couric interview (and obviously katie did a beter job following up). playing the victim doesn't work here for morgan... instead of accusing mock of "vilifying him", he should have asked her how to treat trans issues. what are the correct terms? what is the journey like? what is the correct way to say someone was born into the wrong body? i feel like a "teachable moment" was missed in the name of ratings and headline making...

    Posted by: dft426 | Feb 6, 2014 11:13:32 AM

  14. Seriously, what is wrong with the people in this comment thread? Your complete lack of compassion for trans people -- and active animus in some cases -- is disgusting and I am genuinely considering not reading this blog any more because of it.

    As people who have faced discrimination likely your entire lives, SHAME ON YOU for being so intolerant and hateful of others. We are supposed to be a community, and people who think, talk, and act like you are definitely not welcome in it.

    Posted by: Mike8787 | Feb 6, 2014 11:15:21 AM

  15. I'm hoping with all my might the anti-trans comments are all from one very sad and very depressed individual because if not there is still a long way to go with our community truly becoming all-inclusive.

    Posted by: Derrick | Feb 6, 2014 11:15:24 AM

  16. Mock is not a wallflower. She had no problem steamrolling Morgan during the second interview. I find it difficult to believe that she was so intimidated by him the first night that she felt paralized to challenge the words he used to describe her. She got a lot of publicity though, didn't she? As did Piers. I often wonder if these "twitter feuds" aren't somehow planned to get them some buzz.

    Posted by: Gigi | Feb 6, 2014 11:17:23 AM

  17. Piers could have invited any number of published academic researchers who could have explained to him and the other members of his panel that gender identity is a construct. External genitalia does not equal gender. For example how do you classify a genetic male with androgen insensitivity?

    I find it hard to believe that he wanted to truly understand where his guest was coming from.

    Posted by: rayj | Feb 6, 2014 11:17:29 AM

  18. This is getting out of hand now, we're not happy enough to have defend ourselves against those who genuinely attack us, we're now spoiling for a fight at every minute potential possibility no matter whether the person has been an open proponent of LGBT equality for years!

    We're now attacking people over semantics, f*cking SEMANTICS! Never mind the fact that he's been supportive, never mind the fact that he's invited her on to talk at length about the issues and her book when other shows would not even consider it, ignore the fact that it was wholly positive and beneficial to the entire community, he used a word that someone with an over-sensitive mind took and run with, and then attacked him for it.

    It seems that, these days, if someone on TV wants to even interview someone from the LGBT community they need to take a full-time course in gender equality, psychology and gender studies for six months beforehand, just so they don't use the "wrong word" and are subsequently ganged up on by oversensitive Tweeters.

    I am entirely on his side on this, and as a Brit that should be concerning. This man was always considered to be a vile, lying bully in the UK, and I never thought I would be defending him over anything.

    This has to stop. Stop attacking our allies, stop being over sensitive bitches with a thirst for "crusading", and stop embarrassing all of us when there are plenty of REAL and GENUINE issues still out there.

    Posted by: BlokeToys | Feb 6, 2014 11:17:45 AM

  19. Morgan is an idiot, so I can't say I really expected much more from him.

    Anyone with so much as two properly function neurons to rub together knows that you don't argue with an oppressed minority member when they point out that you're guilty of offensive behavior. Instead of approaching his own ignorance from a humble place and willingness to learn, Morgan lashes out at the person he claims to want to support.

    My parents are racists. They're not hateful people and they don't mean to be racist, but everyone they've ever known and respected was racist and they've lived too sheltered a life to have their offensive preconceptions challenged. I'm the only white person they've ever known who isn't racist and when I try to correct their wrong-headed thinking they look at me like I suddenly started speaking Greek.

    Ignorance is a sickness. A woefully under-addressed pandemic.

    Posted by: FFS | Feb 6, 2014 11:27:04 AM

  20. I find most of these comments are hateful. The utter lack of empathy for Mock is appalling.

    Also, the fact no transfolks on Morgan's panel is disquieting.

    Posted by: Marshall | Feb 6, 2014 11:47:47 AM

  21. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" should be the motto of anyone who dares express any kind of solidarity, empathy, or well-wishes toward the T community, because you WILL be smacked down. You won't be able to figure out why you're being smacked down, or follow the twisted semantics, or understand the viciousness of the inevitable attacks on your integrity (see: Dan Savage) but you will have a motto to remember the next time you're stupid enough to think you might want to defend the T in LGBT.

    Posted by: ANTB | Feb 6, 2014 11:47:51 AM

  22. This reminds me of the Family Guy episode "Quarmire's Dad".

    It had all the trans activists and their supporters really P.O.'d...

    They didn't get it. They didn't get that most people have absolutely no clue about what trans people go through. And how the heck would they ?

    Trans activists and their supporters - you have a lot of work to do. You need to focus on education, not condemnation and stupid PR stunts and your anger and outrage. It's a huge turn-off and does nothing to further your cause.

    For instance, many of you expect the people around you that had no idea, that you've never even spoken to about what you are going through, to just instantly accept you when you make the transition. You're hypocrites. On one hand, you fully admit that person you were is gone, yet bemoan people for having difficulty with the "new" you, the "real" you. The conflict you create and foster is a colossal mindf*ck.

    The sad thing, the really tragic thing is, so many people really WANT to be supportive of you, to be your friends, but you didn't actually DO anything to make this possible.

    You shocked them to the core and expected them to gracefully deal immediately.

    Oh, and when you CHOOSE to FREELY be interviewed by someone with a reputation that displays he's an idiot, it's YOU'RE responsibility to be prepared to dot he job you need to do. You're representing and educating the interviewer and the public.

    Take it seriously or leave it to someone who's competent. There are plenty of kind, intelligent, and eloquent trans people out there that can handle the job.

    Posted by: Just Sayin' | Feb 6, 2014 11:50:15 AM

  23. Sorry, but her explanation in the follow-up segment barely made sense to me. And if she's strong enough to write a book and go on a national show, she's strong enough to object to ignorance on the spot, rather than start Twitter bashing.

    I want to know more. I want to understand how my well-meaning ignorance might be hurtful to others. I am teachable. But this transgender woman has only taught me that she can't get past her offense to use a teachable moment when she sees one.

    Posted by: Mark S. King | Feb 6, 2014 11:52:27 AM

  24. Way over sensitive. If you there to discuss the issue you probably need a thicker skin.
    I don't like the way I now feel about trans people.

    Posted by: pyewackett | Feb 6, 2014 12:08:48 PM

  25. OMG THESE COMMENTS!!!! :( :( :( :(
    If you know a trans* person personally or professionally and you are reading this thread in abject horror then please log off now, go and tell the trans* person in your life that you love them, value them and honor them. A hug, a text, a FB message, something to let them know that they are not alone and that these anonymous trollers do not have the power to eliminate the T from the GLB "community". Allies who can't be open to criticism are not real allies! #noalliesinthewild

    Posted by: Tom Bardwell | Feb 6, 2014 12:10:36 PM

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