WATCH: Janet Mock Flips the Script on Cisgender Host

By Ran Aubrey Frazier

Originally published on Advocate.com April 29 2014 2:25 PM ET

In a segment Tuesday morning on Fusion TV's AM Tonight, author and transgender activist Janet Mock traded places with the program's host, Alicia Menendez, to highlight the invasive, inappropriate questions regularly asked of transgender people in the media.

With Mock as the interviewer and Menendez in the hot seat, Mock rephrased several questions she's faced on-air about her gender identity to Menendez, essentially asking the host to prove that she is a cisgender (nontrans) woman.

Mock began by commending Menendez in much the way that Piers Morgan attempted to deliver a backhanded compliment to Mock when he hosted her on his CNN program earlier this year.

"What's so amazing is if I were to look at you, I would have never not known that you weren't trans," Mock said to Menendez. She then rattled off a series of increasingly personal questions about the on-air personality's anatomym and how her gender identity affects her perception of self and the world.

"Do you have a vagina?" Mock asked during the faux interview. "Do you feel like your idea of self, your cisness, holds you back in any way?"

After the mock interview, Menendez described her discomfort, surprising even herself, since she and her team had prepared the questions before the show. "I didn't realize how awful and invasive some of [these questions] would feel," said Menendez. 

This portion of the lengthy interview, which also included discussion of Mock's decision to come out as trans, her childhood, and the economic plight of many trans women that leads them to engage in sex work to survive, seemed a pointed response to Mock's controversial interview with Morgan in February on his now-cancelled CNN primetime show.

Throughout the CNN interview, an on-screen description of Mock read, "was a boy until age 18." During the segment, Morgan stated, "You used to be, yourself, a man," while his Twitter account plugged the interview by posing the question, "How would you feel if you found out the woman you were dating was formerly a man?"

Watch Mock flip that invasive script below: 

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Contributor: 
Ran Aubrey Frazier
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