Oprah Winfrey's eyes were opened this Sunday when she sat down with ever-articulate trans advocate Janet Mock to discuss "becoming the person you were always meant to be."
The platform was Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday, a show all about encountering the deeper truths of existence. And true to form, the 32-year media veteran didn't shy away from admitting she has more to learn about life — but we still can't remember the last time she had so many of her trademark "ah-ha" moments in one brilliant interview. There were even a couple high-fives in there.
The video below is worth watching if only for the moment that Winfrey, with genuine awe, marvels at how Mock's best-selling memoir Redefining Realness helped her understand that trans people's journeys are about more than just body shape or sensational details.
"For the first time, I understand that the conversation is the same conversation that every human being wants to have," Winfrey explained to Mock, almost beginning to cry. "It's 'I want you to see me for who I really am.'"
Mock, it's worth noting, invited Winfrey to ask her anything, creating the space for such teachable moments — a role not every trans person is comfortable with, but which Mock has taken on since 2011 with aplomb.
Admitting that 20 years ago, if she had interviewed a trans woman on The Oprah Winfrey Show, her producers would have demanded she ask about genitalia and she wouldn't have balked, Winfrey concludes that joining Mock to tell her own transition story now is all about the "spiritual journey."
The lessons learned — from how not to make a trans person's story all about their "past," to realizing that gender is a complex spectrum — are a model for other mediamakers who, like Diane Sawyer recently displayed in her interview with newly out trans woman Bruce Jenner, have had a steep learning curve, but are beginning to make noticeable progress.
Mock herself had some emotional moments, especially when she recalls the first time she was truly "seen" by another person: her best friend Wendi, who she met at 12 years old. She also shares the story of being affirmed by "the love of her life" Aaron, to whom she recently became engaged. See more in the video below.