Diversity Common Reader Writing Contest

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More

New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the 2015 WOMEN'S WAY Book Prize • Goodreads Best of 2014 Semi-Finalist • Books for a Better Life Award Finalist • Lambda Literary Award Finalist • Time Magazine “30 Most Influential People on the Internet” • American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book


NMU Community: Will You Share Your Story?

In NMU’s 2019 Diversity Common Reader, Redefining Realness, author Janet Mock characterizes herself as a “young, poverty-raised trans woman of color” and tells us of her life as someone who “stood at the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and personal economy on the margins of our society.”

Mock realizes her good fortune in being able to share her story and in becoming a kind of symbol for transgender people and women of color but also feels survivor’s guilt, knowing that her success—even her personal safety—is extremely rare for trans people of any race in our country, and often, for women of color.  She calls on her readers to foster community by sharing their own stories, stories that shed light on the barriers experienced by transgender people, and women of color.  Mock also tells us we need to share “stories of hope and possibility” so that others might dream.


“I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act.”  ~ Janet Mock


We invite you to send us your stories (500 words or less, please) of pain, of hope, of struggle, or of support to Click Here to Share Your Story before Monday, March 11, 2019.  Whether you are student, faculty, or staff, experiencing the struggle or watching a loved one, your story of that intersection of gender, race, or color matters.

Selected stories (as many as possible) will be read aloud (name gladly withheld, if you choose) at an event in March to our larger NMU community in order to draw in those among us who might feel isolated as transgender persons, those who identify as LGBTQ, and persons of color in our rural locale.  You are welcome to read your own story; you may also submit anonymously and elect to have someone on our panel recite your story.

Stories build community; our hope is these narratives will touch those among us who believe they are alone and enlighten those who have no lived experiences of these intersections.