The other day I got into an argument with someone on Gawker about their elitist views on Janet Mock and how she didn't deserve to be on the same panel as bell hooks because she's not a scholar like bell hooks and she only serves to create public outrage. The only reason why Janet Mock is "creating outrage" is because she's a visible trans woman. That in itself causes people to be upset, but how is that her fault? It's not.
Janet Mock has done amazing work in helping her community, which is trans people and trans women of color (check wikipedia) on top of writing a book about her personal experiences, and bell hooks herself has absolutely no problem with Janet Mock, so I see absolutely no valid reason to critique Janet Mock in this regard.
I think what bothered me the most about this person's comments is their ridiculous idea that only having a degree makes you an intellectual worth having a platform and a person who doesn't have the same pedigree as you is not "equal" to you. Newsflash: not every intellectual has a degree and a lot of people don't have the privilege to attend university in the first place. Lets not downplay the achievements of someone because they're not an academic scholar. Pettiness, man.