Photo by Elvind Hanson for Paper Magazine
Alok Vaid-Menon

Alok Vaid-Menon







32 years








What makes Alok Vaid-Menon a Global Shaker?

Alok Vaid-Menon is an American performance artist, poet, and LGBTQ rights activist who identifies as gender non-conforming and transfeminine using singular they pronouns.

Born of Indian-American parents and raised Hindu, their work is known worldwide for normalising discussions of shame, trauma and violence against trans and gender non-conforming people of colour.

As a poet and performance artist, they campaign for trans visibility through their social media channels but is always a victim of online abuse for their appearance.

Alok recently told the BBC that when they told their parents that they were transgender, they responded by saying, “but you’re so hairy! It’s going to be so difficult to remove all your hair to be a woman, so you should just give up.”

But, Alok believes that everybody should be able to do what they want and by not removing their body hair they are helping others take ownership of their own bodies as they are in their natural state.

They have been featured on HBO, MTV, The Guardian, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The New Yorker and have presented their work and spread their message in over 40 countries.

In 2015, they co-created Dark Matter, a trans-South Asian performance art duo, with Janani Balasubramanian and were featured in the important 2016 HBO documentary, The Trans List.

In 2017 Alok released a book of poems about the queer experience entitled, Femme in Public.

Tags: Body Positivity

Last updated: May 27, 2019