Ep. 149 Trans Issues are Cis Issues: Challenging the Gender Binary + Connecting Through Differences with Alok Vaid-Menon


Alok Vaid-Menon is a gender non-conforming performance artist, writer, and educator.  Taken from Alok’s own writing “In a world that requires everyone to 'pass' within two discrete categories of 'man' OR 'woman' what would it mean for gender non-conformity to be regarded as beautiful, desirable, legitimate, and worthy?”.  They are performing, speaking, and writing from their soul to connect through differences and challenge the archaic social construct that is gender.

Alok is so comfortable in their skin and their glam, and the confidence is infectious! We had a ton of fun chatting with them, soaking in their poetic words – and we know you’re going to leave this episode with a little bit more hope, a little bit more inspiration, and new ways to challenge the current paradigm!

We talk about…

  • The ins and outs of your passion being your business

  • Growing up (emotionally repressed) in a small Texas town

  • Southern “politeness”

  • Balancing being a strong example for others + being a complex, flawed human

  • Why it hurts when we turn someone into a metaphor and a symbol

  • Visibility does not mean safety for women and trans people

  • Where Alok developed their emotional vocabulary

  • Gender + shame

  • Learning not to fear their own gender nonconformity

  • The psychology of fascism

  • Why Alok is frustrated by the individualism of self-care

  • The people who bully us want to be us

  • Aesthetics as political resistance

  • Violence against gender non-conforming individuals has escalated over the past few years

  • What we can all do, every day, to challenge the current paradigm