Every month, we highlight an important person fighting for Human Rights in various ways. This month, we are highlighting Alok Vaid-Menon.
Alok Vaid-Menon, ALOK (they/them) is an internationally acclaimed author, educator, comedian, and public speaker. As a mixed-media artist their work explores themes of race, trauma, belonging, and the human condition. They are the author of Femme in Public (2017), Beyond the Gender Binary (2020), and Your Wound/My Garden (2021) and the creator of #DeGenderFashion: an initiative to degender fashion and beauty industries. In recognition of their work, they have been honored as the inaugural LGBTQ Scholar in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and awarded a GLAAD Media Award and Stonewall Foundation Visionary Award. Their activism focuses recognising LGBTQIA+ rights as human rights, while dissecting and educating on the history of the gender binary and its colonial-white supremacist roots.
Vaid-Menon, advocates for bodily diversity, fender neutrality, and self-determination, embedding intersectionality in their political comedy and writings. As they underline:
“It’s important to acknowledge that trans people can be lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, asexual, and intersex. The fact that we often forget this and discuss trans as separate from these suggests how much progress we still have to make. The only versions of LGBTQA life that have gotten acceptance tend to be the cisgender and/or gender conforming ones. Across the board trans people – and especially those of us who are gender non-conforming – are experiencing extreme rates of harassment, violence, and discrimination. In many cases this violence is actually increasing. I think this has everything to do with transphobia within the human rights movement: our issues and experiences are rarely, if ever, prioritized. However, I feel that change is possible, through resources, education, compassion and persistence.”
See more of our previous Human Rights Profiles here.