Alok Vaid-Menon is a performance artist, poet, and LGBTQ rights activist. Vaid-Menon identifies as gender non-conforming and transfeminine and uses they pronouns. Vaid-Menon is from a Hindu-Indian family and grew up in College Station, Texas. They went to Stanford University. Vaid-Menon's work normalizes discussions of shame, trauma and violence against trans and gender non-conforming people of color. They have presented their work at 400 venues in more than 40 countries. Vaid-Menon is known for incorporating ideas of trans-activism and identity into their poetry performances.. In 2017 Vaid-Menon released FEMME IN PUBLIC, a book of poems regarding queer experiences. This year, they released their third fashion collection in India, which emphasized colorful, printed clothing, and asserted that skirts and dresses are gender-neutral.
In this episode of Bad Brown Aunties, Alok phones in an “Auntie” who has inspired and supported them. Alok phoned in Kareem Khubchandani, aka LaWhore Vagistan. Kareem is a performance artist, working in drag, storytelling, body art, theater, and digital media. He is also a Professor at Tufts University teaching at the intersection of performance studies and queer studies. His research, performance, and teaching interests include dance studies, queer nightlife, South Asian diaspora, global queer politics, performance ethnography, critical race studies, and drag.
Below is a playlist of songs that Alok & Kareem either mentioned or have performed to, along with videos, photographs and other episode-related goodies!
LaWhore Vagistan ft. Auntie Kool Jams in ‘Sari’
Alok tells us what it’s like to be femme in public.
Alok speaks to “the pain and empowerment of choosing your own gender.”
Alok’s poetry: performing “Funeral.”