Alok Vaid-Menon

Alok Vaid-Menon (born July 1, 1991), is an American performance artist, poet, and LGBTQ rights activist based in New York, New York, who performs under the name ALOK. Vaid-Menon identifies as gender non-conforming and transfeminine and uses singular they pronouns.[1][2]

Alok Vaid-Menon
BornJuly 1, 1991
ResidenceNew York City
Alma materStanford University
Occupationperformance artist, activist, poet
Known forLGBTQ rights advocacy
Home townCollege Station, Texas

Early Life and Education

Vaid-Menon is from an Indian American family and grew up in College Station, Texas.[3] They went to Stanford University.[2] Their parents were born in Thrissur, Kerala.[4]


Vaid-Menon's work attempts to normalize discussions of shame, trauma and violence against trans and gender non-conforming people of color.[5] They have been featured on HBO, MTV, The Guardian, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The New Yorker and have presented their work at 400 venues in more than 40 countries.[6]

Dark Matter

From 2013-2016, they co-created Dark Matter, a trans South Asian performance art duo, with Janani Balasubramanian.[7][8][9]

Fashion Line

"There are no clothes for people like me, so I made my own," said Vaid-Menon in a article.[10] They have designed three gender-neutral fashion collections. They released their third fashion collection in India, which emphasized colorful, printed clothing, and asserted that skirts and dresses are gender-neutral.[11][12][13]

Poetry and Performance

Vaid-Menon is known for incorporating ideas of trans-activism and identity into their poetry performances.[14] They were featured in the 2016 documentary The Trans List. In 2017, Vaid-Menon released their inaugural book of poetry, FEMME IN PUBLIC, investigating queerness and transfemininity.[15][16] In early 2019, Vaid-Menon completed an artist in residence program at The Invisible Dog Art Center, where they performed a piece entitled "Strangers are Potential Friends."[17]


Vaid-Menon walked in the opening ceremony for New York Fashion Week in September, 2018, and modeled for Chella Man's Opening Ceremony Fashion Week 2019.

TV Appearances

In 2018, Vaid-Menon appeared as themselves on in the second season of HBO's Random Acts of Flyness.[18][19] Also in 2018, LogoTV selected them as part of the Logo 30.[20] NBC selected Vaid-Menon as part of its Pride 50 in 2019, alongside James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Bayard Rustin.[21]


  • Beyond the Gender Binary (2019)[22]
  • Femme in Public (2017)


  1. Vaid-Menon, Alok (13 October 2015). "Greater transgender visibility hasn't helped nonbinary people – like me - Alok Vaid-Menon". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  2. Abeni, Cleis (11 March 2016). "These Trans Performance Artists Are Here to Say 'It Gets Bitter'". The Advocate. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  3. "The Pain & Empowerment of Choosing Your Own Gender: Alok Vaid-Menon". StyleLikeU. 22 June 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2017 via YouTube.
  4. Thomas, Skye Arundhati. ""I Understand the Project of Trans-Feminism To Be About the Liberation of All Genders": An Interview With the Poet and Performance Artist Alok Vaid-Menon". The Caravan. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  5. Arora, Priya (2018-06-20). "Poet Alok Vaid-Menon: 'I Am Part Of Something Greater Than Myself'". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  6. Johnson, R. J. "Alok in AK: Performance artist, poet, writer and educator comes to Alaska". The Anchorage Press. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  7. Nichols, JamesMichael (29 March 2015). "ASSEMBLAGE: Meet Queer Performance Artists Dark Matter". Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  8. "New year, new beginnings". Archived from the original on 28 October 2017. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  9. Lamphier, Jason (17 May 2016). "Artists of DarkMatter: 'Let's Challenge the Standards of Trans Visibility'". Out. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  10. Nast, Condé. "There Are No Clothes for Nonbinary Femmes Like Me, So I Made My Own". them. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  11. "ALOK: 'Beauty Is About Looking Like Yourself'". PAPER. 2019-03-01. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  12. "Juxtapoz Magazine - Alok Vaid-Menon Releases Inaugural Gender-Neutral Fashion Collection". Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  13. "Artist Alok Vaid-Menon's Fashion Line Challenges Industry Gatekeepers". 2019-05-22. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  14. "Looking Beyond The Gender Binaries With Queer Performance Artist Alok Vaid-Menon". Verve Magazine. 2018-10-23. Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  15. "Femme in Public Poetry Chapbook (Physical Copy)". Alok Vaid-Menon. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  16. Moran, Justin (13 March 2017). "Daily Crush: Alok Vaid-Menon's 'Femme in Public' Poetry Book". Out. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  17. "Alok Vaid-Menon wants you to embrace vulnerability this Valentine's day". Document Journal. 2019-02-14. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  18. Herman, Alison (2018-08-20). "Terence Nance Is Indescribable". The Ringer. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  19. Random Acts of Flyness (TV Series 2018– ) - IMDb, retrieved 2019-08-23
  20. "Alok Vaid-Menon: The Disrupter - Logo30 (Video Clip) | LOGOtv". Logo TV. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  21. "NBC Out presents Pride50: LGBTQ people who are making the community proud". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  22. VAID-MENON, Alok (2019). Beyond the Gender Binary. New York: Penguin Workshop. ISBN 9780593094655.
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