Defying gender binaries with Alok Vaid-Menon — a gender non-conforming writer, performer, & fashion icon
Alok feels that the concepts of masculinity and femininity shouldn’t have relevance in this day and age. “We need to be much more colorful, expansive, and precise about what we mean rather than defaulting into ideological catchalls that do more harm than good,” he tells me.
Being that Alok is a person of color, I wonder if they feel that ethnicity/race ties into the equation in a meaningful way. Their reply is so profound that I’m still sort of reeling from it…
I have a four-year-old son, and his father is very “that’s for boys and this is for girls,” and “you can’t wear/do/play with that because you’re a BOY.”
My hope is that this beautiful community of families can help me by suggesting books, movies, or other resources that might help us get the point across to our son. I have looked high and low and I’ve nabbed the materials that I feel express my feelings, but I want as many tools as I can to help my son understand that he can wear, do, or play with anything he wants.
Newsflash: uteri bleed. This statement seems so innocuous, but even discussing menstruation is often considered taboo in many societies, including, to some degree, ours. It’s time to evolve the way we think and speak about menstruation in an effort to become more period-positive.
Here are five easy ways to become more #PeriodPositive…
Given my strange gender identity, this means that my outside rarely feels like it’s reflecting myself. It can be frustrating. And depressing. This means I had to develop a few coping mechanisms just to be able to get out the door every day.
So here are my tips for getting dressed when your gender is ambiguous…
I should probably start by identifying my gender, but that is… complicated. I am a female, physically. What I identify as is where it gets blurry.
As a teenager, in the early nineties, I had no internet to help me figure it out. And, as a broke young adult in the new millenia, I still didn’t have the amazing resources and web connection of, “Hey, my specific gender identity has a name and I’m not alone!”
When you hear the word “feminist,” you likely don’t picture is me: a housewife who does all the cooking and housekeeping, who makes dinner from scratch, and a solid effort to look pretty for her husband everyday when he comes home from work. I’m “mom” to my two rescued mutts. I’m a published writer. I’m a wife. And my feminism includes my right to want to be the best wife and partner that I can possibly be to my husband. The keyword there being “partner.”
As a lone female in a skatepark full of men, you stand out. They make comments. They laugh. They criticize. But most upsetting is that harassment and unwanted advances are encouraged when you are a singular women around a large groups of men. This is my story of skate park misogyny. Then let’s talk about your tips or advice for being the only female at the skate park? How do you handle the pressure, the bullying, and the sexism?
When I was in college, there was an amazing “Inappropriate Question Hour” where people agreed to leave their privilege and prejudices at the door in order to educate one another. I haven’t found anything like it since. Does anyone know of any resources or communities where people can participate in the gender and sexuality conversation without fear?