Alok Vaid-Menon is a poet, writer and performance artist, who identifies as a non-binary transfeminine person and uses the pronouns “they/them.” Born and raised in Texas, Vaid-Menon rose to public prominence as part of Dark Matter, a duo ofnon-binary trans South Asian performance artists. Vaid-Menon is currently touring across India, conducting performances, talks and workshops that address social-justice issues.
On 25 January 2017, Skye Arundhati Thomas, a writer and critic, met Vaid-Menon before a performance at the Talera Institute of Fine and Applied Arts, in Pune. The two spoke about the legal recognition of the third gender in India, and the perils of seeing people within binaries, such as either cis or trans, or gay or straight. Vaid-Menon also spoke about opposing gender as a concept, as well as the value of kinship to those who don’t conform to a particular gender or sexuality.
Skye Arundhati Thomas: How has your trip through India been so far?