“Every day I have to ask myself, ‘Am I ready to get harassed today?’” says Alok Vaid-Menon ( @alokvmenon), a gender-nonconforming writer and performance artist based in New York City. “When I’m walking down the street, everyone knows I’m queer. I visibly defy what it means to be a man or a woman.” Raised in a conservative town in Texas, Alok soon realized that a refusal to choose one category to fit into meant being ostracized not only by mainstream society, but also from within the LGBTQ community. “I’ve had so many people tell me, ‘Maybe if you just took hormones or tried to look more like a woman, you wouldn’t experience so much violence,’” says Alok. “But I shouldn’t have to change what I look like to be safe.” Traveling the world as an educator and poet, Alok remains playful and upbeat, indulging in a love for fashion by taking selfies stripped down to sports bras or dolled up in frilly gowns. “I could try to disappear, to dress like a boy or a girl,” says Alok, “but this is about creating a world where when people are different, we say, ‘That’s awesome. Thank you for showing me a different way of living.’” It’s June, and in many countries that means it’s time to celebrate #Pride2017. All month long, we’ll be sharing stories from diverse LGBTQ community members from around the world, like Alok. Watch our Instagram story now to join Alok for a day leading up to a performance. Photo of @alokvmenon by @elif___kucuk

  • 22-Jul-2017 00:54:58 AM
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    22-Jul-2017 16:51:45 PM
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    19-Aug-2017 13:41:04 PM
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