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ALOK

ALOK

Writer, Performer & Consultant

Biography

Whether ALOK is selling out an international performance tour, publishing essays and books advocating for LGBTQ equality, designing a new fashion collection, or speaking at some of the most prestigious universities outlining a 21st century approach to gender rights – their distinctive mix of charisma, poetry, and intellect has made them one of the most dynamic artists of our times. ALOK’s commitment to creative expression, vulnerability, and gender justice has brought them to present at more than 500 gatherings in over 40 countries in the last decade. Read More >

As a mixed-media artist ALOK uses poetry, comedy, lecture, performance, fashion design, and visual art to explore themes of gender, race, trauma, belonging, and the human condition. Their work as a leading figure in the movement for gender fluidity takes them from starring in HBO’s The Trans List (2016) and Random Acts of Flyness (2018), to designing three gender-neutral fashion collections, to modeling for New York Fashion Week and Vogue editorials, and to gracing the stages of venues such as Beautycon, the New York Times Global Assembly, and SXSW to speak about overcoming marginalization and self-acceptance.

ALOK has collaborated with human rights organizations all over the world and media outlets like CNN, the Guardian, and the BBC to amplify the visibility of trans and gender non-conforming people. In 2017 they released their critically-acclaimed poetry collection Femme In Public, a meditation on anti-trans discrimination. 2017 also saw ALOK being selected as the youngest recipient of the Live Works Performance Act Award, granted to ten performance artists across the world. In 2019 ALOK was invited to close the Business of Fashion Voices Conference with a keynote speech calling for the degendering of fashion and beauty industries. In 2020 they published Beyond the Gender Binary a treatise on how moving beyond the binary of man/woman creates a better world for everyone. For their profound work as an artist-advocate ALOK has been recognized as one of 30 national LGBTQ changemakers by NBC, one of 9 Trans Writers You Should Know by Vogue, and as one of Out Magazine’s OUT100.

ALOK is a dynamic and seasoned presenter who excels in tailoring their message to their audience from college students to corporate boardrooms. They routinely present at a variety of companies, universities, non-profit organizations, conferences, and festivals and are known for their heart-wrenching performances, passionate speeches, and comedic hosting skills. Atlanta-based company Mailchimp calls Alok’s talk “required viewing for the world” and Cornell University uplifts Alok’s presentation as “truly life-saving work.” Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Complicated Reality of Being Trans and Indian-American | Perspectives

All the Bright Places: A Conversation About Mental Health | Netflix

Fashion’s Genderless Future | BOFVoices 2019

The Pain & Empowerment of Choosing Your Own Gender | StyleLikeU

On Creating Safe Spaces for Trans & Non-Conforming People | NBC News

Learning to Love Who They Are | NowThis

Speech Topics

Femme in Public

What feminine part of yourself did you have to destroy in order to survive in this world? At what point does femininity become synonymous with apology? Who hurt the people who hurt you? ALOK is trying to figure it out. Join for an evening of poetry, stand-up comedy, drag, and more as they take their audience on an emotional roller coaster all the way from the personal to the political.

Beyond the Gender Binary

In this performance-lecture ALOK presents a 21st century approach to gender rights, calling for an end to the gender binary. The gender binary -- the maintenance of two separate and opposite genders -- is a system of power that exists to create conflict and division. This false choice of boy or girl, man or woman, male or female is not natural -- it is political. We deserve more options. Gender diversity is an integral part of our existence. It always has been, and it always will be. Read More >

Recent contributions of non-binary and gender non-conforming activists and scholars have fundamentally challenged core assumptions of gay, feminist, and trans politics. In this interactive workshop we take an intersectional transfeminist approach to move beyond gender binaries and better understand the root causes of gender-based violence. Read Less ^

Feelings Workshop

How many of us have used theory to make our feelings more legitimate? How many big words have we developed to keep us from saying "I'm scared?" What happens when we recognize that feelings are already valid unto themselves? In this creative arts workshop we work through jealousy, loneliness, hurt, love, longing, and all the parts of ourselves that are often dismissed and devalued. Together we develop strategies for emotional justice.

Writing & Performance Intensive

In this guided creative workshop participants will go from the page to the stage and back again. ALOK will share best tips and strategies for both amateur and advanced performers to maximize their performance potential. This workshop can be tailored for specific-interest or identity groups: LGBTQ people, LGBTQ people of color, etc.

Student Organizing Workshop

How can students be in solidarity with social movements happening off campus? How can students more strategically apply political pressure on campus? How can students doing anti-oppression work ensure sustainability and avoid burnout? Integrating both theory and practice this is a tactical workshop for student organizers.

Classroom Facilitation

As a trained academic ALOK regularly facilitates undergraduate and graduate seminars and lectures in Women's and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Fashion Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Media Studies, Performance Studies, Political Science, and more. Recent courses they have guest-lectured in include: "Gender and Labor in Contemporary Visual Culture," "Community-based Approaches to Performance," "Queer Fashion," and "Gender and Social Media Curation."