‘In my culture, transgender is not just and identity, it is a tactic of survival’.
Widely-known American performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon’s new spoken word poem is a sharp commentary on growing up in families where only men call the shots, and how it affects the understanding of gender for other members.
Titled Trans/Generation, Vaid-Menon’s poem tackles how most people inherit “silence and violence” from the men in their families, and how it fuels gender oppression. Although Vaid-Menon’s grandmother calls them “the biggest disappointment in her life”, they still refuse to call her transphobic, because they feel it stems not from their gender oppression but from hers.
Vaid-Menon’s experience of surviving in their Indian-American family after coming out as gender non-conforming and trans-feminine also finds a mention in the poem.