3 Ways Alok Helped Me Be a Better Enby

Updated: 3 days ago




As an out and proud enby and a workplace pride ERG leader, I often find myself trying to educate those around me about gender identify (Not sure what enby means? Enby is basically shorthand for non-binary but if you want more context, check out this Healthline article.). Since someone introduced me to the amazing Alok a few months ago, I’m pretty sure I’m the one being served some delicious enby wisdom. Alok is an internationally known non-binary author, public speaker, performer and fashion icon and here are 3 ways they helped me better love my enby self!

 
“I really resonate with what you’re saying because the focus has been on comprehension, not compassion. So people will say, I don’t understand. Why do you need to understand me in order to say that I shouldn’t be experiencing violence?” - Alok Vaid-Menon
 

During their appearance on the ALOK: The Urgent Need for Compassion episode of The Man Enough Podcast, Alok said, “I really resonate with what you’re saying because the focus has been on comprehension, not compassion. So people will say, I don’t understand. Why do you need to understand me in order to say that I shouldn’t be experiencing violence?


This statement hit me like a ton of bricks. Compassion, not comprehension is such a simple but powerful concept and this was my first introduction to it. I've spent too many hours trying to help folks understand my gender identity and pronouns in order to feel accepted. In reality, no one needs to understand me on that level in order to treat me like a human being. I have value beyond anyone's understanding or acceptance of my identity.

 
"Don't show up for me because you want to protect me, or you want to help me. I don't need your help. I have an unshakable and irrevocable sense of who I am, because I am divine."
 

As a queer person who grew up in a strict Christian household, I spent a long time pretending and hiding. Growing up, I loved the idea of being part of and belonging to all powerful divine being who loved me no matter what. In elementary, when I had my first girl crush, that concept started to backfire on me. I heard a message about an all loving God but was being taught hatred of others (and myself) at Sunday service. In my head, this automatically put me outside of divinity and unworthy of that "unconditional" love.


In the same Man Enough Podcast, Alok declared, "Don't show up for me because you want to protect me, or you want to help me. I don't need your help. I have an unshakable and irrevocable sense of who I am, because I am divine.". That statement literally brought me to tears. It's been a while since I have felt unworthy but fast forward 40 years from that first crush, and I still forget that I am divine. I don't have to fit into any religious norms, I just needed a gentle reminder of my inherent divinity. While I'm not there yet, I want to be the person who can say that they have an unshakable and irrevocable sense of who they are.

 
“Beauty is about looking like yourself, even in the face of social and cultural repression. Accessing this beauty can feel impossible in a system that rewards conformity over creativity. But, in my experience, a commitment to honest self-actualization yields unparalleled peace and conviction.” - Alok Vaid-Menon
 

If you check out this CNN article, Alok Vaid-Menon: 'It's time for a new beauty paradigm', you'll see a glimpse of everything I love about this amazing human! The whole article is impactful but what really resonated with me was, “Beauty is about looking like yourself, even in the face of social and cultural repression. Accessing this beauty can feel impossible in a system that rewards conformity over creativity. But, in my experience, a commitment to honest self-actualization yields unparalleled peace and conviction.


While I'm not one to sport colorful lipstick or fabulous jewelry, I love that Alok owns their beauty. Since I hid parts of myself for so long, I definitely wore things I hated and tried to conform to society-at-large's definition of beauty. Even as an out queer enby, I still have a tendency to curb my visual appearance to meet more normal standards. This article really brought my own conformity into question. I didn't throw out all my clothes overnight, but the sentiment lives with me now.


If you want to learn more about Alok and their journey, check out their book Beyond the Gender Binary. Have you discovered someone who has changed your perspective? Tell us about it in the comments!





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