Alok Vaid-Menon is one half of the trans South Asian performance duo from New York, DarkMatter. Vaid-Menon was gender-assigned male at birth, identifies as transfeminine (that is, identifies with femininity to a greater extent than with masculinity) and prefers the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘their’.
With Assisted Reproductive Technologies, science has managed to use technology to prise apart previous associations between reproduction and sex. With gender, class and queer theory, the social sciences have prised apart previous associations between gender and sex. We have found that knowledge through science, like knowledge of sexuality, can’t be pinned down to absolutes. “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” said Aristotle. While science may value the systematic and objective, it cannot escape the baffling convolutions of lived experience. How does life influence knowledge, and knowledge influence life?
A short documentary on India's menstruation man, Arunachalam Muruganantham, who wore an artificial uterus, was left by his wife for five years, and was called a pervert by the neighbours – all in his pursuit to create cheap yet effective sanitary napkins for women who cannot afford safe menstrual hygiene products.
Sexuality can be said to influence and be influenced by every aspect of our lives. Talking about sexuality, however, is widely tabooed, especially at the workplace. Anything that evinces sexuality is at once mired in controversy – from clothing choices (of women, especially) to sexual harassment cases, from gender role-challenging career choices to sex work. Why is anything to do with sexuality seen as taking away the gravitas of work?