An Indian bridal magazine has come under fire for “erasing women” after choosing a bearded “transfeminine” model for its digital cover issue.
Brides Today India featured Alok Vaid-Menon — a gender non-conforming author and activist — decked out in traditional Indian women’s wear: heavy makeup, various lehenga and saris and decadent jewelry.
Vaid-Menon uses they/them pronouns and goes by their first name.
Alok told the magazine about spending their entire life as a victim of bullying for choosing to live as their authentic self and embracing a de-gendered style — which they described as a “no guidelines” form of storytelling.
“I wish I could post an image of myself online without being inundated with hate mail. I wish I could be seen as a human being … But I’m not going to wait for that future, I’m going to build it now, here, with the people who are ready for love,” Alok said.
The Texas-born cover model said they were born in a “sexist/casteist culture” that forced them to rethink marriage and sexuality.
Their 2021 Book “Beyond the Gender Binary” — which challenges readers to explore the world outside of gender and sexuality norms — was added to the Texas Republican legislature’s list of banned books last year.
“I hope that we dream beyond tolerance towards meaningful acceptance. I hope that we are able to find beauty and pride in our differences. I hope that we are not just safe, but well, and not just seen, but witnessed. Most of all: I hope that we can be free,” Alok said.
The comments section of Brides Today India’s Instagram post was inundated with users who disagreed with the magazine’s choice to showcase Alok.
“Not okay,” one user wrote.
“You’re erasing women,” wrote another.
Many users harped on Alok’s masculine features, while others accused the magazine of deleting opposing comments in an effort to maintain a positive post.
“The woke pandemic has reached India,” right-wing Twitter account End Wokeness said.
Some critics targeted a since-deleted Facebook post from 2016 in which the Alok allegedly said “Little girls are also queer, trans, kinky, deviant, kind, mean, beautiful, ugly, tremendous, and peculiar. Your kids aren’t as straight and narrow as you think they are” in response to bans on transgender women using female restrooms.
Alok — whose social media channel was filled with gushing and praising comments — did not publicly respond to the growing hate regarding their cover.
Neither Alok nor Brides Today India immediately responded to The Post’s request for comment.
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