Who is allowed to be a victim? Performing artist and poet Travis Alabanza’s speech on Trans identity and the silent violence in public spaces.

TEDx Talks. (2017). Who is allowed to be a victim? | Travis Alabanza | TEDxBrum. [Online Video]Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=_wAwcTTOq4k  [Accessed 20 November 2017].

Travis Alabanza is one of the first performers ever seen in Bristol: Alabanza was performing at Bar Whatever‘s takeover (a successful experiment of bringing queer cabaret in theaters and public spaces) at the Wardobe theater in the Old Market area in Bristol.

I would like to share this post on Transgender Day of Remembrance as a reminder that everyone must acknowledge that an increasingly high percentage of trans people still experience episodes of violence, harassment and ignorance, mainly in public spaces like public transports and shops.

Alabanza, T., @travisalabanza (2017) ‘Who made you in charge of deciding who is woman enough to use ur changing room? U just lost an easy sale and money‘. 5 November 2017, 3.42 p.m.

For instance, Travis’s experience of transphobia in a Manchester’s Topshop store encourages me to learn more about the necessity for queer and trans people to have gender-neutral toilets / changing rooms in order to avoid being targeted and harassed: what if we start using gender neutral toilets in all museum / art spaces as a default rule?

In a vibrant and emotional talk , Alabanza asserts ‘I’m here to talk about the violence in silence; I don’t want to call it by-standing, that sounds passive. I want to talk about the active choice in silence’. (Ted Talk, 2017)

Drawing from the common experience of going out, Alabanza’s aim is to raise awareness on the fear trans / queer people might feel on a daily basis while commuting on public transports and to challenge the passive attitude of people ignoring the transphobic attackers.

Although people have different gender identities, the fear of being hurt is a feeling that everyone might have experienced at least once in our lives and we might believe that we all are invited to move beyond outdated and dangerous hetenormative ways of thinking.

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  1. This was such a touching piece and has left me with something to think about. I hope this knowledge will make me a better poet and artivist…


  2. I live in a society where transgender is not accepted by all. It takes an active change to ensure all people are important and their opinions valued and accepted. Thank you for this eye-opening piece.


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