Stylist is running its first ever feminist advent calendar in 2018, with a remarkable woman revealing who her feminist icon is every day until 25 December. Here, Sofie Hagen reveals why Travis Alabanza is her ultimate feminist icon.
Travis Alabanza is a lot of things, but first and foremost, they are black, trans feminine, gender non-conforming performance artist, theatre maker, poet and writer. In other words, they are exactly the voice we need to be listening to at the moment.
Travis isn’t afraid to confront people. Their art explores the abuse they have to survive on a daily basis. They don’t mind making us white people feel uncomfortable with our whiteness and rightfully so. They talk about violence and gender expression. They explore femininity and masculinity and will say, with a teasing smile, “Everyone’s trans”. It’s hard to hear Travis speak without ending up questioning everything you thought was true. About society and about yourself.
I’ll be honest with you, even if Travis wasn’t creating beautiful and poignant art, I would choose them as my feminist icon just purely based on their sense of fashion. I urge you all to go to their Instagram account immediately and follow. Travis has more personality in one Instagram photo than you can extract from the entire country. Seriously, if this was the fashion I saw when I was growing up, I probably would have cared more about it.
And I think that’s the essence of why I have chosen Travis Alabanza as my feminist icon. Because if I had known someone like Travis when I was a teenager, everything would have looked different. Everything would have been brighter. If someone had told young, fat, spotty me that it was okay to stand out, it was okay to be queer - yes, Sofie, you are queer, that’s why you got really upset when that girl from your school got a boyfriend - that society is wrong, that you don’t have to dress according to what gender the rest of the world perceives you to be… If I had heard Travis Alabanza’s sweet, lovely voice say “Everyone’s trans” when I was a confused teenager, I would have felt like there was at least one place where I belonged. And maybe I wouldn’t have worn black for 10 years of my life.
I urge you to get acquainted with Travis Alabanza immediately. Watch their TedxTalk, buy their book Before I Step Outside [You Love Me], go and see their show Burgerz if you can find it. And most importantly, follow them on Instagram to get a daily dose of some incredible outfits.
philosophy are the official partner of Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards 2018 and, for every day in December, Stylist is asking a remarkable woman to tell us who her feminist icon is, and why. You can see more inspiring and remarkable women here.
The first TEDxLondonWomen event, ‘Showing Up’, took place on Saturday 1st December 2018, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s Southbank with Sofie Hagen. To find out more information on TEDxLondon visit: https://tedxlondon.com/
Images: via TEDxLondonWomen
Share this article
Recommended by Sofie Hagen
My Feminist Icon: JoJo Moyes reveals why Monica Lewinsky inspires her the most
My Feminist Icon: Dawn O’Porter reveals why Mary Portas inspires her the most
My Feminist Icon: Angellica Bell reveals why Oprah Winfrey inspires her the most
Munroe Bergdorf: Call yourself an LGBT ally? Here’s what you’re missing
Juno Dawson: It’s time to put an end to transphobic abuse