‘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.’
That is an excerpt from Travis Alabanza’s story of survival as a black, transgender non-conforming person. Travis is non-binary – a person who doesn’t identify as a man or woman.
Travis’ talk ‘Who is allowed to be a victim’ is available to watch on TEDx Talks’s YouTube channel.
The main gripe Travis has is not the violence that is directed at trans people but the silence that the public shows subsequently. Travis has an issue with the silence of people who stand by and allow or give permission for discrimination to happen.
‘We are victim-blamed for the violence we experience. We are seen as deserving of the violence. There is a difference to how the violence we receive is perceived’, Travis says.
A London-based performance artist, Travis is also a ‘writer and general sh*t talker that uses poetry, words, soundscapes’, he cites. Travis uses performance ‘to scream about their survival as a black, transgender non-conforming person in the UK’.
In the last three years Travis has cemented themselves as one of the most prominent emerging queer voices in the arts and further afield.
From 2016 to 2017, Travis became artist in residence at Tate, performing in venues such as the V&A, RVT and Hamburg International Feminist Festival.
Travis’ new show ‘BURGERZ’ completely sold out in its opening run. The talented artist also stars in Scottee’s acclaimed roundhouse production ‘Putting words in Your Mouth’. This production was also celebrated for completing a successful US college tour.
Travis also released a successful debut book ‘Before I step Outside [You love me]’. Their work has been noted by Dazed, ID, MOBO, Apple and Snakes, Black Girl Dangerous and The Independent.