Reimagining Gender for the 21st Century | Vivek Shraya

Vivek Shraya is an acclaimed artist, educator, and inclusion speaker, whose body of work blends music, poetry, fiction, visual art, and film. She is the founder of the publishing imprint, VS. Books, and teaches creative writing at the University of Calgary. A multi-disciplined creator, Vivek explores ideas of gender identity in her deeply personal and vulnerable new non-fiction work, I’m Afraid of Men

The title of her newest book and interactive keynote presentation, based off a song of the same name, speaks to the cycle of fear Vivek has navigated her whole life:

“I’m Afraid of Men… Men Are Afraid of Me.” 

Throughout this book and keynote presentation, Vivek discusses deep and troubling issues around toxic masculinity and misogyny, touching on the harmful effects it has had on all the relationships in her life. Even on the one with herself. She explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and how it continues to haunt her as a girl – as a man, Vivek was too feminine, and as a woman, Vivek experiences incidents of harassment and violence from people whom she says are scared or confused by her appearance. 

Vivek lays out her trauma as a queer trans woman of color for the reader to work through with sincerity and vulnerability. But she doesn’t stop there. Knowing that she has always been different from most people around her, she offers real hope for the future by asking questions about how we might reimagine gender for the twenty-first century.



Challenging Fear

Vivek opened her book launch at the Art Gallery of Ontario with a song and performance of excerpts from her book. The audience hung on her every word. She was joined by Canada’s Queen of RnB, Jully Black, to discuss her career, inspiration, and the re-crafting of her own narrative.

Advocating for diversity and acceptance, she shared an introspective experience, whereby seeing someone in a tutu at the grocery store resulted in an immediate reaction of fear on her part. Rather than responding immediately or lashing out, she challenged her fear at that moment. This is the message she shares with audiences, advocating for more people to do the same.

“I actually think fear and discomfort are fine responses; I think it’s how we manage our fears and discomfort—that’s what I’m trying to target.” 



A Brand New Keynote Presentation

In her new multimedia presentation, Vivek performs excerpts from her new release, I’m Afraid of Men, and discuss the powerful overarching themes of the book and the experiences around its creation. A sincere and passionate speaker, Vivek takes audiences through her fear and upheaval as she transitioned into the woman she is today. Learn more on her speaker profile.

Vivek  In the Media

Vivek joins Matt Galloway on CBC’s Metro Morning:


In-conversation with fellow speaker Jesse Wente for Now Toronto:


Read A Sample of Vivek’s New Bestselling Book Here:

If you need a passionate speaker to help guide your organization towards a more inclusive environment – Vivek Shraya will inspire deep reflection towards positive action at your next event.