Non-binary finery: can genderless fashion move beyond a label? | The Guardian

‘Genderless’ has become a buzzword in fashion, but what does it actually mean, besides brands being able to double their market for every item?

For The Guardian, I talked to trans and nonbinary designers and retailers about genderless branding, pinkwashing and what labels could do instead of whacking a rainbow on it.

‘I don’t think we should take the gender out of fashion’, says Rae Hill, designer at Origami Customs. ‘Instead of “genderless”, there needs to be more of a fluidity of gender. The gender of a piece of clothing is whatever gender you feel when you wear it, and not that you have to fit into the gender of that piece.’

Photo: Origami Customs.

Nonbinary airline passengers | The New York Times

A little while ago I spoke to New York Times contributor Brian Ng about airlines failing nonbinary passengers in their booking systems while pursuing the pink dollar. Read or listen to the story below.

Brian Ng investigates the sluggishness of airlines in adopting options for nonbinary travellers in the gender and title fields of their booking engines, despite legal recognition in many countries. New York Times, 22 June 2022.

Big thanks to Brian for pursuing this story, and shoutout also to photographer Asanka Brendon Ratnayake – I am so awkward in front of a camera but he really put me at ease and we had a nice chat about NYT Australia and journalism in Asia, Australia and the US.

3/4 view of an Asian person with short black hair and wire glasses, wearing a dark denim shirt, standing with arms crossed against a black sculpture
Jinghua Qian by Asanka Brendon Ratnayake.

Workshop series: The Drop-In

Solicited advice for trans & gender diverse folks starting out in the creative industries.

Illustration of a cluttered bedroom with text (as below) on an easel.
Poster art: Dawn Iris Dangkomen.

All through May 2022, I’m running five online workshops for trans/nonbinary/gender diverse folks on starting out in the creative industries, featuring an all-star line up:

  • Sun 8 May – dance – Raina Peterson (they/them) – book
  • Tue 10 May – writing/editing – Maddee Clark (he/him) – book
  • Tue 17 May – media – Jinghua Qian (ey/em) – book
  • Tue 24 May – music – June Jones (she/her) – book
  • Tue 31 May – comedy – Cassie Workman (she/her) – book

They’re all free, you can join from anywhere in the world, and you can come to as few or as many as you like. More info at the booking links above. Can’t wait!

Interview #192: Sab D’Souza | Liminal

But essentially space is also land. I think that’s where I contest this differentiation between ‘IRL and URL’ digital and physical space. They aren’t separate. There’s no third space that we occupy online. Our government dictates how we access digital spaces and connections, and infrastructures are imbued by the people who made them.

Sab D’Souza


I loved talking to artist Sab D’Souza about feelings and the internet for the Liminal Magazine x Hyphenated Biennial series. Read it here.

Sab_3.jpg
Illustration by Lily Nie.

As Beautiful As Any Other | The Saturday Paper

I reviewed Kaya Wilson’s memoir, As Beautiful As Any Other for The Saturday Paper. Really appreciated having the space to think deeply about this book and the transition memoir as a growing genre.

‘Trans people are under immense pressure to present a coherent and palatable origin story that helps cis people make sense of us – even when we are not seeking medical treatment, we are treated by laypeople as if presenting to them for diagnosis. We are supposed to be intelligent, untroubled, sympathetic and reassuring.’

The Saturday Paper book review graphic showing the cover of Kaya Wilson's As Beautiful As Any Other

Walking away, backwards | Feminist Writers Festival

Edit: Sadly Feminist Writers Festival has shut down. Here’s an archive of my article.


As an AFAB nonbinary person, many feminist and women’s spaces welcome me – but often that welcome is itself a form of trans erasure, an insistence on seeing us as the genders we were assigned. I wrote about my uncomfortable relationship with feminist literary spaces for Feminist Writers Festival.

Image with Feminist Writers Festival logo and pullquote 'I know the hospitality I receive is frequently also a form of trans erasure - an insistence on seeing us as the genders we were assigned. - Jinghua Qian'

‘I’m pretty accustomed to not feeling at home anywhere – this is often a good thing, a productive tension. The can of worms fertilises the soil. But whether it’s Feminist Writers Festival, Facebook writers’ groups, or other feminist literary initiatives like the Stella Prize, I think it’s important to remember that you can’t simply tweak the category of woman to accommodate nonbinary people. Nonbinary disturbs the foundations of binary gender because it’s supposed to. It’s intentionally an interruption, a question as well as an identity.’