Karen Liao Photo: Billie Feng
The Chinese version of Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us (性别是条毛毛虫) has just been released this month in Beijing.
The original author of the book Kate Bornstein is an avant-garde writer in the field of gender, a performance artist, a screenwriter and a public speaker. She has received numerous awards in the field of women and gender studies, including the Lambda Literary and Publishing Triangle Awards (2011). In the past few decades, Bornstein has been actively involved in the American transgender movement through writing, performing, and public speaking, and is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in the American LGBTQ community as well as the general public.
Bornstein transitioned from male to female, yet she does not identify herself with the gender binary of
|Kate Bornstein Photo: danlan.org|
male and female. She demonstrates the diversity and fluidity of gender through her existence. “The duality or gender identity as man or woman robs us of the joy of simply being what we like to be,” she said.
The Chinese translator Karen Liao (廖爱晚) is a freelancer and scholar of gender studies. She received her master’s degree in anthropology (gender studies cohort) from Xiamen University (厦门大学). She has been working as a volunteer at Common Language (同语, a LGBT advocacy group), focusing on gender diversity translation for more than six years, fueled by a long-time passion in gender diversity studies.
Liao is a gender queer herself. She came across the book in the library of the National Taiwan University when she was conducting a fieldwork on the transgender community there for her master’s degree. “I was intrigued by the book as soon as I finished the first few pages of it. I thought I needed to choose to be a man or a woman, but I came to understand I wouldn’t bother to do this after reading the book. That’s why I wanted to translate the book and publish it on the Chinese mainland,” she said.