"Home is a body where you get to be you, no strings attached," write Max Binder and Mo Crist, two transgender spoken word poets. The transgender community faces discrimination and judgment for not identifying with their assigned gender at birth. Reading is a great way to learn about this history of oppression and how trans activists have fought for justice. However, trans literature also encompasses joy, love, exploration, and creativity.
There are many books available to help readers understand the trans community and other books written for transgender people themselves. Begin with our top pick, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves by Laura Erickson-Schroth, which talks about the diverse spectrum of being transgender. Every chapter is written by different transgender or genderqueer author, giving a broad perspective and guide on transgender issues. Check out our other top choices and make sure to read our buying guide so you know how to choose your next great read!
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Table of Contents
There are many transgender books out there. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you search for the right book, from the different kinds of literature available to the various topics that these books handle!
The transgender books available offer different perspectives and they tackle various aspects of being trans. From medical advice, to self-help, to parenting, they have a wide range of topics. Think about which aspect you want to learn about to help you choose!
From the early stages of coming to terms with one’s gender identity to transforming into the person they truly are, these books hold the reader’s hand as they go on their journey of self-discovery.
This helps young readers especially if they feel alone and misunderstood at a young age. These books are also a great read for cisgender people if they would like to understand someone in their life who is transgender.
Self-help books for transgender people who are struggling to come out prepare you for how to come out and how to deal with the aftermath, whether it goes well or not. These books can give heartfelt messages that there is nothing wrong with being true to who you really are.
These books can also help guide you through new experiences, like legal name changes or coming out at work or school. Some also explain the idea of trans rights and liberation, explaining the social and political aspects of being trans.
These books are written by doctors who give advice regarding the process of gender-affirming surgery. They answer questions regarding the surgery, medication, and the process of undergoing and recovering from the procedure.
These are technical books that will help those who will be undergoing major surgery or are recovering from one. These are also useful for the friends and family of trans people who would want to support them.
Some books are written for parents who have children who are trans. These books are parenting guides to help parents understand what their transgender child is feeling and how to help. They give general advice and how to broach topics about gender identity and sexual preference.
Other books are written by a transgender parent for other transgender parents. Being a parent by itself is challenging, but being a transgender parent has extra challenges. There are books written by transgender parents that talk about their experiences raising kids in a society with gender expectations.
These books talk about how gender can play a huge factor in parenting. They open the eyes of parents and send out messages about love, justice, acceptance, and patience.
There are many kinds of transgender books out there, from history books and memoirs to collections of short stories and poetry. These books have a lot to offer in terms of the story and personal experiences of transgender people.
Transgender history spans many cultures, races, and perspectives. These books cover the monumental moments of trans history, from the rise of awareness in post-WWII years, civil rights movements, trans radicalism, and identity politics from the 1970s to the 1990s.
These books are for readers who would like to learn about the transgender community’s struggles and their triumphs.
Reading memoirs gives you a personal encounter with the trans community. These stores can resonate with all types of readers as the authors explore themes like identity, transition, and coming-of-age. Of course, there's more to trans people than just their trans identity! These books also talk about everything from heartbreak to funny stories about work.
A frequent point of discussion as well is gender roles in society and how society’s gender expectations cause discrimination to non-conformists. Overall, these kinds of books help bring awareness of the transgender community.
These give you access to different authors as each story is written by someone new. This offers more perspectives and various life experiences which will open up readers to different stories from all walks of life. After all, there isn't just one trans perspective. These are for readers who want something short and which can be read in one sitting.
Unlike short story compilations, essays are more focused on certain topics and discussions. These include authors’ take on certain societal issues or personal issues. These are for readers who like to question and learn from other people’s thoughts and perspectives.
Lines from this type of literature are usually heartfelt and moving. Some examples you may find are lines such as this: "To be gendered is to answer every question before it is asked," found in spoken word poetry from the poem Real Boy/Real Girl by Max Binder and Mo Crist.
Poems can tackle things like gender identity, celebrating being trans, the struggle with societal standards, or exploring gender. These are for readers who have an affinity for poetry and who want to see what lies in the depths of the hearts of the authors.
It is amazing to see the rise of transgender protagonists taking the stage in genres like fantasy, sci-fi, and YA books.
An example of this is Dreadnought by April Daniels, which is a story about a transgender superhero named Danny who, after inheriting superpowers, finally has the body she knows she should have had in the first place. It shows the complications of finding one’s identity and the process of transitioning.
Other books feature transgender characters without their gender identity as the main focus of the plot. An example of this is The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang, which has a unique take on gender as part of the fantasy world’s culture. These are for readers who like a good story and enjoy reading novels.
For a variety of book recommendations, visit goodreads.com. This is a website that consists of a community of authors and readers. They provide categories that help make it easier to find the kind of book you are interested in. The comments and feedback of readers and authors alike can help you get a clearer grasp of the book of your choice.
Another website to visit is lgbtqreads.com. This website is focused on giving LGBTQ+ book recommendations. It provides curated lists that give readers an easier time finding what they are looking for specifically. They also have a specific section that recommends memoirs.
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Trans Bodies, Trans Selves
A Comprehensive Read on the Diverse Spectrum of Being Transgender
A Chronological Look Through Transgender History
Nicholas M. Teich
A Readable Guide to Transgenderism
An Eye-Opening Manifesto on Sexism
An Inspiring Memoir on Identity
Stephanie Brill, Rachel Pepper
The Transgender Child
A Guidebook for Parents of Transgender Children
Jennifer Finney Boylan and Anna Quindlen
Stuck in the Middle With You
A Memoir on Transgender Parenting
If I Was Your Girl
An Award Winning Coming-of Age Transgender Novel
Trace Peterson and TC Tolbert
Troubling the Lines
A Collection of Transgender and Genderqueer Poetry
Fairest: A Memoir
A Memoir About Crossing Boundaries
Written by transgender and genderqueer authors, this book is a great look at the diverse trans community. It contains insights from experts and tackles a range of issues like religion, race, culture, mental health, sexuality, and gender-affirming medical treatment.
Readers loved the well-rounded subject matter of the book as this is accessible for all types of people, whether they are in the trans community or not. They also loved the wide range of advice that the book has to offer and say it touches almost every facet of the transgender community.
Being filled with a lot of information, some readers found it hard to search for a specific topic about the transgender community with this book. Readers have stated that it lacks organization, but agreed that it is still a great book for learning about the experience of being transgender.
This book tackles transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. It discusses monumental moments such as trans movements, events, and important writings of influential transgender figures. It includes discussions on how transgender issues and people are being treated in today's media and pop culture.
Readers loved the well-compiled information of the book which includes the stories of several transgender heros who inspired great change. Reviewers appreciated the attention given to each historical account and the perspective of the author which added more depth.
Some readers pointed out that they wanted to hear more about the contributions of other transgender people like non-binary individuals and trans men. They felt that the book focused mainly on trans women. But readers generally agreed that it is a great starting point to learn about transgender history.
Written by a social worker and a member of the transgender community, this book offers insight into psychological, physical, and social issues. It tackles the process of coming out and its effect on the transgender person and their friends and family. It also explores the different types of trans identities.
Readers loved the book's readability and the way it was written for readers to easily grasp concepts. They also loved that their own questions about the transgender community were cleared up and answered by the book.
Some readers found this book to be too basic. They felt that the book lacked substance. It's better viewed as a beginner's guide to all things transgender and is a perfect starting point for people who are new to the subject.
This book is a manifesto on the misconceptions of transsexuality. It discusses the author's experiences with her transformation and the challenges she had to face before, during, and after her transition. It talks about how feminists and transgender activists have to work together to achieve a common goal.
Some readers found that the book became a little technical and used a lot of jargon that they found boring and difficult to get through.
But other readers loved the thought-provoking topics that were tackled in this book. They liked how historical, sociological, and psychological aspects were taken into account to expound on transgender issues.
After coming out in 2011 in Marie Claire, Janet Mock has since become a well-known activist, writer, and director. Here, she recounts her journey of transformation. Drawing from personal experience, she recalls the challenges she faced growing up as a multicultural transgender child living in America.
Readers appreciated the memoir's unflinching honesty when discussing sensitive transgender issues and the role of gender in society. Readers found the memoir to be inspiring and filled with great insights that anyone can learn from.
This book is for the families of transgender people. It specifically targets questions on the upbringing of trans kids and answers questions on how to help guide them as they grow up. It also discusses the issues surrounding gender identity to help parents understand this more.
Readers were able to find valuable advice and appreciated the well-thought-out discussions. Reviewers found it very comprehensive and were generally satisfied with the way it handled sensitive subjects.
It helped parents understand their transgender children more and they found it a great companion in journeying with their children as they discover themselves.
This memoir tackles gender and transgender parenting. The author has been both a mother and father for years and has experienced parenting from both perspectives. She talks about how gender plays a part in parenting and offers advice on what it means to be a parent.
Some who had read the author's first book said this didn't offer new stories, details or insights. The main difference, they say, is this includes interviews with other parents and examines the connection between parent and child and how each family is unique in its own circumstances.
Readers found this book to be well-written and full of heart. They say it's hard to put down, funny, and eye-opening.
This critically-acclaimed young adult novel centers on the themes of self-identity and coming of age. The protagonist, Amanda, falls for Grant in her school but fears that he won't accept her if he finds out she used to be called Andrew.
There are some readers who felt the book was unrealistic and a bit like a fairy tale. Overall, reviewers commended this book for giving representation to transgender teens.
Readers said they resonated with the main character and her struggles to fit in. They found the story to be beautiful, compassionate, and heartwarming.
This is a collection of poems from more than 50 transgender writers. It includes a short message from each writer talking about the inspiration and the story behind the poem they wrote.
Readers felt inspired by the poems of the book. They loved that each author was given enough pages for their work to shine through. The messages from the authors also added depth to their poetry and gave context to their work.
A lot of readers loved the poetry collection as they got to empathize and understand the personal thoughts of the authors. They found it engaging and worth reading because of its messages about identity, gender, and the many facets of being trans.
This is a memoir is a story of a Filipino boy with albinism who had to cope being an immigrant in America while growing up transgender. This book tackles several issues such as disability, race, and gender identity and the struggles that come with it.
Some readers say the writer seemed obsessed with beauty and a bit shallow. However, others loved the riveting story of the author's background. They appreciated the coherent way the author talked about their trials. Reviewers stated that this book brought a powerful story because of this.
Whether you're reading this as a cisgender or a transgender reader, you might be wondering what some of these terms mean. Maybe you just want a headstart before diving into some valuable transgender literature.
Whatever the case, you can benefit from knowing some basic transgender terminology explained in an easy-to-understand way in the video above!
There is a ton of LGBTQ+ literature available! No matter what genre you're looking for, we can help you find a worthwhile read. Check out these other articles.
No. 1: Laura Erickson-Schroth | Trans Bodies, Trans Selves
No. 2: Susan Stryker | Transgender History
No. 3: Nicholas M. Teich | Transgender 101
No. 4: Julia Serano | Whipping Girl
No. 5: Janet Mock | Redefining Realness
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