Trans 101: Trans-Related Books

Reference guides, memoirs and young adult non-fiction and fiction.

Memoirs

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
by Janet Mock
In this bestselling transgender memoir written by an African American, an extraordinary young woman recounts her coming-of-age. “Undercurrents of strong emotion swirl throughout this well-written book…An enlightening, much-needed perspective on transgender identity” (Kirkus Reviews).

She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders
by Jennifer Finney Boylan
The provocative bestseller She’s Not There is the winning, utterly surprising story of a person changing genders. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. Told in Boylan’s fresh voice, She’s Not There is about a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret. As James evolves into Jennifer in scenes that are by turns tender, startling, and witty, a marvelously human perspective emerges on issues of love, sex, and the fascinating relationship between our physical and intuitive selves. Now with a new epilogue from the author and an afterword from Deirdre “Grace” Boylan, She’s Not There shines a light on the often confounding process of accepting ourselves.

A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology, and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today
by Kate Bornstein
A stunningly original memoir of a nice Jewish boy who joined the Church of Scientology and left twelve years later, ultimately transitioning to a woman. A few years later, she stopped calling herself a woman and became famous as a gender outlaw.

The Last Time I Wore a Dress
by Dylan Scholinski (fka Daphne Scholinski)
At fifteen years old, Daphne Scholinski was committed to a mental institution and awarded the dubious diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder.” She spent three years–and over a million dollars of insurance–“treating” the problem…with makeup lessons and instructions in how to walk like a girl.Daphne’s story–which is, sadly, not that unusual–has already received attention from such shows as “20/20,” “Dateline,” “Today,” and “Leeza.” But her memoir, bound to become a classic, tells the story in a funny, ironic, unforgettable voice that “isn’t all grim; Scholinski tells her story in beautifully evocative prose and mines her experiences for every last drop of ironic humor, determined to have the last laugh.”

Homecomings
by Risa Bear

I Rise: The Transformation of Toni Newman
by Toni Newman

Becoming a Visible Man
by Jamison Green
Brimming with frank and often poignant recollections of Green’s own experiences–including his childhood struggles with identity and his years as a lesbian parent prior to his sex-reassignment surgery–the book examines transsexualism as a human condition, and sex reassignment as one of the choices that some people feel compelled to make in order to manage their gender variance. Relating the FTM psyche and experience to the social and political forces at work in American society, Becoming a Visible Man also speaks consciously of universal principles that concern us all, particularly the need to live one’s life honestly, openly, and passionately.

The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male
by Max Wolf Valerio
Max Wolf Valerio crafts a raw, gripping, and poetic account of life before, during, and after injecting testosterone. Valerio’s detailed observations about a lesbian transitioning from female to a heterosexual male highlights the physical and emotional differences between women and men, and alternately challenges and confirms readers’ assumptions about gender.

Just Add Hormones: An Insider’s Guide to the Transsexual Experience
by Matt Kailey
Matt Kailey lived as a straight woman for the first forty-two years of his life. Though happy as a social worker and teacher, he knew something wasn’t right. Then he made some changes. With the help of a good therapist, chest surgery, and some strong doses of testosterone, Kailey began his journey toward becoming a man.

Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers
by Cris Beam
When Cris Beam moved to Los Angeles, she thought she might volunteer just a few hours at a school for gay and transgender kids. Instead, she found herself drawn deeply into the pained and powerful group of transgirls she discovered. Transparent introduces four: Christina, Dominique, Foxxjazell, and Ariel. As they accept Cris into their world, she shows it to us—a dizzying mix of familiar teenage cliques and crushes and far less familiar challenges, such as how to morph your body on a few dollars a day. Funny, heartbreaking, defiant, and sometimes defeated, the girls form a singular community.

History

Transgender History
by Susan Stryker
Covering American transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today, Transgender History takes a chronological approach to the subject of transgender history, with each chapter covering major movements, writings, and events. Chapters cover the transsexual and transvestite communities in the years following World War II; trans radicalism and social change, which spanned from 1966 with the publication of The Transsexual Phenomenon, and lasted through the early 1970s; the mid-’70s to 1990—the era of identity politics and the changes witnessed in trans circles through these years; and the gender issues witnessed through the ’90s and ’00s.

Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman
by Leslie Feinberg
Feinberg, the author of the novel Stone Butch Blues, here effectively pummels several old saws about gender, such as that there were two or three centuries in ancient Greece that constituted the golden age of gayness (“How happy were the gay slaves?” she asks). She also shows the often frantic and neurotic ways Western society clings to rigid notions of gender, while at the same time she describes how these notions shift radically from age to age.

Transgender Studies Reader
by Susan Stryker
Transgender studies is the latest area of academic inquiry to grow out of the exciting nexus of queer theory, feminist studies, and the history of sexuality. Because transpeople challenge our most fundamental assumptions about the relationship between bodies, desire, and identity, the field is both fascinating and contentious. The Transgender Studies Reader puts between two covers fifty influential texts with new introductions by the editors that, taken together, document the evolution of transgender studies in the English-speaking world. By bringing together the voices and experience of transgender individuals, doctors, psychologists and academically-based theorists, this volume will be a foundational text for the transgender community, transgender studies, and related queer theory.

The First Man-Made Man: The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth-Century Medical Revolution
by Pagan Kennedy
In the 1920s, when Laura Dillon felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body, there were no words to describe her condition; transsexual had yet to enter common usage. And there was no known solution to being stuck between the sexes. In a desperate bid to feel comfortable in her own skin, she experimented with breakthrough technologies that ultimately transformed the human body and revolutionized medicine.

Michael Dillon’s incredible story, from upper-class orphan girl to Buddhist monk, reveals the struggles of early transsexuals and challenges conventional notions of what gender really means.

Stonewall
by Martin Duberman
“As scholars we should read Stonewall, and as teachers we should assign it. All of us will be challenged to build on it.”—Michael Sherry, Northwestern Univ. “Both a fascinating account of the birth of gay liberation and a replay of the turbulent, society-changing 60s.”—San Francisco Chronicle.

Poetry

The Marrow’s Telling: Words in Motion
by Eli Clare (fka Elizabeth Claire)

Photography

Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits
by Loren Cameron
A photographic study of female-to-male (FTMs) transsexuals. Photographed by a transsexual, it brings an insider’s eye to the subject matter. Using documentary style before-and-after photographs of FTM’s in Cameron’s transsexual community, accompanied by self-portraits and autobiographical text, the work invites the reader to experience this transformational rite of passage for themselves. It includes photographs of genital reconstructions, with text by three FTMs who discuss how they feel about their surgery.

Reference

Captured Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex
edited by Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith
Pathologized, terrorized, and confined, trans/gender non-conforming and queer folks have always struggled against the enormity of the prison industrial complex. The first collection of its kind, Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith bring together current and former prisoners, activists, and academics to offer new ways for understanding how race, gender, ability, and sexuality are lived under the crushing weight of captivity.

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive
by Julia Serano
While many feminist and queer movements are designed to challenge sexism, they often simultaneously police gender and sexuality—sometimes just as fiercely as the straight, male-centric mainstream does. Among LGBTQ activists, there is a long history of lesbians and gay men dismissing bisexuals, transgender people, and other gender and sexual minorities. In each case, exclusion is based on the premise that certain ways of being gendered or sexual are more legitimate, natural, or righteous than others.

Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation
by Eli Claire (fka Elizabeth Clare)
First published in 1999, the groundbreaking Exile and Pride is essential to the history and future of disability politics. Eli Clare’s revelatory writing about his experiences as a white disabled genderqueer activist/writer established him as one of the leading writers on the intersections of queerness and disability and permanently changed the landscape of disability politics and queer liberation.

From the Inside Out: Radical Gender Transformation, FTM and Beyond
edited by Morty Diamond
Born female yet little identified with that gender, these transgender, genderqueer, third gender, and gender variant writers offer personal insights into changing gender identity, dating, workplace issues, and more. This book shines light on those who identify as FTM (female to male) and also illuminates those whose gender is more fluid, proving that biology doesn’t control destiny.

Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children
by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD
We are only beginning to understand gender. Is it inborn or learned? Can it be chosen—or even changed? Does it have to be one or the other? These questions may seem abstract—but for parents whose children live outside of gender “norms,” they are very real.

Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us
by Kate Bornstein
Part coming-of-age story, part mind-altering manifesto on gender and sexuality, coming directly to you from the life experiences of a transsexual woman, Gender Outlaw breaks all the rules and leaves the reader forever changed.26 black-and-white illustrations.

Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman
In the 15 years since the release of Gender Outlaw, Kate Bornstein’s groundbreaking challenge to gender ideology, transgender narratives have made their way from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Today’s transgenders and other sex/gender radicals are writing a drastically new world into being. In Gender Outlaws, Bornstein, together with writer, raconteur, and theater artist S. Bear Bergman, collects and contextualizes the work of this generation’s trans and genderqueer forward thinkers — new voices from the stage, on the streets, in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the pages and websites of the world’s most respected mainstream news sources. Gender Outlaws includes essays, commentary, comic art, and conversations from a diverse group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives.

Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity
edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (fka Matt Bernstein Sycamore)
Nobody Passes is a collection of essays that confronts and challenges the very notion of belonging. By examining the perilous intersections of identity, categorization, and community, contributors challenge societal mores and countercultural norms. Nobody Passes explores and critiques the various systems of power seen (or not seen) in the act of “passing.” In a pass-fail situation, standards for acceptance may vary, but somebody always gets trampled on. This anthology seeks to eliminate the pressure to pass and thereby unearth the delicious and devastating opportunities for transformation that might create.

Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law
by Dean Spade
Much of the legal advocacy for trans and gender nonconforming people in the US has reflected the civil rights and “equality” strategies of mainstream gay and lesbian organizations—agitating for legal reforms that would ostensibly guarantee equal access, nondiscrimination, and equal protection under the law. This approach assumes that the state and its legal, policing, and social services apparatus—even its policies and documents of belonging and non-belonging—are neutral and benevolent. While we all have to comply with the gender binaries set forth by regulatory bodies of law and administration, many trans people, especially the most marginalized, are even more at risk for poverty, violence, and premature death by virtue of those same “neutral” legal structures.

The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights
by Deborah Rudacille
When Deborah Rudacille learned that a close friend had decided to transition from female to male, she felt compelled to understand why. Coming at the controversial subject of transsexualism from several angles–historical, sociological, psychological, medical–Rudacille discovered that gender variance is anything but new, that changing one’s gender has been met with both acceptance and hostility through the years, and that gender identity, like sexual orientation, appears to be inborn, not learned, though in some people the sex of the body does not match the sex of the brain. Informed not only by meticulous research, but also by the author’s interviews with prominent members of the transgender community, The Riddle of Gender is a sympathetic and wise look at a sexual revolution that calls into question many of our most deeply held assumptions about what it means to be a man, a woman, and a human being.

The Ring of Fire Anthology
by E. T. Russian (aka Hellery Homosex)
The Ring of Fire Anthology is a collection of the zine from the late 1990s by ET Russian (aka Hellery Homosex), and features new material never before published. Ring of Fire is honest, engaging, and ahead of its time. Through black and white ink drawings, comics, linoleum block print portraits, essays, interviews and erotica, this collection explores the intersections of art, bodies, healthcare, ability, gender, race, community, class, healing and the politics of work. Alternately emotional and erotic, funny and political, Ring of Fire tells the author’s personal story, and captures the work and words of various artists and leaders from disability culture and history. A young activist steeped in the cultures of queer and punk, Russian embraced a cultural identity of disability while writing Ring of Fire. Years later, Russian examines what it means to work in healthcare in the United States.

Sex Changes: Transgender Politics
by Patrick Califia (fka Pat Califia)
Patrick Califia’s meticulously researched history of transsexuality combines well thought-out chronology with Califia’s hallmark candor and insight. Writing about both male-to-female and female-to-male transsexuals, Califia examines the lives of transgender pioneers like Christine Jorgensen, Jan Morris, Renée Richards, and Mark Rees; partners of transgendered people like Minnie Bruce Pratt; and contemporary transgender activists like Leslie Feinberg and Kate Bornstein.

That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation
Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (fka Matt Bernstein Sycamore)
As the growing gay mainstream prioritizes the attainment of straight privilege over all else, it drains queer identity of any meaning, relevance, or cultural value. What’s more, queers remain under attack: Gay youth shelters can be vetoed because they might reduce property values. Trannies are out because they might offend straights. That’s Revolting! offers a bracing tonic to these trends. Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, That’s Revolting! collects timely essays such as “Dr. Laura, Sit on My Face,” “Gay Art Guerrillas,” and “Queer Parents: An Oxymoron Or Just Plain Moronic?” by unrepentant activists like Patrick Califia, Kate Bornstein, and Carol Queen. This updated edition contains seven new selections that cover everything from rural, working-class youth in Massachusetts to gay life in New Orleans to the infamous Drop the Debt/Stop AIDS action in New York. This lively composite portrait of cutting-edge queer activism is a clarion call for anyone who questions the value of becoming the Stepford Homosexual.

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is a revolutionary resource-a comprehensive, reader-friendly guide for transgender people, with each chapter written by transgender or genderqueer authors. Inspired by Our Bodies, Ourselves, the classic and powerful compendium written for and by women, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is widely accessible to the transgender population, providing authoritative information in an inclusive and respectful way and representing the collective knowledge base of dozens of influential experts.

Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love, and Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary
edited by Morty Diamond
“This is where sex and gender collide, then ricochet like fragments of heart rending shrapnel. Rarely has a book about lust been full of so much love, conflict, and intelligence. If you think you already know what’s in these stories, or you think you don’t need to know, you’re wrong.”—Patrick Califa, author of Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism

Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue
Written by a social worker, popular educator, and member of the transgender community, this well-rounded resource combines an accessible portrait of transgender people with a rich history of transgender life and its unique experiences of discrimination.

Transition & Beyond: Observations on Gender Identity
by Dr. Reid Vanderburgh
Written in an easy to read style, it addresses many issues faced by transgender individuals, their spouses/mates, and family members. Helps anyone seeking accurate information about what it means and doesn t mean to be transgender. Author Reid Vanderburgh brings a unique point of view to his writing as a licensed therapist and someone who transitioned female-to-male in the mid 1990 s. The book provides a point of reference for therapist with transitioning clients Topics include: Addiction and Transitioning; Workplace disclosure; What support looks like; Learning the rules of a new gender role; What does post Transition look like.

Transliberation: Beyond Pink or Blue
by Leslie Feinberg
Those who have heard Leslie Feinberg speak in person know how powerful and inspiring s/he can be. In Trans Liberation, Feinberg has gathered a collection of hir speeches on trans liberation and its essential connection to the liberation of all people. This wonderfully immediate, impassioned, and stirring book is for anyone who cares about civil rights and creating a just and equitable society.

Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices
by Kristin Cronn-Mills
Transgender Lives helps you understand what it means to be transgender in America while learning more about transgender history, the broad spectrum of transgender identities, and the transition process. You’ll explore the challenges transgender Americans face, including discrimination, prejudice, bullying and violence, unequal access to medical care, and limited legal protections. For transgender readers, these stories offer support and encouragement. Transgender Lives is a space for trans voices to be heard and to express the complexities of gender while focusing on what it means to be human.

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
by Julia Serano
A provocative manifesto, Whipping Girl tells the powerful story of Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose supremely intelligent writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist. Serano shares her experiences and observations—both pre- and post-transition—to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole.

Young Adult Reading

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference. Portraits, family photographs, and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken. Each honest discussion and disclosure, whether joyful or heartbreaking, is completely different from the other because of family dynamics, living situations, gender, and the transition these teens make in recognition of their true selves.

Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen
by Arin Andrews
Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning memoir. We’ve all felt uncomfortable in our own skin at some point, and we’ve all been told that “it’s just a part of growing up.” But for Arin Andrews, it wasn’t a phase that would pass. He had been born in the body of a girl and there seemed to be no relief in sight. In this revolutionary memoir, Arin details the journey that led him to make the life-transforming decision to undergo gender reassignment as a high school junior. In his captivatingly witty, honest voice, Arin reveals the challenges he faced as a girl, the humiliation and anger he felt after getting kicked out of his private school, and all the changes—both mental and physical—he experienced once his transition began. Arin also writes about the thrill of meeting and dating a young transgender woman named Katie Hill… and the heartache that followed after they broke up.

Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition
by Katie Rain Hill
In her unique, generous, and affecting voice, nineteen-year-old Katie Hill shares her personal journey of undergoing gender reassignment. Have you ever worried that you’d never be able to live up to your parents’ expectations? Have you ever imagined that life would be better if you were just invisible? Have you ever thought you would do anything—anything—to make the teasing stop? Katie Hill had and it nearly tore her apart. Katie never felt comfortable in her own skin. She realized very young that a serious mistake had been made; she was a girl who had been born in the body of a boy. Suffocating under her peers’ bullying and the mounting pressure to be “normal,” Katie tried to take her life at the age of eight years old. After several other failed attempts, she finally understood that “Katie”—the girl trapped within her—was determined to live.

Parrotfish (fiction)
by Ellen Wittlinger
Grade 9 Up, Wittlinger tackles GLBT issues, introducing readers to Grady McNair, formerly known as Angela. This fast read follows Grady through the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas as he comes out as transgendered, faces issues of acceptance and rejection at school and at home, and falls in love with the hottest girl in school.

I Am J (fiction)
by Cris Beam
Gr 9 Up-When J reached adolescence, he quit the swim team and began covering his body with extra clothes to hide the fact that he had been born a girl. At 17, J dreams of being accepted as a boy, binding his breasts and despising his monthly periods. His close friend, Melissa, a cutter, tries her best to understand and support him. His parents are confused, angry, and sad. He runs away from home and enrolls in a special school for gay and transgender teens, where he makes a helpful friend, a transgender girl.

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