& Personal Stories
A good place to start for those parents, guardians and allies who are looking for book resources written by parents or transgender, non-binary or gender diverse people, or partners of a trans individual.
Sections are organized by books written by:
* PARENTS OF TRANS CHILDREN
* TRANSGENDER, NON-BINARY OR GENDER EXPANSIVE PEOPLE
* THE PARTNER OF A TRANSGENDER PERSON
Links to online booksellers have been added to help research or buy book titles. Titles were searched on Chapters first (www.chapters.indigo.ca). If not found, the second search was on amazon.ca. If unavailable from either, amazon.com was searched. Paperback copies were the first choice to add. Other formats are available for most of the titles. Local bookstores may have a book title in-store.
Check with your local library if you wish to borrow a book. If they do not have the title, ask if they can do an interlibrary loan.
The Youth section, under "In the Trans Community" has some non-fiction book resources.
Other “BOOK” sections are:
* BOOKS & BOOKLETS - BY PROFESSIONALS
* CHILDREN'S BOOKS (PICTURE BOOKS)
* FICTION (TEEN, YOUTH, YOUNG ADULT)
* BOOKSTORES, AUTHORS, LIBRARIES
* POETRY. ART. WRITING.
* BOOKSTORES. LIBRARIES. AUTHORS.
BIBLIOGRAPHIES /BOOK LISTS
Book suggestions, including autobiographies.
Stand With Trans children's books
Stand With Trans. (US)
Bibliography. 'This includes an annotated list of transgender and non-binary themed materials, listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name. The list includes (in order):
Children’s Picture Books - for littles of preschool and early elementary school ages
Juvenile Fiction and Nonfiction for elementary school ages
Young Adult Fiction, Biographies, Nonfiction and Magazines for middle school and high school ages
Books, Training Resources, and Articles and Information of Interest for Parents and Adults including Fiction, Biographies, Nonfiction, and Articles
Transgender Themed Documentaries, Feature Length Films, Television Shows"
WRITTEN BY PARENTS OF A TRANS CHILD
By Carla Grant. 2018. (Alberta)
It is increasingly evident that Eliot is not only autistic, but is also an uncommon girl. Eliot’s mother, Carla, recounts their journey down an unfamiliar path riddled with dismissive medical consultations and mental health referrals to clinics with epic waiting lists. Eliot transitions to Ella, with ambitions of being a trophy wife. Her parents attempt to set limits but Ella, in a typically teenage way, resists anything she deems as trying to squelch her true feminine self. Ella is “outed” repeatedly by teachers she trusted and stops attending school. Carla’s rage morphs into a motivating sense of injustice and she engages in a successful campaign for her child’s civil rights. Carla and Ella are not superheroes, they are just a couple of uncommon girls determined to leave a bumpy road a little smoother for the next travelers.”
Love lives here: A story of thriving in a transgender family
By Amanda Jetté Knox. 2019. (Ontario)
Canadian author and advocate.
”An inspirational story of accepting and embracing two trans people in a family–a family who shows what’s possible when you “lead with love.” All Amanda Jetté Knox ever wanted was to enjoy a stable life. She never knew her biological father, and while her mother and stepfather were loving parents, the situation was sometimes chaotic. At school, she was bullied mercilessly, and at the age of fourteen, she entered a counselling program for alcohol addiction and was successful. While still a teenager, she met the love of her life. They were wed at 20, and the first of three children followed shortly. Jetté Knox finally had the stability she craved–or so it seemed. Their middle child struggled with depression and avoided school. The author was unprepared when the child she knew as her son came out as transgender at the age of eleven. Shocked, but knowing how important it was to support her daughter, Jetté Knox became an ardent advocate for trans rights.”
Click to read Amanda's family update July 2021 on Facebook.
I promised not to tell: Raising a transgender child
By Cheryl B. Evans. 2016. (Ontario, Canada)
“Cheryl Evans and her husband Jim raised their children telling them: “You can be anything and do anything you want in life.” They just never expected to learn that what their youngest daughter desired most in the world was to be a boy. Experience this powerful, raw and, deeply personal story as one family invites you to bear witness as they support their transgender child’s transition from female to male.
While I Promised Not to Tell will help enlighten anyone interested in this topic it is especially valuable for a parent, relative or friend of a gender questioning or transgender person. Truly it is a book that should be read by every human being. It is a genuine, heartfelt and unforgettable LGBT parenting) memoir. A wonderfully written and thought provoking true story that transitions beautifully between the family’s personal journey and some of the larger societal issues that face the transgender community today.
While I Promised Not to Tell may not be as heavy on the science as some other books, (the author covers that in her 2nd book: What Does God Think?), this transgender book delves deeply into the social, emotional and surgical side of the transgender journey. Even if you don’t know a transgender person this book will make you feel as if you do."
A Readers’ Favorite 2017 Bronze Medal Award Winner.
"Beyond pronouns: The essential guide for parents of trans children"
By Tammy Plunkett, Author/Advocate/Advisor. Jun 2022. (Alberta)
"If your child or teen recently told you they are transgender, non-binary or genderfluid, you're bound to have questions. You may wonder how best to support your child's transition and doubt whether you are making the right decisions.
When her son came out as transgender, Tammy Plunkett had the same worries. In Beyond Pronouns, she shares her candid experiences learning to navigate her child's transition and provides clear and practical guidance to help you do the same. She deals with many frequently asked questions, including:
- Is this a phase?
- Why not wait until they're an adult?
- How do I tell others my child is gender-diverse?
- Where do we start a child's transition?
Offering gentle guidance through the first 100 days and beyond, Tammy uniquely addresses the need for parents to be supported so they can best care for their child. You will find ways to face common fears, have important conversations with your child, be a good ally and much more, with age-appropriate approaches that aim for a happy and connected family."
BOOK INFO: https://www.tammyplunkett.com/beyond-pronouns/
Check Tammy's Facebook page for all of her social media contact information.
US & INTERNATIONAL
The auditorium in my mind: Treasuring my transgender child
By Lisa Brennan. Feb 2020.
"In January of 2018, Lisa started a new chapter of life, as her youngest child shared with the family that she is a transgender woman. After some adjustment, the Brennan family has found that when you treasure someone for who they are, it is magical and sacred. Lisa wrote a beginner's guidebook for family and friends, and to her surprise, it was widely shared, with churches, hospitals, and schools asking her to share her family's adventure of love and acceptance. This prompted Lisa to write a book about her family's journey. She hopes that it will spread some education and love into the world."
The bold world: A memoir of family and transformation
By Jodie Patterson. 2019. (US)
"Inspired by her transgender son, activist Jodie Patterson explores identity, gender, race, and authenticity to tell the real-life story of a family’s history and transformation.
In 2009, Jodie Patterson, mother of five and beauty entrepreneur, has her world turned upside down when her determined toddler, Penelope, reveals, “Mama, I’m not a girl. I am a boy.” The Pattersons are a tribe of unapologetic Black matriarchs, scholars, financiers, Southern activists, artists, musicians, and disruptors, but with Penelope’s revelation, Jodie realizes her existing definition of family isn’t wide enough for her child’s needs. In The Bold World, we witness Patterson reshaping her own attitudes, beliefs, and biases, learning from her children, and a whole new community, how to meet the needs of her transgender son. In doing so, she opens the minds of those who raised and fortified her, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. …..
Transition, we learn, doesn’t just belong to the transgender person. Transition, for the sake of knowing more and becoming more, is the responsibility of and gift to all.”
“A courageous and poetic testimony on family and the self, and the learning and unlearning we must do for those we love.”—Janet Mock
Found in transition: A mother’s evolution during her child’s gender change
By Paria Hassouri. 2020. (US)
“On Thanksgiving morning, Paria Hassouri finds herself furiously praying and negotiating with the universe as she irons a dress her fourteen-year-old, designated male at birth, has secretly purchased and wants to wear to dinner with the extended family. In this wonderfully frank, loving, and practical account of parenting a transgender teen, Paria chronicles what amounts to a dual transition: as her child transitions from male to female, she navigates through anger, denial, and grief to eventually arrive at acceptance. Despite her experience advising other parents in her work as a pediatrician, she was blindsided by her child’s gender identity. Paria is also forced to examine how she still carries insecurities from her past of growing up as an Iranian-American immigrant in a predominantly white neighborhood, and how her life experience is causing her to parent with fear instead of love. Paria discovers her capacity to evolve, as well as what it really means to parent and the deepest nature of unconditional love. This page-turning memoir relates a tender story of loving and parenting a teenager coming out as transgender and transitioning. It explores identity, self-discovery in adolescence and midlife, and difference in a world that values conformity. At its heart, Found in Transition is a universally inspiring portrait of what it means to be a family”
He’s always been my son
By Janna Barkin. 2017. (US)
“This inspiring and moving story, told from the heart of an extraordinary family, recounts the emotional and uplifting journey of raising a transgender son. Janna Barkin’s family has come a long way since their child, Amaya, first told them he was a boy and not a girl and this captivating memoir charts the family’s experiences of raising Amaya, from birth through to adulthood. With powerful chapters written by Amaya’s family and friends, Janna shares personal stories of the support and discoveries her family has encountered and provides a ‘care package’ of advice for families facing similar issues, including a glossary of terms and a list of hand-picked support sources. Written with warmth and humor, He’s Always Been My Son reminds us to accept others for who they are and will support, educate and inspire anyone who reads it.”
How we sleep at night: A mother’s memoir
By Sara Cunningham. 2014 (US)
Sara is the founder of Free Mom Hugs. Her story is about her gay son, but her Free Mom Hugs movement extended to the entire LGBTQ community.
“A Christian mother comes to terms with her son being gay through a personal journey that starts with the Church and ends at the Pride Parade. Sara is in partnership with Jamie Lee Curtis, who has purchased the rights to her book and will release a [Lifetime] movie based on her story.”
Once a girl, always a boy: A family memoir of a transgender journey
By Jo Ivester. 2020. (US)
"Jeremy Ivester is a transgender man. Thirty years ago, his parents welcomed him into the world as what they thought was their daughter. As a child, he preferred the toys and games our society views as masculine. He kept his hair short and wore boys' clothing. They called him a tomboy. That's what he called himself.
By high school, when he showed no interest in flirting, his parents thought he might be lesbian. At twenty, he wondered if he was asexual. At twenty-three, he surgically removed his breasts. A year later, he began taking the hormones that would lower his voice and give him a beard - and he announced his new name and pronouns.
Once a Girl, Always a Boy is Jeremy's journey from childhood through coming out as transgender and eventually emerging as an advocate for the transgender community. This is not only Jeremy's story but also that of his family, told from multiple perspectives-those of the siblings who struggled to understand the brother they once saw as a sister, and of the parents who ultimately joined him in the battle against discrimination. This is a story of acceptance in a world not quite ready to accept."
The picture wall: One woman’s story of being (his) (her) their mother
By C.A. Gibbs. Nov 2020. (US)
“The Picture Wall: One Woman’s Story of Being His Her Their Mother takes us on an intimate and emotional journey toward healing as Gibbs comes to terms with raising an autistic child, parenting a transgender adult child, telling family a child is transgender, letting go as children grow up to live authentic lives on their own terms, and embracing being empty nesters.”
Raising my rainbow: Adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son
By Lori Duron. Forward by Neil Patrick Harris. 2013. (US)
”Raising My Rainbow is Lori Duron’s frank, heartfelt, and brutally funny account of her and her family’s adventures of distress and happiness raising a gender-creative son.
Whereas her older son, Chase, is a Lego-loving, sports-playing boy’s boy, Lori’s younger son, C.J., would much rather twirl around in a pink sparkly tutu, with a Disney Princess in each hand while singing Lady Gaga’s 'Paparazzi.' C.J. is gender variant or gender nonconforming, whichever you prefer. Whatever the term, Lori has a boy who likes girl stuff—really likes girl stuff. He floats on the gender-variation spectrum from super-macho-masculine on the left all the way to super-girly-feminine on the right. He’s not all pink and not all blue. He’s a muddled mess or a rainbow creation. Lori and her family choose to see the rainbow.
Written in Lori’s uniquely witty and warm voice and launched by her incredibly popular blog of the same name, Raising My Rainbow is the unforgettable story of her wonderful family as they navigate the often challenging but never dull privilege of raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son.”
Raising Ollie: How my nonbinary art-nerd kid changed (nearly) everything I know
By Tom Rademacher. Book. Oct 2021. (US)
"Raising Ollie is dad Tom Rademacher’s story (really, many stories) of that eventful and sometimes painful school year, parenting Ollie and relearning every day what it means to be a father and teacher. As Ollie—who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, and prefers art to athletics, vegetables to cake, and animals to most humans — flourishes in their new school, Rademacher is making an eye-opening adjustment to a new school of his own, one that’s whiter and more suburban than anywhere he has previously taught, with a history of racial tension that he tries to address and navigate.
While Ollie is learning to code, 3D model, animate, speak Japanese, and finally feel comfortable at school, Rademacher increasingly sees how his own educational struggles, anxieties, and childhood upbringing are reflected in his teaching, writing, and parenting, as well as in Ollie’s experience. And with this story of one anything-but-academic year of inquiry and wonder, doubt and revelation, he shows us how raising a kid changes everything—and how much raising a kid like Ollie can teach us about who we are and what we’re doing in the world."
Raising them: Our adventure in gender creative parenting
By Kyl Myers. 2020. (US)
"What did you have? A boy or a girl?” Kyl and Brent imagined it would be years before their child would identify with a gender. Until then…
As a first-time parent, Kyl Myers had one aspect dialed in from the start: not being beholden to the boy-girl binary, disparities, or stereotypes from the day a child is born. With no wish to eliminate gender but rather gender discrimination, Kyl and her husband, Brent, ventured off on a parenting path less traveled.
Raising a confident, compassionate, and self-aware person was all that mattered. In this illuminating memoir, Kyl delivers a liberating portrait of a family’s choice to dismantle the long-accepted and often-harmful social construct of what it means to be assigned a gender from birth. As a sociologist, Kyl explores the science of gender and sex and the adulthood gender inequities that start in childhood. As a loving parent, Kyl shares the joy of watching an amazing child named Zoomer develop their own agency to grow happily and healthily toward their own gender identity and expression.
Candid and surprising, Raising Them is an inspiration to parents and to anyone open to understanding the limitless possibilities of being yourself.”
Soar, Adam, soar
Coming out. Coming in. Coming home.
By Adam Prashaw.
"Adam Prashaw’s life was full of surprises from the moment he was born. Assigned female at birth, and with parents who had been expecting a boy, he spent years living as 'Rebecca Danielle Adam Prashaw' before coming to terms with being a transgender man. Adam captured hearts with his humour, compassion, and intensity. After a tragic accident cut his life short, he left a legacy of changed lives and a trove of social media posts documenting his life, relationships, transition, and struggles with epilepsy, all with remarkable transparency and directness.
In Soar, Adam, Soar, his father, a former priest, retells Adam’s story alongside his son’s own words. From early childhood, through coming out first as a lesbian and then as a man, and his battles with epilepsy and refusal to give in, it chronicles Adam’s drive to define himself, his joyful spirit, and his love of life, which continues to conquer all."
* Soar, Adam, Soar is a gorgeous autobiography. Rick Prashaw's unique approach to co-authoring with his late son and his threading together of social media posts into a cohesive narrative is so fresh and exciting. The themes of non-conforming gender identity, the varied pressure of academia, and the lonely-yet-public stage of social media offers instructors multiple opportunities to bring theory to life. More broadly, the challenges of young adulthood will resonate with many post-secondary readers. ― Jennifer Ball, Sociology Professor, Humber College
* Rick Prashaw, Adam's father, celebrates life in this moving memoir – joined, in a sense, by Adam himself, whose musings and social-media posts enrich the narrative. The result is both specific and universal. ― Booklist
* Prashaw's compassionate, authentic, and wise words make this a powerful contribution to the emerging genre of transgender life writing. ― Library Journal (starred review)
Transitions of the heart: Stories of love, struggle and acceptance by mothers of transgender and gender variant children
By Rachel Pepper. 2012. (US)
“Transitions of the Heart is the first collection to ever invite mothers of transgender and gender variant children of all ages to tell their own stories about their child’s gender transition. Often “transitioning” socially and emotionally alongside their child but rarely given a voice in the experience, mothers hold the key to familial and societal understanding of gender difference. Sharing stories of love, struggle, and acceptance, this collection of mother’s voices, representing a diversity of backgrounds and sexual orientations, affirms the experience of those who have raised and are currently raising transgender and gender variant children between the ages of 5-50.
Edited by Rachel Pepper, a gender specialist and co-author of the acclaimed book The Transgender Child, Transitions of the Heart will prove an invaluable resource for parents coming to terms with a child’s gender variance or transition.”
Two spirits, one heart: A mother, her transgender son, and their journey to love and acceptance
By Marsha Aizumi. 2012. (US)
“When this book was first published in 2012, it was the first book of its kind—mother, educator, and LGBT activist Marsha shares her compelling story of parenting a young woman who came out as a lesbian, then transitioned to male. Two Spirits, One Heart chronicles Marsha’s personal journey from fear, uncertainty, and sadness to eventual unconditional love, acceptance, and support of her child who struggled to reconcile his gender identity. Told with honesty and warmth, this book is a must-read for parents and loved ones of LGBTQ+ individuals everywhere.
In the past decade. Marsha has traveled the world sharing her journey and joy of parenting her trans son to diverse places such as religious groups, colleges and LGBTQ+ and PFLAG organizations.
Two Spirits, One Heart is honest and impactful, and I am immensely grateful to both Marsha and Aiden for sharing their personal journey with everyone. As Executive Director of PFLAG National—an organization focused on the journey of parents and families of LGBTQ+ people—I’m moved by Marsha’s passion to make this world a better place for all people, and by her unwavering love for her trans child. —Brian K. Bond, Executive Director. PFLAG National“
What we will become: A mother, a son, and a journey of transformation
By Mimi Lemay. 2019. (US)
“A mother’s memoir of her transgender child’s odyssey, and her journey outside the boundaries of the faith and culture that shaped her. From the age of two-and-a-half, Jacob, born “Em,” adamantly told his family he was a boy. While his mother Mimi struggled to understand and come to terms with the fact that her child may be transgender, she experienced a sense of déjà vu—the journey to uncover the source of her child’s inner turmoil unearthed ghosts from Mimi’s past and her own struggle to live an authentic life. Mimi was raised in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, every aspect of her life dictated by ancient rules and her role as a woman largely preordained from cradle to grave. As a young woman, Mimi wrestled with the demands of her faith and eventually made the painful decision to leave her religious community and the strict gender roles it upheld. Having risen from the ashes of her former life, Mimi was prepared to help her son forge a new one — at a time when there was little consensus on how best to help young transgender children. Dual narratives of faith and motherhood weave together to form a heartfelt portrait of an unforgettable family. Brimming with love and courage, What We Will Become is a powerful testament to how painful events from the past can be redeemed to give us hope for the future.”
WRITTEN BY A TRANSGENDER PERSON
Care of: Letters, connections, and cures
By Ivan Coyote. Yukon, Canada. Jun 2021. (Canada)
“Beloved storyteller Ivan Coyote returns with their most intimate and moving book yet.
Writer and performer Ivan Coyote has spent decades on the road, telling stories around the world. For years, Ivan has kept a file of the most special communications received from readers and audience members—letters, Facebook messages, emails, soggy handwritten notes tucked under the windshield wiper of their truck after a gig. Then came Spring, 2020, and, like artists everywhere, Coyote was grounded by the pandemic, all their planned events cancelled. The energy of a live audience, a performer’s lifeblood, was suddenly gone. But with this loss came an opportunity for a different kind of connection. Those letters that had long piled up could finally begin to be answered.
Care Of combines the most powerful of these letters with Ivan’s responses, creating a body of correspondence of startling intimacy, breathtaking beauty, and heartbreaking honesty and openness. Taken together, they become an affirming and joyous reflection on many of the themes central to Coyote’s celebrated work—compassion and empathy, family fragility, non-binary and Trans identity, and the unending beauty of simply being alive, a giant love letter to the idea of human connection, and the power of truly listening to each other.”
Ivan Coyote is a (non-binary) writer and storyteller. Born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon, they are the author of thirteen books, the creator of four films, six stage shows, and three albums that combine storytelling with music.
Coyote’s books have won the ReLit Award, been named a Stonewall Honour Book, been longlisted for Canada Reads, shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Prize for non-fiction, and awarded BC and Yukon Book Prize’s inaugural Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes. In 2017 Ivan was given an honorary Doctor of Laws from Simon Fraser University for their writing and activism.
Growing up trans: In our own words
Edited by Dr Lindsay Herriot and Kate Fry. Aug 2021. (CANADA)
"What does it mean to be young and transgender today? Growing Up Trans shares stories, essays, art and poetry created by trans youth aged 11 to 18. In their own words, the works illustrate the trans experience through childhood, family and daily life, school, their bodies and mental health. Together the collection is a story of the challenges, big and small, of being a young trans person. At the same time, it''s a toolkit for all young people, transgender or not, about what understanding, acceptance and support for the trans community looks like. In addition to the contributed works, there are questions and tips from experts in the field of transgender studies to challenge the reader on how to be a trans ally.
Growing Up Trans came out of a series of workshops held in Victoria, British Columbia, to bring together trans youth from across the country with mentors in the community."
He said, she said: Lessons, stories and mistakes from my transgender journey
By Gigi Gorgeous 2019. (Canada)
“Today, Gigi Gorgeous is beloved for her critically-acclaimed documentary, her outrageous sense of humor, her no-holds-barred honesty, and her glam Hollywood lifestyle. Ten years ago, she was a gawky Canadian teen named Gregory. In He Said, She Said, Gigi brings us on her personal journey from Gregory to Gigi, going deeper than ever before and exposing her vulnerability behind each struggle and triumph, with her signature humor on every page.
With stunning photography and heirloom snapshots, He Said, She Said takes us back to Gigi’s early years as an Olympic-bound diver and high school mean girl, losing her mom at a tragically young age, and her journey of opening up about her sexuality and gender identity. She walks us through her transition, baring it all about dating and heartbreak in her stories of falling in love with both men and women. Uproarious, unconventional, and unabashedly candid, Gigi shares never-before-heard stories, inspiration, and advice about how your life can take you to incredible places once you get real with yourself.”
By Vivek Shraya. 2018. (Canada)
“A trans artist explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl -- and how we might reimagine gender for the twenty-first century.
Vivek Shraya has reason to be afraid. Throughout her life she's endured acts of cruelty and aggression for being too feminine as a boy and not feminine enough as a girl. In order to survive childhood, she had to learn to convincingly perform masculinity. As an adult, she makes daily compromises to steel herself against everything from verbal attacks to heartbreak.
Now, with raw honesty, Shraya delivers an important record of the cumulative damage caused by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, releasing trauma from a body that has always refused to assimilate. I'm Afraid of Men is a journey from camouflage to a riot of colour and a blueprint for how we might cherish all that makes us different and conquer all that makes us afraid.”
Named a Best Book by: The Globe and Mail, Indigo, Out Magazine, Audible, CBC, Apple, Quill & Quire, Kirkus Reviews, Brooklyn Public Library, Writers’ Trust of Canada, Autostraddle, Bitch, and BookRiot;
Finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award, Transgender Nonfiction;
Nominated for the 2019 Forest of Reading Evergreen Award;
Winner of the 2018 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design – Prose Non-Fiction;
"Cultural rocket fuel." -- Vanity Fair;
"Emotional and painful but also layered with humour, I'm Afraid of Men will widen your lens on gender and challenge you to do better. This challenge is a necessary one--one we must all take up. It is a gift to dive into Vivek's heart and mind." --Rupi Kaur, bestselling author of The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk and Honey.
In their shoes: Navigating non-binary life
By Jamie Windust. Oct 2020. (UK)
"There is no one way to be non-binary, and that's truthfully one of the best things about it. It's an identity that is yours to shape."
"Combining light-hearted anecdotes with their own hard-won wisdom, Jamie Windust explores everything from fashion, dating, relationships and family, through to mental health, work and future key debates. From trying on clothes in secret to iconic looks, first dates to polyamorous liaisons, passports to pronouns, Jamie shows you how to navigate the world and your evolving identity in every type of situation.
Frank, funny, and brilliantly feisty, this must-read book is a call to arms for non-binary self-acceptance, self-appreciation and self-celebration."
Like a boy but not a boy: Navigating life, mental health, and parenthood outside the gender binary
By andrea bennett. 2020. (Canada)
“A revelatory book about gender, mental illness, parenting, mortality, bike mechanics, work, class, and the task of living in a body.
Inquisitive and expansive, Like a Boy but Not a Boy explores author andrea bennett's experiences with gender expectations, being a non-binary parent, and the sometimes funny and sometimes difficult task of living in a body. The book's fourteen essays also delve incisively into the interconnected themes of mental illness, mortality, creative work, class, and bike mechanics (apparently you can learn a lot about yourself through trueing a wheel). In "Tomboy," andrea articulates what it means to live in a gender in-between space, and why one might be necessary; "37 Jobs 21 Houses" interrogates the notion that the key to a better life is working hard and moving house. And interspersed throughout the book is "Everyone Is Sober and No One Can Drive," sixteen stories about queer millennials who grew up and came of age in small Canadian communities.
With the same poignant spirit as Ivan Coyote's Tomboy Survival Guide, Like a Boy addresses the struggle to find acceptance, and to accept oneself; and how one can find one's place while learning to make space for others. The book also wonders what it means to be an atheist and search for faith that everything will be okay; what it means to learn how to love life even as you obsess over its brevity; and how to give birth, to bring new life, at what feels like the end of the world. With thoughtfulness and acute observation, andrea bennett reveals intimate truths about the human experience, whether one is outside the gender binary or not.”
By Ivan Coyote. 2019. (Yukon, Canada)
”Ivan takes on the patriarchy and the political, as well as the intimate and the personal in these beguiling and revealing stories of what it means to be trans and non-binary today, at a time in their life when they must carry the burden of heartbreaking history with them, while combatting those who would misgender them or deny their very existence. These stories span thirty years of tackling TERFs, legislators, and bathroom police, sure, but there is joy and pleasure and triumph to be found here too, as Ivan pays homage to personal heroes like the late Leslie Feinberg while gently guiding younger trans folk to prove to themselves that there is a way out of the darkness. Rebent Sinner is the work of an accomplished artist whose plain truths about their experience will astound readers with their utter, breathtaking humanity."
BC Book Prize winner (Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes); Forest of Reading Evergreen Award finalist
Trans and autistic: Stories from life at the intersection
By Noah Adams and Bridget Liang. Jul 2020. (Canada)
“This ground-breaking book foregrounds the voices of autistic trans people as they speak candidly about how their autism and gender identity intersects and the impact this has on their life. Drawing upon a wealth of interviews with transgender people on the autism spectrum, the book explores experiences of coming out, with self-discovery, healthcare, family, work, religion and community support, to help dispel common misunderstandings around gender identity and autism, whilst allowing autistic trans people to see their own neurodiverse experiences reflected in these interviews.
An incisive introduction clearly sets out up-to-date research and thinking, before each chapter draws together key findings from the interviews, along with advice and support for those providing support to autistic trans individuals. Both accessible and authoritative, Trans and Autistic is an essential publication for autistic trans people, their families, and professionals wanting to understand and support their clients better.”
Trans and Autistic offers trans autistic people an opportunity to read about their kin after years of reading books by and for cisgender and neurotypical people, while, simultaneously providing professionals and families the grounded understanding essential to meeting the needs of trans autistic people in their lives. --- Finn Gratton, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Educator, author of Supporting Transgender Autistic Youth and Adults
TRANSlations: Navigating HRT access in Alberta
Pivot Edmonton 2020 Cohort Zine.
Created through a collaboration between the Edmonton Men’s Health Collective (EMHC), CBRC, the Edmonton Pivot 2020 cohort, and the Albertan 2SLGBTQ+ community, TRANSlations is an original zine (online magazine of writings) made up of a collection of community testimonials and works of poetry that illuminate the diverse experiences of twelve 2SLGBTQ+ community members as they navigate Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) access in Alberta. TRANSlations was created to provide a basic overview of what the path to HRT might look like from a community, self-advocacy, and resiliency perspective.”
A Two-Spirit Journey: The autobiography of a lesbian Ojibwa-Cree elder
By Ma-Nee Chacaby. 2016.
"A compelling, harrowing, but ultimately uplifting story of resilience and self-discovery. "A Two-Spirit Journey" is Ma-Nee Chacaby's extraordinary account of her life as an Ojibwa-Cree lesbian. From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse in a remote Ojibwa community riven by poverty and alcoholism, Chacaby's story is one of enduring and ultimately overcoming the social, economic, and health legacies of colonialism.
As a child, Chacaby learned spiritual and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, hunting, and bush survival skills from her Ojibwa stepfather. She also suffered physical and sexual abuse by different adults, and in her teen years became alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay with her children to escape an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by racism, continued, but Chacaby found supports to help herself and others.
Over the following decades, she achieved sobriety; trained and worked as an alcoholism counsellor; raised her children and fostered many others; learned to live with visual impairment; and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in Thunder Bay.
Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hardship grounded in faith, compassion, humour, and resilience. Her memoir provides unprecedented insights into the challenges still faced by many Indigenous people."
Woman enough: How a boy became a woman and changed the world of sport
By Kristen Worley, Johanna Schneller. 2019. (CDN / Ontario)
"A powerful and inspiring story of self-realization and legal victory that upends our basic assumptions about sexual identity."
"In 1966, a male baby, Chris, was adopted by an upper-middle-class Toronto couple. From early childhood, Chris felt ill-at-ease as a boy and like an outsider in his conservative family. An obsession with sports–running, waterskiing and especially cycling–helped him survive what he would eventually understand to be a profound disconnect between his anatomical sexual identity and his gender identity. In his twenties, with the support of newfound friends and family and the medical community, Chris became Kristen. Chris had been a world-class cyclist, and now Kristen wanted to compete for her country and herself in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She became the first athlete in the world to submit to the International Olympic Committee’s gender verification process, the Stockholm Consensus. An all-male jury determined she fit their biological criteria–but the IOC ultimately objected to her use of testosterone supplements. They, and other sports bodies, regard them as performance enhancing, when in fact all transitioned female athletes need the hormone to stay healthy and to compete. So Kristen filed a complaint against the sports bodies standing in her way with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. And she won. Woman Enough is the account of a human rights battle with global repercussions for the world of sport; it’s a challenge to rethink fixed ideas about gender; and it’s the extraordinary story of a boy who was rejected for who he wasn’t, and who fought back until she found out who she is.”
US & INTERNATIONAL
As a woman: What I learned about power, sex, and the patriarchy after I transitioned
By Paula Stone Williams. Coming Mar 2022. (US)
"As a father of three, married to a wonderful woman, and holding several prominent jobs within the Christian community, Dr. Paula Stone Williams made the life-changing decision to physically transition from male to female at the age of sixty. Almost instantly, her power and influence in the evangelical world disappeared and her family had to grapple with intense feelings of loss and confusion.
Feeling utterly alone after being expelled from the evangelical churches she had once spearheaded, Paula struggled to create a new safe space for herself where she could reconcile her faith, her identity, and her desire to be a leader. Much to her surprise, the key to her new career as a woman came with a deeper awareness of the inequities she had overlooked before her transition. Where her opinions were once celebrated and amplified, now she found herself sidelined and ignored. New questions emerged. Why are women’s opinions devalued in favor of men’s? Why does love and intimacy feel so different? And, was it possible to find a new spirituality in her own image?"
This moving and unforgettable memoir of a transgender pastor’s transition from male to female is an “audacious, gripping, and profoundly real journey that speaks to the mind, heart, and soul” (-- Joshua J. Dickson, director of Faith Based Initiatives, Biden Campaign)—perfect for fans of Redefining Realness and There Is Room for You.
In As a Woman, Paula’s “critical questions about gender, personhood, and place are relevant to anyone. Her writing insightfully reveals aspects of our gender socialization and culture that often go unexamined, but that need to be talked about, challenged, and changed” (-- Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her) in order to fully understand what it means to be male, female, and simply, human.
At last we’ve found you: A transgender triumph: An autobiography
By Rosemary Richards. 2016. ( (UK)
”Born to Change. How do you tell a life story? Hmmm. Well, suppose you are me and have lived two lives? Now, imagine you are writing for understanding from people, including your only surviving child? How do you tell it? I tell it this way. Painfully. Honestly. Completely. In 1939, I was born a rather self-aware boy in the UK and was given the name Richard Lockley by my parents. I lived the adventurous life of a well-off world traveler. I was a rugged man riding the outback and sailing the various waters, including the Greek islands. Eventually, I married and had a son and a daughter. But, I was never quite comfortable with who I was. I never felt…right. In 1997, at age 58, I gave myself the name Rosemary and surgically switched my gender. I had finally found myself. I went from never feeling at home in my body to euphoria. At Last We’ve Found You is my story. Love made me write it. Please read it for a personal, unexpected experience of truth and triumph.”
The autistic trans guide to life
By Yenn Purkis & Wenn Lawson. Mar 2021.
"This essential survival guide gives autistic trans and/or non-binary adults all the tools and strategies they need to live as their very best self.
Blending personal accounts with evidence-based insights and up-to-date information, and written from a perspective of empowerment and self-acceptance, the book promotes pride, strength and authenticity, covering topics including self-advocacy, mental health and camouflaging and masking as well as key moments in life such as coming out or transitioning socially and/or physically.
Written by two leading autistic trans activists, this book honestly charts what life is like as an autistic trans person and is vital, life-affirming reading."
The autobiography of a transgender scientist
By Ben Barres. 2018. (US)
“A leading scientist describes his life, his gender transition, his scientific work, and his advocacy for gender equality in science. Ben Barres was known for his groundbreaking scientific work and for his groundbreaking advocacy for gender equality in science. In this book, completed shortly before his death from pancreatic cancer in December 2017, Barres (born in 1954) describes a life full of remarkable accomplishments - from his childhood as a precocious math and science whiz to his experiences as a female student at MIT in the 1970s to his female-to-male transition in his forties, to his scientific work and role as teacher and mentor at Stanford. Barres recounts his early life-his interest in science, first manifested as a fascination with the mad scientist in Superman; his academic successes; and his gender confusion. Barres felt even as a very young child that he was assigned the wrong gender. After years of being acutely uncomfortable in his own skin, Barres transitioned from female to male. He reports he felt nothing but relief on becoming his true self. He was proud to be a role model for transgender scientists. As an undergraduate at MIT, Barres experienced discrimination, but it was after transitioning that he realized how differently male and female scientists are treated. He became an advocate for gender equality in science, and later in life responded pointedly to Larry Summers’s speculation that women were innately unsuited to be scientists. Privileged white men, Barres writes, 'miss the basic point that in the face of negative stereotyping, talented women will not be recognized.' At Stanford, Barres made important discoveries about glia, the most numerous cells in the brain, and he describes some of his work. 'The most rewarding part of his job,' however, was mentoring young scientists. That, and his advocacy for women and transgender scientists, ensures his legacy.”
Becoming Eve: My journey from ultra-orthodox rabbi to transgender woman
By Abby Chava Stein. 2019. (US)
"The powerful coming-of-age story of an ultra-Orthodox child who was born to become a rabbinic leader and instead became a woman
Abby Stein was raised in a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn, isolated in a culture that lives according to the laws and practices of eighteenth-century Eastern Europe, speaking only Yiddish and Hebrew and shunning modern life. Stein was born as the first son in a dynastic rabbinical family, poised to become a leader of the next generation of Hasidic Jews.
But Abby felt certain at a young age that she was a girl. She suppressed her desire for a new body while looking for answers wherever she could find them, from forbidden religious texts to smuggled secular examinations of faith. Finally, she orchestrated a personal exodus from ultra-Orthodox manhood to mainstream femininity-a radical choice that forced her to leave her home, her family, her way of life.
Powerful in the truths it reveals about biology, culture, faith, and identity, Becoming Eve poses the enduring question: How far will you go to become the person you were meant to be?"
Becoming Nicole: The extraordinary transformation of an ordinary family
By Amy Ellis Nutt. 2017. (US)
“NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The inspiring true story of transgender actor and activist Nicole Maines, whose identical twin brother, Jonas, and ordinary American family join her on an extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the uniqueness in us all. Nicole appears as TV’s first transgender superhero on CW’s Supergirl.
When Wayne and Kelly Maines adopted identical twin boys, they thought their lives were complete. But by the time Jonas and Wyatt were toddlers, confusion over Wyatt’s insistence that he was female began to tear the family apart. In the years that followed, the Maineses came to question their long-held views on gender and identity, to accept Wyatt’s transition to Nicole, and to undergo a wrenching transformation of their own, the effects of which would reverberate through their entire community.
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Amy Ellis Nutt spent almost four years reporting this story and tells it with unflinching honesty, intimacy, and empathy. In her hands, Becoming Nicole is more than an account of a courageous girl and her extraordinary family. It’s a powerful portrait of a slowly but surely changing nation, and one that will inspire all of us to see the world with a little more humanity and understanding.
Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by People • One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review and Men’s Journal • A Stonewall Honor Book in Nonfiction • Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction”
Before I had the words: On being a transgender young adult
By Skylar Kergil. 2017. (US)
“At the beginning of his physical transition from female to male, then-seventeen-year-old Skylar Kergil posted his first video on YouTube. In the months and years that followed, he recorded weekly update videos about the physical and emotional changes he experienced. Skylar’s openness and positivity attracted thousands of viewers, who followed along as his voice deepened and his body changed shape. Through surgeries and recovery, highs and lows, from high school to college to the real world, Skylar welcomed others on his journey. Before I Had the Words is the story of what came before the videos and what happened behind the scenes. From early childhood memories to the changes and confusion brought by adolescence, Skylar reflects on coming of age while struggling to understand his gender.
As humorous as it is heartbreaking and as informative as it is entertaining, this memoir provides an intimate look at the experience of transitioning from one gender to another. Skylar opens up about the long path to gaining his family’s acceptance and to accepting himself, sharing stories along the way about smaller challenges like choosing a new name and learning to shave without eyebrow mishaps. Revealing entries from the author’s personal journals as well as interviews with his mother, brother, and friends lend remarkable depth to Skylar’s story.
A groundbreaking chronicle of change, loss, discovery, pain, and relief, Before I Had the Words brings new meaning to the phrase “formative years.”
Being Jazz: My life as a transgender teen
By Jazz Jennings. 2017. (US)
“Teen advocate and trailblazer Jazz Jennings–named one of “The 25 Most Influential Teens” of the year by Time–shares her very public transgender journey, as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths.
Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series – I Am Jazz – making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults. In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community.
But it hasn’t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don’t understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence–particularly high school–complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy–especially when you began your life in a boy’s body. See Jazz’s story come to life with two inserts featuring personal photos.”
Beyond magenta: Transgender teens speak out
By Susan Kuklin. March 2015.
“A groundbreaking work of LGBT literature takes an honest look at the life, love, and struggles of transgender teens. 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." A 2015 Stonewall Honor Book
Blood, marriage, wine & glitter
By S. Bear Bergman. 2013. (US)
”S. Bear Bergman is an acclaimed writer and lecturer who travels regularly across North America to speak on trans issues. Bear's first two books, Butch Is a Noun and The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, are considered essential texts on the subject of trans life. In his third essay collection, Bear enters, describes, and rearranges our ideas about family as a daughter, husband, father, and friend. In Bear's extended family “orchard,” drag sisters, sperm-donors parents, Sparkles and other relations provide more branches of love, support, and sustenance than a simple family tree. Defiantly queer yet full of tenderness and hilarity, Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter is a beautifully thought-provoking book that redefines the notion of what family is and can be.
Bear is also co-author of Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation and author of the groundbreaking trans-positive children’s books Backwards Day and The Adventures of Tulip, Birthday Wish Fairy.”
“The celebrated essayist sheds necessary (and humorous) light on gender, sexuality, and family.”Lambda Literary Award finalist.
Everything you ever wanted to know about trans* (but were afraid to ask)
By Brynn Tannehill. 2018. (US)
“Leading activist and essayist Brynn Tannehill tells you everything you ever wanted to know about transgender issues but were afraid to ask. The book aims to break down deeply held misconceptions about trans people across all aspects of life, from politics, law and culture, through to science, religion and mental health, to provide readers with a deeper understanding of what it means to be trans. The book walks the reader through transgender issues, starting with 'What does transgender mean?' before moving on to more complex topics including growing up trans, dating and sex, medical and mental health, and debates around gender and feminism. Brynn also challenges deliberately deceptive information about transgender people being put out into the public sphere. Transphobic myths are debunked and biased research, bad statistics and bad science are carefully and clearly refuted. This important and engaging book enables any reader to become informed the most critical public conversations around transgender people, and become a better ally as a result.”
"Brynn Tannehill is a military veteran who felt that the United States military’s discriminatory policies forced her to make a choice between continuing serving her country and living openly as a transgender woman. Brynn was born and raised as a boy, but that never felt right, and so she came out as transgender, transitioned, and now lives every day as the woman she has long known herself to be. Brynn has become a vocal advocate for the transgender community, in particular transgender soldiers, because of her own experiences and previous fears about openly serving her country."
Feeling wrong in your own body: Understanding what it means to be transgender
by Jaime A. Seba. 2014.
“Boys who play with Barbie dolls. Girls who join the football team. What is gender? What are gender roles? What’s the difference between being a tomboy and being transgender? Is it possible to be in the wrong body? Explore the answers to these questions with an in-depth look at what it means to be transgender, based on the personal experiences of the men and women who have taken steps to transition. Learn from the experiences of transgender young people who make the significant choice to live openly as another gender while still in high school. Uncover the reality of this often misunderstood group and how it fits into the LBGT community.”
The gender games: The problem with men and women, from someone who has been both
By Juno Dawson. 2018. (UK)
“ ‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes – before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we’ve been getting it. Gender isn’t just screwing over trans people, it’s messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can’t be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to ‘alt-right’ young men. From men who can’t cry to the women who think they shouldn’t. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society’s expectations of gender – and what we can do about it.
Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world in which everyone can truly be themselves.”
By Mala Kobabe. 2019. (US)
“In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.
Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere."
It’s also a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand." — SLJ (starred review) // 2020 ALA Alex Award Winner // 2020 Stonewall — Israel Fishman Non-fiction Award Honor Book
How we do family: From adoption to trans pregnancy, what we learned about love and LGBTQ parenthood
By Trystan Reese, creator of the “Trans Fertility Co. website”. Jun 2021. (US)
“When Trystan Reese was just a year into his relationship with Biff (now his husband), the couple learned that Biff’s niece and nephew were about to be removed from their home by Child Protective Services. Immediately, Trystan and Biff took in one-year-old Hailey and three-year-old Lucas, becoming caregivers overnight to two tiny survivors of abuse and neglect. From this surprising start, Trystan and Biff built a loving marriage and happy home – learning to parent on the job. They adopted Hailey and Lucas, and soon decided to grow their family biologically with a child that Trystan, who is transgender, would carry.
Trystan’s groundbreaking pregnancy attracted media fanfare, and the family welcomed baby Leo in 2017. In How We Do Family, Trystan shares their unique story and what he’s learned about being the best parent, partner, and person you can be. Through crisis, adoption, pregnancy-and all the usual challenges of parenting – Trystan shows that more important than getting things right is doing them with love.”
Trans Fertility Co WEBSITE
My life in transition: A super late bloomer collection
By Julia Kaye. Feb 2021. Autobiographical webcomic.
"The follow-up to the critically acclaimed autobiographical comics collection Super Late Bloomer, documenting transgender artist Julia Kaye’s life post-transition.
My Life in Transition is a story that’s not often told about trans lives: what happens beyond the early days of transition. Both deeply personal and widely relatable, this collection illustrates six months of Julia's life as an out trans woman—about the beauty and pain of love and heartbreak, struggling to find support from bio family and the importance of chosen family, moments of dysphoria and misgendering, learning to lean on friends in times of need, and finding peace in the fact that life keeps moving forward.
After the nerve-wracking, anxiety-ridden early transition period has ended and the hormones have done their thing, this book shows how you can be trans and simply exist in society. You can be trans and have a successful future. You can be trans and have a normal life full of ups and downs. In our current political and social climate, this hopeful, accessible narrative about trans lives is both entertaining and vital."
Non-binary lives: An anthology of intersecting identities
Editor Jo Twist, Meg-john Barker and Kat Gupta. April 21, 2020
What does it mean to be non-binary in the 21st Century?
Our gender identity is impacted by our personal histories; the cultures, communities and countries we are born into; and the places we go and the people we meet. But the representation of contemporary non-binary identities has been limited, until now.
Pushing the narrative around non-binary identities further than ever before, this powerful collection of essays represents the breadth of non-binary lives, across the boundaries of race, class, age, sexuality, faith and more.
Leading non-binary people share stories of their intersecting lives; how it feels to be non-binary and neurodiverse, the challenges of being a non-binary pregnant person, what it means to be non-binary within the Quaker community, the joy of reaching gender euphoria. This thought-provoking anthology shows that there is no right or wrong way to be non-binary.”
2021 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FINALIST // IndyBest's Best Book Buy 2020 //
'Essential reading for anyone wishing to learn more about the wonderful diversity of humans.'' --- The Independent
Self-ish: A transgender awakening
By Chloe Schwenke. 2018. (US)
“SELF-ish is a narrative drawn from an international life, beginning with some early glimpses out at the world by a girl in a boy’s body. Chloe Schwenke was raised as Stephen in a Marine Corps family, and was sent off at age fourteen to “man-up” at a military academy. Later-and still embodied as a man-she ventured abroad to work in some of the roughest regions of Africa, the Gaza Strip, Turkey, and many other locales. Her far-flung global journey was matched in intensity by an inner identity and spiritual struggle and the associated ravages of depression, before she came to the revelation of being a transgender woman. At a time when many Americans are just waking up to the reality of the transgender phenomenon, this portrayal of Chloe’s life, her challenging gender transition, and her many accomplishments and adventures along the way (including being among the first three transgender political appointees in U.S. history, under President Obama), creates a poignant story of authenticity, self-discovery, and the meaning of gender set against a fascinating international backdrop.”
She’s not there: A life in two genders
By Jennifer Finney Boylan. 2013. (US)
“The bestselling, seminal work of trans literature: a story of love, sex, selfhood, and understanding from Jennifer Finney Boylan. When she changed genders, she changed the world. It was the groundbreaking publication of She’s Not There in 2003 that jump-started the transgender revolution. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Boylan – a cast member on I Am Cait; an advisor to the television series Transparent, and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times — explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of love and family. She’s Not There was one of the first works to present trans experience from the perspective of a literary novelist, opening a door to new understanding of love, sex, gender, and identity. Boylan inspired readers to ask the same questions she asked herself: What is it that makes us—ourselves? What does it mean to be a man, or a woman? How much could my husband, or wife, change—and still be recognizable as the one I love? Boylan’s humorous, wise voice helped make She’s Not There the first bestselling work by a transgender American–and transformed Boylan into a national spokeswoman for LGBTQ people, their families, and the people that love them.
This updated and revised edition also includes a new epilogue from Jenny’s wife Grace; it also contains the original afterward by her friend, novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo. “Love will prevail,” said Boylan’s conservative mother, as she learned about her daughter’s identity. She’s Not There is the story that helped bring about a world in which that change seems almost possible.”
Sissy: A coming-of-gender story
By Jacob Tobia. 2020. (US)
“As a young child in North Carolina, Jacob Tobia wasn't the wrong gender, they just had too much of the stuff. Barbies? Yes. Playing with bugs? Absolutely. Getting muddy? Please. Princess dresses? You betcha. Jacob wanted it all, but because they were "a boy," they were told they could only have the masculine half. Acting feminine labelled them "a sissy" and brought social isolation. It took Jacob years to discover that being "a sissy" isn't something to be ashamed of. It's a source of pride. Following Jacob through bullying and beauty contests, from Duke University to the United Nations to the podiums of the Methodist church -- not to mention the parlors of the White House -- this unforgettable memoir contains multitudes. A deeply personal story of trauma and healing, a powerful reflection on gender and self-acceptance, and a hilarious guidebook for wearing tacky clip-on earrings in today's world, Sissy guarantees you'll never think about gender -- both other people's and your own -- the same way again."
"Transformative ... If Tobia aspires to the ranks of comic memoirists like David Sedaris and Mindy Kaling, Sissy succeeds." --The New York Times Book Review (A Paperback Row Pick); A heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and giggle-inducing memoir about what it's like to grow up not sure if you're (a) a boy, (b) a girl, (c) something in between, or (d) all of the above; "A beautiful book . . . honest and funny."--Trevor Noah, The Daily Show; "A rallying cry for anyone who's ever felt like they don't belong." --Woman's Day
Some assembly required: The not-so-secret life of a transgender teen
By Arin Andrews. 2015. (US)
“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 Rain Hill—and the heartache that followed after they broke up.
Some Assembly Required is a true coming-of-age story about knocking down obstacles and embracing family, friendship, and first love. But more than that, it is a reminder that self-acceptance does not come ready-made with a manual and spare parts. Rather, some assembly is always required."
Sorted: Growing up, coming out, and finding my place (A transgender memoir)
By Jackson Bird. 2019. (US)
“An unflinching and endearing memoir from LGBTQ+ advocate Jackson Bird about how he finally sorted things out and came out as a transgender man. When Jackson Bird was twenty-five, he came out as transgender to his friends, family, and anyone in the world with an internet connection. Assigned female at birth and raised as a girl, he often wondered if he should have been born a boy. Jackson didn’t share this thought with anyone because he didn’t think he could share it with anyone. Growing up in Texas in the 1990s, he had no transgender role models. He barely remembers meeting anyone who was openly gay, let alone being taught that transgender people existed outside of punchlines.
In this “soulful and heartfelt coming-of-age story”, Jackson chronicles the ups and downs of growing up gender-confused. Illuminated by journal entries spanning childhood to adolescence to today, he candidly recalls the challenges and loneliness he endured as he came to terms with both his gender and his bisexual identity. With warmth and wit, Jackson also recounts how he navigated the many obstacles and quirks of his transition––like figuring out how to have a chest binder delivered to his NYU dorm room and having an emotional breakdown at a Harry Potter fan convention. From his first shot of testosterone to his eventual top surgery, Jackson lets you in on every part of his journey—taking the time to explain trans terminology and little-known facts about gender and identity along the way.”
Stuck in the middle with you: A memoir of parenting in three genders
By Jennifer Finney Boylan. 2014. (US)
"New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting that discusses how families are shaped and the difficulties and wonders of being human"
”A father for six years, a mother for ten, and for a time in between, neither, or both, Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents.
Through both her own story and incredibly insightful interviews with others, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, and more, Jenny examines relationships between fathers, mothers, and children; people’s memories of the children they were and the parents they became; and the many different ways a family can be.
With an Afterword by Anna Quindlen, Stuck in the Middle with You is a brilliant meditation on raising—and on being—a child.”
Super late bloomer: My early days in transition
By Julia Kaye. 2018. Autobiographical webcomic.
Is followed by her second (autobiographical) webcomic My Life In Transition: A Super Late Bloomer Collection.
"Instead of a traditional written diary, Julia Kaye has always turned to art as a means of self-reflection. So when she began her gender transition in 2016, she decided to use her popular webcomic, Up and Out, to process her journey and help others with similar struggles realize they weren’t alone. Julia’s poignant, relatable comics honestly depict her personal ups and downs while dealing with the various issues involved in transitioning—from struggling with self-acceptance and challenging societal expectations, to moments of self-love and joy. Super Late Bloomer both educates and inspires, as Julia faces her difficulties head-on and commits to being wholly, authentically who she was always meant to be."
To survive on this shore: Photographs and interviews with transgender and nonconforming older adults
By Jess T. Dugan. 2018. (US)
“Representations of older transgender people are nearly absent from our culture and those that do exist are often one-dimensional. For over five years, photographer Jess T. Dugan and social worker Vanessa Fabbre traveled throughout the United States creating To Survive on this Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Older Adults . Seeking subjects whose lived experiences exist within the complex intersections of gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, and geographic location, they traveled from coast to coast, to big cities and small towns, documenting the life stories of this important but largely underrepresented group of older adults. The featured individuals have a wide variety of life narratives spanning the last ninety years, offering an important historical record of transgender experience and activism in the United States. The resulting monograph provides a nuanced view into the struggles and joys of growing older as a transgender person and offers a poignant reflection on what it means to live authentically despite seemingly insurmountable odds.”
Tomorrow will be different: Love, loss and the fight for trans equality
by Sarah McBride 2019. Forward by Joe Biden. (US)
“A brave, powerful memoir.” —PEOPLE
A captivating memoir that will change the way we look at identity and equality in this country.
“Before she became the first transgender person to speak at a national political convention in 2016 at the age of twenty-six, Sarah McBride struggled with the decision to come out — not just to her family but to the students of American University, where she was serving as student body president. She’d known she was a girl from her earliest memories, but it wasn’t until the Facebook post announcing her truth went viral that she realized just how much impact her story could have on the country. Four years later, McBride was one of the nation’s most prominent transgender activists, walking the halls of the White House, advocating inclusive legislation, and addressing the country in the midst of a heated presidential election. She had also found her first love and future husband, Andy, a trans man and fellow activist, who complemented her in every way . . . until cancer tragically intervened.
Informative, heartbreaking, and profoundly empowering, Tomorrow Will Be Different is McBride’s story of love and loss and a powerful entry point into the LGBTQ community’s battle for equal rights and what it means to be openly transgender. From issues like bathroom access to health care to gender in America, McBride weaves the important political and cultural milestones into a personal journey that will open hearts and change minds. As McBride urges: “We must never be a country that says there’s only one way to love, only one way to look, and only one way to live. The fight for equality and freedom has only just begun.”
The trans self-care workbook: A coloring book and journal for trans and non-binary people
By Theo Lorenz. Oct 2020. (US)
Theo is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.
“If you're transgender, non-binary, or any other gender under the wide and wonderful trans umbrella, this book is for you. A creative journal and workbook with a difference, this book combines coloring pages celebrating trans identity, beauty and relationships, with practical advice, journaling prompts and space for reflection to promote self-affirmation and wellbeing.
Drawing on CBT and mindfulness techniques, the book covers topics including body positivity and neutrality, coming out, euphoria and dysphoria, building new friendships and navigating relationships with your friends and family, and is the go-to resource for anybody who has ever felt the pressure to conform to a singular definition or narrative.
Theo Nicole Lorenz's heart-warming and empowering illustrations of trans people will provide reassurance that you are never alone, and are a reminder to always treat yourself kindly.”
The Trans Self-Care Workbook is the warm, consensual hug of affirmation that every trans and nonbinary person needs. Wisdom and insight about being trans is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. No matter whether you are exploring your gender or you have been out for a long time, this workbook will be a loving gift to yourself. ----Dr. Alex Iantaffi, Author of How To Understand Your Gender; Life Isn't Binary; and Gender Trauma
From the first comforting page to the last joyous exercise, the Trans Self-Care Workbook will help you to discover more about the trans movement and your own heart. Page after page invites you build a kind accepting relationship with yourself. What a glorious journey! ----Jeffrey Marsh, the first nonbinary activist on national TV, and author of the bestselling How To Be You
Theo Lorenz's Trans Self-Care Workbook is just the gentle friend and fierce ally that you need to guide you through your gender journey. Packed with beautiful pics to colour and awesome activities, the book covers everything from navigating dysphoria and euphoria, to coming out, to finding community. Theo's kind humour comes through on every page, reminding us that we're all trans enough, that wherever we are on our journey is okay, and that however tough it can be at times, we will get through this. I have so much love for this book. ----Meg-John Barker, co-author of How to Understand Your Gender, Life Isn't Binary, and Hell Yeah Self-Care
Transition: Becoming who I was always meant to be
By Chaz Bono, Billie Fitzpatraick. May 2012. (US)
“Imagine knowing, for decades, that the person you are and the body you inhabit don’t match up. Imagine pushing that feeling down so deep that you convince yourself, for years, that it doesn’t even exist. Imagine the havoc wreaked by such a secret. Now, imagine living this life under the scrutiny of the public eye. Chaz Bono has lived this life.”
Warrior princess: A U.S. Navy Seal’s journey to coming out transgender
by Kristin Beck. 2013. (US)
“Chris Beck played high school football. He bought a motorcycle, much to his mother’s dismay, at age 17. He grew up to become a U.S. Navy SEAL, serving our country for twenty years on thirteen deployments, including seven combat deployments, and ultimately earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. To everyone who saw him, he was a hero. A warrior. A man. But underneath his burly beard, Chris had a secret, one that had been buried deep inside his heart since he was a little boy – one as hidden as the pantyhose in the back of his drawer. He was transgender, and the woman inside needed to get out. This is the journey of a girl in a man’s body and her road to self-actualization as a woman amidst the PTSD of war, family rejection and our society’s strict gender rules and perceptions. It is about a fight to be free inside one’s own body, a fight that requires the strength of a Warrior Princess. Kristin’s story of boy to woman explores the tangled emotions of the transgender experience and opens up a new dialogue about being male or female: Is gender merely between your legs or is it something much bigger?”
Where’s the mother? Stories from a transgender dad
by Trevor MacDonald. 2016.
“In a time when to most people ‘pregnancy’ automatically means ‘motherhood’,” what is it like to get pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed a child all while being an out transgender man? When Trevor MacDonald decided to start a family, he knew that the world was going to have questions for him. As a transgender man in a gay relationship, Trevor has gone through the journeys of pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing all while exploring (and sometimes defending) his role as a trans dad. Trevor and his partner tackle all the questions new parents are familiar with, such as: Should we feed our baby breast milk or formula? Should we have a hospital or home birth? Other questions are much less familiar: How can a man cope with gender dysphoria when going through such female-coded rituals as childbirth and breastfeeding? How can a person breastfeed after having had chest masculinization surgery? How do we find donor milk to supplement our own modest milk supply? Luckily for the reader, Trevor explains his own answers to these questions with grace and humour. His stories convey the intimate and sometimes surprising realities of the transgender parenting experience. This memoir is a book about being a breastfeeding parent and a transgender man, and the many beautiful, moving, and difficult ways these two identities collide. It shows us that, ultimately, the parenting journey is beyond all our assumptions and preconceptions. “Where’s the Mother?” is a memoir about love and family like no other.”
Yes, you are trans enough: My transition from self-loathing to self-love
By Mia Violet. 2018. (US)
“This is the deeply personal and witty account of growing up as the kid who never fitted in. Transgender blogger Mia Violet reflects on her life and how at 26 she came to finally realise she was ''trans enough'' to be transgender, after years of knowing she was different but without the language to understand why.
From bullying, heartache and a botched coming out attempt, through to counselling, Gender Identity Clinics and acceptance, Mia confronts the ins and outs of transitioning, using her charged personal narrative to explore the inaccuracies of trans representation and confront what the media has gotten wrong.
Deeply affecting, and narrated with warmth and honesty, this is an essential read for anyone who has had to fight to be themselves.”
Mia Violet is a bisexual trans woman who has been documenting her transition at www.miaviolet.com for over 2 years. She is based in the UK and has written articles for Huffington Post, Bustle, and The F Word.
Longlisted for the Polari first book prize 2019.
WRITTEN BY THE PARTNER OF A TRANSGENDER PERSON
Love lives here: A story of thriving in a transgender family
By Amanda Jetté Knox. 2019. (Ontario)
Canadian author and advocate.
” An inspirational story of accepting and embracing two trans people in a family–a family who shows what’s possible when you “lead with love.” All Amanda Jetté Knox ever wanted was to enjoy a stable life. She never knew her biological father, and while her mother and stepfather were loving parents, the situation was sometimes chaotic. At school, she was bullied mercilessly, and at the age of fourteen, she entered a counselling program for alcohol addiction and was successful. While still a teenager, she met the love of her life. They were wed at 20, and the first of three children followed shortly. Jetté Knox finally had the stability she craved–or so it seemed. Their middle child struggled with depression and avoided school. The author was unprepared when the child she knew as her son came out as transgender at the age of eleven. Shocked, but knowing how important it was to support her daughter, Jetté Knox became an ardent advocate for trans rights.”
Click to read Amanda's family update July 2021 on Facebook.
On Twitter: @MavenOfMayhem
US & INTERNATIONAL
I know who you are, but what am I? A partner’s perspective on transgender love
by Ali Sands 2016. (US)
“Transgender stories are appearing everywhere in the media today. Caitlin Jenner, Chaz Bono and Janet Mock offer many inspiring visions of the journey people take to bring their bodies in line with their gender identity. But what goes on behind the scenes of gender transitioning? What about the spouses and families who watch and support their transgender partners through these epic journeys? Rarely do we hear about their experiences of loving transgender people. With literary poise and timely humor Ali Sands delivers a riveting memoir of finding her way through a labyrinth of changing identity from married heterosexual woman to lesbian lover to queer femme. Sands lays her soul open to readers, leading them through an odyssey of raw human emotion, as she recounts the intimate details of loving and living with a transgender man. Her modern journey of courage and self-discovery easily trumps that of any Homeric hero.”
She’s not the man I married: My life with a transgender husband
by Helen Boyd 2007. (US)
“Helen Boyd’s partner, who had long been open about cross-dressing, was considering living as a woman full time. Suddenly, Boyd was confronted with the reality of what it would mean if her partner were actually to transition—socially, legally, and medically. As Boyd struggles to understand the nature of marriage, passion, and love, she shares her confusion and anger, providing a fascinating observation of the ways in which relationships are gendered, and how we cope, or don’t, with the emotional and sexual pressures that gender roles can bring to our marriages and relationships. She’s Not the Man I Married is a more expansive examination of gender in relationships for couples of all sexualities and readers who fall anywhere along the gender spectrum.”