My never-ending list of books to check out is perhaps unsurprisingly (because #TransIsBrilliant) full of ones by trans and gender non-conforming writers. Many of them are included in my ambitious book-buying ventures, seeing as I can't resist buying them when I see them in real life - especially if I get to support an independent/queer/feminist bookstore at the same time. They're just so pretty! Anywho... here is a smidgen of that list, some of which I've actually managed to read a bit. You'll undoubtedly recognize a few names, and I'm hoping hear about some folks you didn't know are out here living out Toni Morrison's quote, "If there's a book you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."
For those of you looking to bring some amazing speakers to campus for LGBT History Month in October or Trans Awareness Month in November, this is a pretty good list to work through too.
Before I get started, a note that this is just a quick short list that doesn't involve any particular type of ranking, nor does it imply anything if your favorite TGNC author happens to not be on it. Feel free to comment and share some of your faves below... or your own books if you're a writer that's TGNC. I've also tried to find links where you can buy copies of their books and support the publishers directly, many of which as you'll see are independent ones and/or ones ran by trans people themselves.
I have to start with Leslie Feinberg. Leslie's work was among the first I ever read written by a trans person - that I know of or can remember. I came upon the legendary Stone Butch Blues (1993, republished 2003) in undergrad, which changed my entire life, and then quickly went through Trans Liberation: Beyond Pink or Blue (1998), Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman (1999), and my favorite of Leslie's Drag King Dreams (2006). I still shake a little when I remember that I got to introduce Leslie Feinberg at the 2001 Midwest BLGTA Colleges Conference when we hosted it at Michigan State.
Another early trans author for me was Julia Serano and her book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, the second edition having just been released this year! It was probably the first real challenge to understanding how masculine privilege was operating in my life that I can remember hearing and not feeling completely erased as a trans person. Her follow up, Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, is obviously the next must-read after that one and an obvious choice to add to your campus gender and sexuality centers' shelves.
There's no way this list is not going to include Janet Mock. Because Janet redefines everything. Janet IS everything. And I still flinch any time I realize the person I'm talking to hasn't heard of, let alone read, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, & So Much More. Come again?! The fact that she coordinates an annual Trans Book Drive to support LGBT Books to Prisoners, send hundreds of copies to trans prisoners, and promote books written by and about queer and trans people of color, just makes me love her even more. As an incisive cultural critic, some of Janet's best work is on her blog, talking about everything from Beyonce's Lemonade to Jaden Smith's Louis Vuitton ad, and in her entirely-too-short-lived MSNBC show So Popular! so be sure to check those out too. I can't wait to get my hands on FIRSTS: A Memoir of the Twenties Experience when that comes out next year.
It's actually through Janet Mock's Trans Book Drive that I've come across these next 3 writers (and shamefully still haven't read). Relevant, read Janet's piece on Not All Memoirs Are Created Equal: The Gatekeeping of Trans Women of Color's Stories.
First is Lovemme Corazón's debut book Trauma Queen, a memoir about their childhood trauma of rape and abuse has shaped their life. It is currently only available in e-version, with the few printed versions out there selling for $100+. The next one is Morgan Robyn Collado's collection of selected poems entitled Make Love to Rage. I mean, I just love even reading that title over and over again. And of course b. binaohan's book decolonizing trans/gender 101, which is actually a pretty short read. She is also the founder of biyuti publishing that publishes all 3 of these books!
Speaking of edited volumes, these next three are just that. Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community is exactly what it advertises and it is a huge tome attempting to be just that. It includes contributions from dozens of trans experts in matters such as law, employment, health, transition, relationships, and activism to name a few. So a good reference book to have handy. The other one I'm really excited about is Outside the XY: Queer Black and Brown Masculinity which is an anthology gathered by bklyn boihood and was an amazingly community-driven effort. I'll be pre-ordering that as soon as it's up on the 25th later this month. Another one on my list is Nia King's collection of 16 "unique and honest conversations" entitled Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives. Although I believe Nia herself does not identify as trans and/or gender nonconforming, many of the folks she's in conversation with do and their words are important as artists of color.
Of course this list could go on forever, so I just gotta stop somewhere. If your appetite is unquenched (and who could blame you?), here are a couple of other lists to peruse:
Finding Trans Writers in Your Favorite Genres
15 Books By Transgender Women You Need to Read Immediately
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