Top Book Recommendations for Trans and Nonbinary Students
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For transgender, nonbinary, and other gender-nonconforming students, there is often a lack of representation in their course material and readings. Trans and nonbinary students may be familiar with iconic works like Leslie Feinberg's "Stone Butch Blues" and Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble," but many aren't exposed to more modern and diverse works addressing gender identity. Below is an assembled collection of books for education and enjoyment that every trans student should consider reading.
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Nine Book Recommendations for Trans and Non-Binary Students
"Gender Outlaws: the Next Generation" by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman
Bornstein's "Gender Outlaws" was a revolutionary text that changed the conversation on gender ideology and transgender narratives. "Gender Outlaws: the Next Generation" is a collection of interviews, comics, essays, and other stories from trans and gender-nonconforming creators. It contains diverse perspectives about gender, race, religion, and sexuality across the trans spectrum.
"Dawn" (Xenogenesis Trilogy) by Octavia Butler
Butler's science fiction novel "Dawn"is the first in her Xenogenesis trilogy. Butler's novel features a Black protagonist who navigates issues of race, gender, and cultural differences in a world in crisis. Humanoid aliens come to Earth and attempt to repopulate the post-apocalyptic planet with the help of protagonist Lilith. Released in 1987, "Dawn" was one of the first novels of its kind to feature an extraterrestrial race with three genders — a theme that is now widely explored in science fiction.
"Wound From the Mouth of a Wound" by torrin a. greathouse
"Wound from the Mouth of a Wound" is a collection of poems from transgender "cripple-punk" poet torrin a. greathouse. Her poetry addresses themes like trauma, gender, and disability. This book creates beautiful yet graphic imagery of greathouse's experiences with disability and overcoming adversity.
"Beyond the Gender Binary" by Alok Vaid-Menon
"Beyond the Gender Binary" is part of the Pocket Change Collective — a collection of young adult books written by young activists from diverse backgrounds. These books challenge readers to look beyond binaries and explore the endless possibilities of gender identity. Vaid-Menon draws upon their own experience as a gender-nonconforming artist to provide advice to young people seeking to break the boundaries.
"Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws" by Kate Bornstein
Trans radical Bornstein's book offers guidance for trans and other queer teens who want to survive in a world that often works against them. This book is meant to be an unconventional, edgy, and oddly comforting guide for young trans people. Bornstein encourages youth to unapologetically be themselves and shatter society's expectations, while simultaneously giving 101 tips for how to keep going when things get tough.
"Girl Sex 101: A Queer Pleasure Guide for Women and Their Lovers" by Allison Moon
"Girl Sex 101" is a sex-ed guide published by popular sex educator Moon. The book also features advice from 13 guest sex educators. Moon gives advice on many topics, including sexual disabilities, relationships, and sex toys — just to name a few. This book talks frankly about safer sex and anatomy for cis and trans women that is hard to find elsewhere.
"The Collection: Short Fiction From the Transgender Vanguard" by Tom Léger and Riley MacLeod
Founders of Topside Press, Léger and MacLeod are two trans men with the goal of elevating authentic stories from the transgender community. "The Collection" features the narratives of 28 writers on the transgender spectrum from across the United States. This book is a collection of fictional short stories that illustrate the diversity of the trans experience and amplify voices that are not heard elsewhere in the creative arts.
"Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides
"Middlesex" is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book that has been featured in The New York Times and Oprah's Book Club. The book is loosely based on Eugenides' own life and features an intersex protagonist named Cal Stephanides. "Middlesex" is a best-selling coming-of-age story that explores themes of gender identity, Cal's familial lineage and genetics, and Greek mythology.
"The Argonauts" by Maggie Nelson
"The Argonauts" is a memoir describing Nelson's relationship with her partner and their journey through Nelson's pregnancy. This memoir combines the author's own experiences with famous theorists' ideas on sexuality, gender, family, and caretaking. "The Argonauts" provides readers with an intimate look into the making of a queer family.