Book List

This is a list of trans books. Some of them I own. Some of them I don't. Some of them I would recommend. Some of them I wouldn't. I'll probably add comments at some point, but the main reason for my posting this list is that we recently had the first Dina Shabbaton, and some of the participants were interested in some of the books I had, and I said I'd send them a list.

Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us
Kate Bornstein
After I'd decided to transition, but before I actually did (there was about a 3 month gap), I met my friend Dana online. She was a godsend. She helped me so much, not least by being someone I could talk to. She sent me a care package with three books in it. The first of these was Kate Bornstein's Gender Outlaw. It was a pretty cool book. I particularly liked (loved, really) the chapter "The Seven-Year Itch". It resonated strongly with a lot of my experience. Not all of the book is going to be to everyone's taste, but I can't recommend it enough.
My Story
Caroline Cossey
The second book in Dana's care package was Caroline Cossey's memoir, My Story. Seeing Tula, and realizing that I wasn't necessarily going to be doomed to look like a freak, made a big difference for me. It's an interesting book, but of course, how many of us are ever going to look like her? Still, I recommend it. Whether that's because it's really good or just because it makes me feel nostalgic... who knows?
Nearly Roadkill
Caitlin Sullivan & Kate Bornstein
I don't really remember when I got this one. I was already in transition, though. It's a cute novel, mostly written in chat. That is to say, probably more than half of the book looks like a transcript of a chat room. I know that sounds strange, but it's the least strange thing about the book, and it actually works for the story. Another recommendation.
Mom, I Need to Be a Girl
Just Evelyn
When I was transitioning, I was on the Transgen e-mail list. I met a lot of interesting people there, not least of whom was Just Evelyn. Evelyn posted to the list to tell us about her daughter Danielle. When Danielle told her mom that she needed to be a girl, Evelyn picked up her family (her and her three children) and moved to another town so that Danielle could go to school as her true self. There was a clamor of posts asking Evelyn if she was interesting in adopting, because such a thing was a dream for most of us. It's a truly inspiring story, and I recommend it highly.
Christine Jorgensen: A Personal Autobiography
Christine Jorgensen
I don't know if I recommend this one so much. It's okay, but everything happened so long ago and in such a different context that it's not quite as compelling, at least to me. Christine Jorgensen may be the most famous transsexual ever. She was certainly a trailblazer. I first saw this book when I was a teenager. I was with my Mom at a thrift shop where she was dropping some stuff off, and I saw it. I wanted to get it so badly (all I'd read up to that point was Renee Richard's Second Serve, which wasn't really that good. But there was no change in the world of me buying that book in front of my Mom. So when we left to go out to the car, I said, "Oh, no, I forgot something!" and ran back in, where I bought the book and stuck it in my back pocket so that my Mom wouldn't see. Yes, call me a chicken.
Mirrors: Portrait of a Lesbian Transsexual
Geri Nettick with Beth Elliot
I got this one... I don't know, probably a few months after I realized I was a lesbian. It's wicked cool, really. Her story, while very different from mine, is eye-opening, and a real adventure. A big recommendation for this book.
Crossing: A Memoir
Deirdre N. McCloskey
This is okay. Truth is, I don't really remember much about it. But that probably has more to do with when I got it and read it than the book itself. If I don't recommend it it's not that I'm recommending against it... I just don't really have a lot to say about it.
Luna: A Novel
Julie Anne Peters
This was really uncomfortable to read. My sister is an author of young adult books, and she heard about this book before I did and recommended it to me. It's probably the first trans book for young adults. The thing is... Luna (the transkid in the book) is so incredibly selfish. Self-centered, I mean. You have to be in order to survive transition, but even so, it was uncomfortable to read. Still, I have to recommend this one, if only for its uniqueness.
My Gender Workbook
Kate Bornstein
This was okay. I got it because I'd met Kate (through Dana), and because Gender Outlaw was so amazing. But it's a bit too deconstructing of gender for my taste. I like binary gender. Blur isn't for me.
She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders
Jennifer Finney Boylan
The first time I saw Jenny Boylan was probably on Oprah. She was just so amazing. Here was this wonderful, articulate, good looking transwoman, and it was like she almost made up for all of the unfortunate representatives we've had on TV in the past. I got this one in hardcover, because there was no way I was going to wait until it came out in paper.
Transgender Warriors
Leslie Feinberg
I used to have this book. But my apartment burned down, and it was a casualty. Personally, I'm not wild about Leslie's Marxist world view, but the book was definitely interesting. And it had one of my favorite cartoons reprinted in it, which, if I can find a copy, I'll put on this page. It's from Dykes To Watch Out For, by Alison Bechdel.
Trans-Sister Radio
Chris Bohjalian
Wonderful, wonderful novel. The truest-to-life story about a trans character (and several other great characters, as well) that I've had the pleasure of reading. Chris Bohjalian deserves major kudos for doing this so well. A super-hyper-ultra-recommendation for this one.
No Half Measures
Jenny Walker
Unfortunately, this one isn't available on, but it's up on Yes, it's tranny fiction. No, it's not the usual sex-soaked, forced feminization stuff that usually fits that category. If you can read this book and not totally fall in love with Cara Malone, you have a heart of stone. It's long enough that Jenny Walker really apparently did need to cut it into two books, but trust me, read this one.