March 31st is International Transgender Day of Visibility. To celebrate the contributions made to our society and to literature by trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming individuals, we are highlighting a collection of compelling memoirs, autobiographies and stories about transgender lives, written by those who live them. Click on the titles to check out the books using your library card.
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 attracting 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 members of his family 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."
What does it mean to be transgender? How do we discuss the subject? In this eye-opening book, CN Lester, academic and activist, takes us on a journey through some of the most pressing issues concerning the trans debate: from pronouns to Caitlyn Jenner; from feminist and LGBTQ activists, to the rise in referrals for gender variant children - all by way of insightful and moving passages about the author's own experience. Trans Like Me shows us how to strive for authenticity in a world which often seeks to limit us by way of labels.
Author and photographer Susan Kuklin 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, 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.
Beyond Trans pushes the conversation on gender identity to its limits: questioning the need for gender categories in the first place. Whether on birth certificates or college admissions applications or on bathroom doors, why do we need to mark people and places with sex categories? Do they serve a real purpose or are these places and forms just mechanisms of exclusion? Heath Fogg Davis offers an impassioned call to rethink the usefulness of dividing the world into not just Male and Female categories but even additional categories of Transgender and gender fluid. Davis, himself a transgender man, explores the underlying gender-enforcing policies and customs in American life that have led to transgender bathroom bills, college admissions controversies, and more, arguing that it is necessary for our society to take real steps to challenge the assumption that gender matters. Speaking from his own experience and drawing upon major cases of sex discrimination in the news and in the courts, Davis presents a persuasive case for challenging how individuals are classified according to sex and offers concrete recommendations for alleviating sex identity discrimination and sex-based disadvantage.
This is the deeply personal and witty account of growing up as the kid who never fit in. Transgender blogger Mia Violet reflects on her life and how at 26 she came to finally realize 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 counseling, Gender Identity Clinics and acceptance, Mia confronts the ins and outs of transitioning, using her charged personal narrative to explore the most pressing questions in the transgender debate and confront what the media has gotten wrong. An essential read for anyone who has had to fight to be themselves.--Amazon.com
Before he became known for his YouTube videos, Alex Bertie was an isolated, often-afraid transgender teenager looking for answers. In this revolutionary memoir and valuable resource, Alex recounts his life, struggles, and victories as a young trans man. Along the way, he provides readers with accessible, highly researched explanations of gender, sexuality, and transitions of all kinds. He explores without judgment how complicated identities can be and how many equally authentic ways there are to live as yourself and find happiness. With clarity and compassion, Alex writes as a supportive older brother for transitioning teens, their allies, their parents, and anyone looking to better understand others – and themselves.
In this thought-provoking debut novel, Reese, a trans woman, her detransitioned ex, and his cisgender lover build an unconventional family together in the wake of heartbreak and an unplanned pregnancy.
"Riveting, rousing, and utterly real, Surpassing Certainty is a portrait of a young woman searching for her purpose and place in the world--without a road map to guide her. The journey begins a few months before her twentieth birthday. Janet Mock is adjusting to her days as a first-generation college student at the University of Hawaii and her nights as a dancer at a strip club. Finally content in her body, she vacillates between flaunting and concealing herself as she navigates dating and disclosure, sex and intimacy, and most important, letting herself be truly seen.
Despite her disadvantages, fueled by her dreams and inimitable drive, Janet makes her way through New York City while holding her truth close. She builds a career in the highly competitive world of magazine publishing--within the unique context of being trans, a woman, and a person of color. Long before she became one of the world's most respected media figures and lauded leaders for equality and justice, Janet was a girl taking the time she needed to just be--to learn how to advocate for herself before becoming an advocate for others. As you witness Janet's slow-won success and painful failures, Surpassing Certainty will embolden you, shift the way you see others, and affirm your journey in search of self"--Provided by publisher.
A powerful meditation on the damaging effects of masculinity from a trans girl--a writer with celebrated indie roots and a knack for dismantling assumptions and challenging the status quo. Toxic masculinity takes many insidious forms, from misogyny and sexual harassment to homophobia, transphobia, and bullying. Vivek Shraya has firsthand experience with nearly all of them. As a boy, Vivek exhibited "feminine" qualities. The men in her life immediately and violently disapproved. They taught her to fear the word girl by turning it into a weapon used to hurt her. They taught her to hate her femininity, to destroy the best parts of herself. In order to survive, Vivek had to learn to convincingly perform masculinity.
As a girl, she's still afraid. Having spent years undoing the damage and salvaging her lost girlhood, she is haunted by the violence of men, seldom dressing the way she wants in public. As a result she is often still perceived as male, stirring feelings of guilt and self-doubt: Am I not feminine enough? Is this my fault for striving to be the perfect man and excelling at it? I'm Afraid of Men is a culmination of the years Vivek spent observing men and creating her own version of manhood. Through deeply personal reflection, she offers a rare and multifaceted perspective on gender and a hopeful reimagining of masculinity at a time when it's needed more than ever.
The provocative transgender advocate and lead singer of the punk rock band Against Me! provides a searing account of her search for identity and her true self.
Summaries provided via SPL’s catalog. Click through each book’s title for more.
- adult nonfiction
- trans visibility
- young adult fiction