Reading is a great way to get a peek into someone else’s life, and there are so many stories from people all along the gender spectrum to learn about. We’ve made a list of books to check out if you’re looking to know more about gender studies and trans issues. Some of our picks include tell-all biographies, guides for those new to the concept of transgenderism, and historical reviews of famous activists in the trans movement.
If you want to gain some more knowledge on gender studies, pick out a gift for an interested friend, or have a useful resource handy around the house, check out our list and see if any of these books jump out at you!
Biographies and Memoirs
- Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
- An autobiography of a multiracial trans woman, Janet Mock’s book details her personal story while highlighting shared experiences of both trans women and women of colour. Her candid writing will take you through the narrative of her struggles and triumphs to see what one heroine made out of her humble beginnings.
- Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
- This autobiography by biologist and transgender activist Julia Serano examines society’s attitudes towards femininity. She writes about her experiences both before and after transitioning with a focus on how our attitudes towards gender and trans women are shaped.
- Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen
- This memoir of a seventeen-year-old student describes the experience of deciding to undergo gender reassignment. Arin Andrews details the challenges of transitioning in high school and reminds us that self-acceptance is something to be built.
- She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders
- Written by Jennifer Finney Boylan, this autobiography is a story about sex-change. Filled with plenty of humour, your ideas on gender may also change after reading this book.
- Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us
- This book offers both humour and history to explain the often hostile world of gender politics. Kate Bornstein uses her life experiences as a transgender woman to discuss the two-gender system and those who don’t fit into it.
- As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl
- Based on the famous story of David Reimer, this book details a radical medical procedure that altered a baby’s gender in 1967. John Colapinto recounts the dramatic events and the decisions that one man made after discovering the truth about himself.
- Becoming a Visible Man
- Part autobiography, part analysis, Jamison Green offers a look into the experience of a female-to-male transition and the challenges faced along the way including hardships with family, encounters of ignorance and prejudice, and the limited visibility of the FTM community.
- The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male
- Max Valerio’s three part autobiography addresses the emotional and physical changes involved in FTM transitioning. Also touching on male privilege, physical and biological differences in sex, and self-perception, this book will challenge and change your thoughts on the gender binary.
- Sexual Metamorphosis: An Anthology of Transsexual Memoirs
- These memoirs come from some of the early pioneers in gender variance. The stories come from a time that may now seem alien to some people today, though the emotions detailed in them will continue to resonate with readers no matter the generation.
- Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton
- A fascinating biography that tells the tale of Billy Tipton, born Dorothy Tipton, who had a long and successful life as a performer, husband, and father, with a well-kept secret from nearly everyone in his life.
- Trans: A Memoir
- The frank writing style of Juliet Jacques accompanies her memoir of her undergoing sex reassignment surgery, one change among many in her journey of self actualization. Her honest, self-reflective tone takes you through her struggles and frustrations with the media and politics as she pushes towards her goals of happiness and fulfilment.
- Crossing: A Memoir
- Growing up in the conservative culture of the 1950s and ’60s, Deirdre McCloskey’s childhood as a young boy and her adult life as a woman are starkly separated by the gender line. Her journey to learn how to be a woman reveals much of her own insecurities as well as our assumptions about gender identity.
- Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender
- In both attraction and self-identification, gender is a complex part of the equation. This memoir explores both as a young Nina Krieger discovers queer friends in San Francisco’s Castro neighbourhood and discovers more of herself in the process.
Guides and Self Help
- The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals
- This handbook is a great guide for families, providing advice and introductory knowledge on raising transgender children. From cribs to college, it will address the myriad of issues that come up along the way, and how an understanding parent can navigate them.
- Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children
- Another resource about children living outside of gender norms, this book is useful for parents, educators, and clinicians alike. Written by developmental and clinical psychologist Diane Ehrensaft, this book will help create the framework to set children up to be unique and gender-authentic.