13 Transgender Authors To Read On Trans Day Of Remembrance & Every Day
Nov. 20 marks this year's Transgender Day of Remembrance, which remembers the victims of anti-transgender violence. While its central premise is to honor those whose lives were taken, this day is also an opportunity to support the transgender community and the voices within it. In addition to volunteering with organizations like the National Center for Transgender Equality and learning how to be an ally, you can start delving into amazing books by trans authors as well.
There are countless trans artists who do incredible work that celebrates and highlights the trans experience. Stephanie Burt, for example, showed how powerful the spoken word can be in relaying your own lived experience when she gave a speech in 1993 that would "forever alter the course of transgender studies," Them's Wren Sanders wrote. While speaking at an academic conference in California, Stryker said in part,
“Hearken unto me, fellow creatures. I who have dwelt in a form unmatched with my desire, I whose flesh has become an assemblage of incongruous anatomical parts, I who achieve the similitude of a natural body only through an unnatural process, I offer you this warning: the Nature you bedevil me with is a lie. Do not trust it to protect you from what I represent, for it is a fabrication that cloaks the groundlessness of the privilege you seek to maintain for yourself at my expense. You are as constructed as me; the same anarchic Womb has birthed us both...Heed my words, and you may well discover the seams and sutures in yourself.”
Ultimately, Transgender Day of Remembrance isn't the only time of the year to seek out books and other pieces of writing by members of the LGBTQ community. So, if you're looking for a new book to dive into at any point during the year, consider reading these trans authors' work:
Charlie Jane Anders
Charlie Jane Anders is the author of several novels and short stories. Her most recent novel is called The City in the Middle of the Night, and has a sci-fi premise about a world in which people live on a planet divided between "permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other," per Amazon. Anders is also a prolific short story writer; you can read some of her stories here.
In addition to publishing his own books, Daniel Ortberg also co-founded the feminist website The Toast, where he still works as an editor. Ortberg wrote Texts From Jane Eyre, which re-told the famous story through the perspective of text messages. You can pre-order his upcoming book, Something That May Shock and Discredit You, which will be available in 2020.
Imogen Binnie is an author and podcast host known for her debut novel, Nevada, which follows a trans woman living in New York City and "trying to stay true to her punk values," per the Amazon summary. You can buy her book, or Binnie has endorsed a free download link that allows you to read it on PDF.
Julia Serano is a self-proclaimed "writer, performer, speaker, and activist." She's written three non-fiction books that cover topics including feminism, the state of the transgender activism and queer movements, and more. If you don't know where to start, you can buy her debut novel, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, at Amazon or wherever you buy your books.
Jennifer Finney Boylan
Susan Stryker, Ph.D., is the author of Transgender History: The Roots of Today's Revolution. She's also a professor of gender and sexuality studies who splits her time between the University of Arizona and Yale University.
Thomas Page McBee
Thomas Page McBee is an author, journalist, television writer, and the first ever transgender man to box at Madison Square Garden, per his site. He has written multiple books that examine traditional perspectives of masculinity and violence, including Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man. McBee has been described as a "questioner of masculinity" by The New York Times.
Vivek Shraya is a writer "whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film," according to her site. She wrote I'm Afraid of Men, which chronicles her own childhood and examines the "cumulative damage caused by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, releasing trauma from a body that has always refused to assimilate," per the Amazon summary.
Juliet Jacques is a freelance writer, author, and filmmaker based in London. For The Guardian, Jacques documented the process of her gender reassignment in a series titled A Transgender Journey. She also wrote Trans: A Memoir, which further details her experience of undergoing a sex reassignment surgery. The Amazon book summary describes the memoir as a "story of growing up, of defining yourself, and of the rapidly changing world of gender politics."
Jay Dodd is a poet and essayist. You can one of Dodd's poetry collections, The Black Condition ft. Narcissus, on Amazon. The poetry collection is described by Amazon as a "preemptive memoir, documenting the beginning of the author’s gender transition and paralleling the inauguration of our latest Administration."
Casey Plett is a Canadian writer who has written two books, an award-winning short story collection titled A Safe Girl to Love, and a novel called Little Fish. The novel "explores the winter of discontent in the life of one transgender woman as her past and future become irrevocably entwined," per Amazon's summary.
In addition to buying these books, you should also follow these authors on Twitter, if they have accounts. Lastly, you can support them by rating their books on Amazon, Goodreads, and more.