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Looking for your next great read? Here are some of the best transgender books for adults

Robyn Exton

Mar 09, 2023

Looking for your next great read? Here are some of the best transgender books for adults
  • Hey there, queer bookworms! If you’re looking for some fabulous reads that celebrate and explore the transgender experience, then you’re in luck because I’ve compiled a list of some of the best transgender books out there.

    Whether you’re looking for books by trans authors or books about trans folks, you’ll find trans books in this list that will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. 

    If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

    Source: Goodreads

    This YA novel tells the story of Amanda, a girl with a secret. Amanda moved to a new town in the Southern US to get a fresh start. She is determined to keep her distance to protect herself and her past. But shielding her heart proves difficult when she meets Grant, the friendly and chill guy she can’t seem to get off her mind. She wants to trust him — and her new friends. But she’s afraid she’ll lose everything if they find out the truth. 

    There’s a difference between a book where the story is centered on the trans experience, and a book with a trans character. The magic of this book are the utterly typical experiences of Amanda. Yes, she’s trans and that’s important to the plot. But she’s also just a normal, genuinely likable girl navigating the challenges of high school. If you’re looking to broaden your understanding of the transgender experience, this genuine portrayal is a must-read. But be aware, it does cover some dark topics including suicide, assault, and rape.

    Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alice Rumfitt

    Source: Macmillan Publishers

    Written by trans author Alice Rumfitt, Tell Me I’m Worthless presents a fearlessly honest portrayal of trans life in the frame of a brutal haunted house horror story. This is raw and edgy horror at its best. This dark book delves into trauma, fascism, national hatred, and trans violence, with a touch of dark humor. Yes, the haunted house is an overused trope. But this original — and highly disturbing — story will draw you in and keep you flipping pages. 

    It all started three years ago when Alice’s life started spiraling out of control after spending one night in Albion, an abandoned house in the UK, with her friends Ila and Hannah. That’s when Alice’s life started spiraling out of control. After her relationship with Ila was destroyed by what happened in Albion and the years that have followed, the former lovers must team up and go back to that house to figure out what happened to their friend Hannah, who hasn’t been seen since that fateful night.

    Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki


    An innovative work of science fiction, Light From Uncommon Stars follows the journey of a trans runaway teen named Katrina Nguyen. In her escape from her abusive home, Katrina grabs her beloved violin and travels to the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California where she meets Shizuka, a world-famous instructor of violin prodigies.

    Even though Katrina has no formal training, Shizuka knows talent when she sees it and takes Katrina under her wing. But there’s a dark motive lurking behind Shizuka’s generosity. Decades before, Shizuka made a pact with the devil. So far, she’s persuaded 6 violin students to sell their souls for fame and glory, and she only has one to go. 

    Light From Uncommon Stars explores the trans experience, the competitive violin scene, and the way our lives are touched by those we meet — all within the backdrop of a science fiction narrative. If you’re looking for some inclusive sci-fi (or just love a good LGBTQ+ story) this is the book for you.

    To Strip the Flesh by Oto Toda


    Looking for some trans manga? I’ve got you! To Strip the Flesh, written by Oto Toda and translated by Emily Balistrieri is a thought-provoking, beautifully drawn collection of 6 short manga stories. 

    Chiaki Ogawa has always known that he is a boy. But the world hasn’t been so accepting. Chiaki’s story takes a raw, but beautiful look at how he copes with the conflict between his gender identity, his feminine body, and his parents’ expectations. Chiaki tries his best to honor his mother’s dying wish for him to “grow up to be a beautiful bride,” as he cares for his sick father. 

    But Chiaki can only pretend to be someone he’s not for so long… 

    A Dream of a Woman by Casey Plett


    Looking for something a little more bite-sized? Then A Dream of A Woman might just be for you. In this collection of short stories + one novella, award-winning author Casey Plett centers trans women as she explores the challenges of transmisogyny and interpersonal relationships..

    Plett — a master at creating authentic characters — pulls back the curtain and lets you peer through the window into the lives of trans women in locales like prairie high-rises, New York warehouses, damp days in Oregon, and frigid Canadian winters.

    These are short stories, but they’re not light reading. Plett takes difficult topics head-on including addiction, betrayal, and assault. But ultimately, the women in these stories will feel like friends. And you may just miss them when you turn that last page.

    Why read trans books?

    With books being banned by the hundreds these days, supporting authors who write books about gender identities and trans characters is nothing short of revolutionary. Reading banned books is not only a form of rebellion against censorship, but a defiant act of solidarity with this marginalized community.

    Seeking out and supporting these books can give us all a deeper understanding of the transgender experience while fighting against discrimination and prejudice. So let’s crack open a book and smash the patriarchy 🙌

    Robyn Exton

    Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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