So I’ve mentioned a lot in the way of books. I actually have started reading a lot since I came out as queer, looking to discover more of my new heritage and history.
I haven’t really come up with any major discoveries or anything, though I’ve found some really good thoughts.
I’ve explored areas touching on my own identity quite a bit. I think I’d like to grow my knowledge for identities adjacent to mine, such as queerness + non-whiteness, or the history of the gay community. Or maybe European queer history? So much of my information is US-centric, and I’d like to learn a bit more outside of the big ones like Hirschfeld.
But in the meantime, here’s a few things I’ve read and my thoughts around them. Note I’ve linked to Goodreads as I’m not comfortable linking to Amazon or B&N. Many of these are available in your local library, so I’d recommend stopping there as well.
#Trans – An anthology of modern trans voices, with a focus on how technology, social media, and YouTube has helped them discover their identities. A really good book, and has some interesting stories. Also let me discover the trans YouTube network, which is awesome.
Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us – Kate Bornstein is great. This book covers a lot of the fundamentals of what being trans means from a rather irreverent standpoint, but honestly I like things that take themselves less seriously anyway.
Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation – An anthology edited by Bornstein, with modern trans voices. Some really interesting things in there. Definitely recommend for some 201 reading.
Transgender History – A very broad view on the history of trans folks in America and bits of Europe in the past 100 years or so. I liked it quite a lot, and definitely useful for an overview of the politics involved.
Whipping Girl – Julia Serano’s classic work. It’s a bit hyperfocused on defending transwomen, but really good at dealing with that lack of knowledge.
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves – A giant textbook covering many aspects of being transgender, from medical issues, politics, history, sex, dating, and a lot more. It’s really helpful, but also somewhat overwhelming. I’d recommend using it more as a reference than reading cover to cover.
Femme / Lesbian History
Femme: Feminists, Lesbians, and Bad Girls – Great anthology that is all about addressing the stereotypes of the femme, from being tools of the patriarchy, to “not really lesbians”, to the good girls men want. Has a fairly historical view too, which I appreciate. Doesn’t deal with trans issues at all though.
Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme – Very queer anthology about the different approaches to what it means to be a butch, femme, and somewhere in between. Very intersectional and has a lot of non-binary and trans voices. Super recommend.
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl – A wild tale about a trans shapeshifter named Paul and his story of excess across America. Super queer. Note it’s not in print anymore, but you can totally get it from the library if you’re an NYC local.
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars – A really fun coming of age story from a deeply unreliable narrator, it takes the ordinary struggles of what it means to be a trans woman and turns it into a magical modern fantasy, almost.
Freshwater – A really intense story about a Nigerian woman, Ada, and their life as someone with a foot in two worlds. Has some really interesting mythology, and uses some really wonderful metaphors to try and convey the non-binary experience. Has some dark themes though, so CW for self harm and sexual assault, among other things.
Stone Butch Blues – This book made me cry multiple times. It’s a very sad and sometimes dark story, but also deeply powerful. Seriously, if you can take the content I’d super recommend it.
Femme in Public – Book of poetry by Alok Vaid-Menon, a non-binary femme based in NYC. Some deeply powerful poems about what it means to defy social norms.
Arcane Perfection – An anthology on queer witchcraft. Some very useful things in there, including spells for warding off your deadname and ways to channel dysphoria. If you’re at all mystical and queer, I’d recommend looking it up.
Girl Sex 101 – Reading this now, but so far having very good impressions. It’s an illustrated guide to having sapphic sex, and takes a fairly intersectional approach, covering all sorts of equipment, disabilities, and body types. I’d recommend this for bi or straight women too, as it provides great guides to consent and how to navigate your own body.