10 books about transgender and nonbinary folks you don’t want to miss

10 books about transgender and nonbinary folks you don’t want to miss

This year’s Trans Day of Visibility is on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. What is it? An annual day to celebrate and center transgender folks and their countless contributions to society. This day is separate from the Trans Day of Remembrance, which commemorates lives lost. Some ways to honor and celebrate Trans Day of Visibility in any given year? Take time to brush up on allyship, pronouns, and donate to trans-focused groups and mutual aid funds if you’re able. 

Something else you can do? Promote and consume trans media. Supporting media is a great way to expand your own mind and knowledge, while also supporting creators and businesses that support trans stories. Given that funds are understandably short for many during the pandemic, remember that you can support authors by requesting books at your local library and by reviewing what you’ve read in the past. Below is a round-up of ten great books (some currently out, some forthcoming) that center trans stories. If you have other suggestions, please do leave them in the comments!

1. Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

This adult literary novel is one of my personal favorite reads of the last year. The novel speaks to so many important subjects: parenting, relationships, affairs, friendships, surviving in an expensive city (in this novel’s case, New York), and, of course, growth and understanding. This book invites cisgender readers into an intimate trans world and it’s a real gift and delight. Smart, beautiful prose with fascinating characters makes this one a must-read.

2. Felix Everafter by Kacen Callender

This young adult novel focuses on Felix, a Black, queer, transgender teen, who falls in love for the first time. At the start of the book, Felix begins to receive anonymous hate messages and tries to “catfish” the person in response. The result? A very unexpected love triangle. 

3. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Set in Nigeria, Emezi takes on the backward journey of the death of a young person named Vivek whose friends keep their secrets as their family seeks answers to questions they didn’t want to face while Vivek was alive. This novel is both beautiful and heartbreaking and at times hard to read. It’s a gorgeous rendition of grief, family, and secrets people keep in an effort to protect loved ones—sometimes at their own expense. An emotional and harrowing read. 

4. Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee 

This young adult, contemporary, rom-com style novel involves a trans protagonist who is very online and has a blog dedicated to happy ever afters for transgender folks. The protagonist’s first love, however, changes his ideas about what constitutes a perfect relationship. If you’re a fan of the “fake dating” rom-com trope, you’ll certainly love this unique and modern story, due out in May 2021.

5. Fairest: A Memoir by Meredith Talusan

In her debut memoir, Talusan writes about her life experiences as a transgender Filipino immigrant who lives with albinism. The writing is poetic, raw, and covers victories, tragedies, and deep pain. It’s a fascinating and unique look at gender, sexuality, colorism, racism, privilege, and family. 

6. The Natural Mother of the Child : A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood by Krys Malcolm Belc

This is one of my personal favorite essay collections in recent years. Belc, a transmasculine parent, writes about contemporary parenthood, including their pregnancy. Belc uses media to weave their story—including copies of legal documents and family photos—to talk about childhood, family roots, health, work, and changing relationships. The essay collection is smart, brilliantly written, and deeply moving. The book is forthcoming and should hit shelves in June 2021. There will actually be an interview with Belc in Daily Kos this summer talking about this book, and Belc’s insights into the current political climate. 

7. Future Feeling by Joss Lake

This novel, due out in June 2021, is both inventive and subversive. Focusing on three young trans men, readers are introduced to a world obsessed with social media, hexes, and an underground queer movement. This book would be a great fit if you’re into speculative or futuristic fiction, and especially so if you’re interested in the ways social media and technology impact our connections with others and ourselves.

8. Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride

If there’s one name you almost certainly recognize from this list, it’s likely McBride’s. Why? Because as Daily Kos has covered, McBride is the first openly transgender state senator in the nation’s history. This memoir covers both McBride’s personal coming-out story as well as a larger look at trans rights and politics.

9. The Black Condition ft. Narcissus by jayy dodd

This is a very unique book that mixes poetry and memoir to tell the narrator’s story of gender transition. The book also looks at race, desire, self-love, contemporary politics, and more. The form of this book is particularly fresh and gives the effect of experiencing a mixtape or social media. 

10. When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff 

When Aidan Became a Brother is an extremely sweet picture book. If you don’t have young ones in your family, I highly recommend requesting it for your local libraries, book stores, and school drives. It’s an illustrated story of a young biracial boy’s transition and his journey to becoming a big brother. 

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