Transgender Reading List for Adults
Questions about transgender issues, gender identity, and transitioning aren’t just for kids and young adults. Adults have plenty of questions about those issues, and several more besides: how best to help a child who’s questioning their gender, how to help a friend or family member in transition, how to be a good friend or ally, or how to navigate the many complex legal issues that surround being transgender. The answers to those, and many other, questions can be found in the books below. You can donate to PFLAG National by signing into Amazon Smile—smile.amazon.com—prior to purchasing any of these titles.
Becoming A Visible Man by Jamison Green, Ph.D.: Combines candid autobiography with informed analysis to offer unique insight into the multiple challenges of the female-to-male transsexual experience, ranging from encounters with prejudice and strained relationships with family to the development of an FTM community and the realities of surgical sex reassignment.
Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender-Nonconforming Children by Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D: Ehrensaft offers parents, clinicians, and educators guidance on both the philosophical dilemmas and the practical, daily concerns of working with children who don’t fit a “typical” gender mold. She debunks outmoded approaches to gender nonconformity that may actually do children harm. And she offers a new framework for helping each child become his or her own unique, most gender-authentic person.
Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us by Kate Bornstein: Part coming-of-age story, part mind-altering manifesto on gender and sexuality, drawn directly from the life experiences of a transsexual woman.
Helping Your Transgender Teen: A guide for parents by Irwin Krieger: If you are the parent of a transgender teen, this book will help you understand what your child is feeling and experiencing. Irwin Krieger is a clinical social worker with many years of experience helping transgender teens. This book brings you the insights gained from his work with these teenagers and their families.
He’s My Daughter: A Mother’s Journey to Acceptance by Eve Langley: Lynda’s account of how she adjusted to the reality that her eldest son had decided to physically become a woman is the story of a family. Tears and laughter, support and withdrawal, accompany Toni–now the eldest daughter–as she maps out her new life. And with her all the time is Lynda, her mother. Helping to select her wardrobe, guiding her in the subtleties of speech and behavior, and supporting her, especially in the early stages of her new life as a woman.
The Last Time I Wore A Dress by Daphne Scholinski: This memoir recounts the author’s three years spent in mental institutions for, among other things, Gender Identity Disorder. Because she was a tomboy who wore jeans and T-shirts and didn’t act enough like a girl, her treatment, in addition to talk therapy, isolation, and drugs, required her to wear makeup, walk with a swing in her hips, and pretend to be obsessed with boys.
My Husband Betty by Helen Boyd: Author Helen Boyd is a happily married woman whose husband enjoys sharing her wardrobe. Boyd gives a thoughtful account of their relationship (as well as the relationships of other crossdressers she knows) in this forthright and revelatory book.
On the Couch with Dr. Angello: Raising & Supporting Transgender Youth by Dr. Michele Angello: When a single child comes out, their entire family will transition, along with their community. This is an eye-opening guide to navigating social spaces when most don’t quite understand the process of changing genders.
Queerly Beloved by Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall: After fifteen years as a lesbian couple, Jacob came out to Diane as a transgender man. Eight years later, the couple not only remains together, they still identify as queer, still work in LGBT media, and remain part of the LGBT community. The authors delve into their relationship to reveal the trials and tribulations they have faced along the way.
Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son by Lori Duron: A frank, heartfelt, and brutally funny account of Duron and her family’s adventures of distress and happiness raising a gender-creative son.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock: In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community.
The Right To Be Out: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in America’s Public Schools by Stuart Biegel: Biegel begins with a cogent history and analysis of the dramatic legal developments concerning the rights of LGBT persons since 1968. He then turns to what K–12 schools should do-and in many cases have already done-to implement right-to-be-out policies. He examines recent legal and public policy changes that affect LGBT students and educators in the K–12 public school system. Underlying all of these issues, he shows, is an implicit tension about the right to be out, a right that is seen as fundamental within LGBT communities today and, legally, draws on both the First Amendment right to express an identity and the Fourteenth Amendment right to be treated equally. Biegel addresses the implications of asserting and protecting this right within the hotly contested terrain of America’s public schools.
She’s Not the Man I Married: My Life with a Transgender Husband by Helen Boyd: As Boyd struggles to understand the nature of marriage, passion, and love, she shares her confusion and anger, providing a fascinating observation of the ways in which relationships are gendered, and how we cope, or don’t, with the emotional and sexual pressures that gender roles can bring to our marriages and relationships.
She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan: This bestseller is the winning, utterly surprising story of a person changing genders. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Boylan explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family.
The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook: A Guide to Gender by Sam Killerman: A book about gender with no mention of the word “hegemony,” but plenty of references to Star Wars, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek—with less of a focus on overwhelming scholarship and more of a focus on enjoyable learning. A couple hundred pages of gender exploration, social justice how-tos, practical resources, and fun graphics and comics, it offers clear, easily-digested, and practical explanations of one of the most commonly misunderstood things about people.
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg: Published in 1993, this brave, original novel is considered to be the finest account ever written of the complexities of a transgender existence.
Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan: A father for six years, a mother for ten, and for a time in between, neither, or both, Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as she transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Boylan asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents.
Supporting and Caring for Our Gender Expansive Youth, a report from Gender Spectrum and the Human Rights Campaign: This report examines the experiences of survey respondents whose gender identities or expressions expand our conventional understanding of gender. It is designed to provide adults with a better understanding of these youth and to help adults find ways to communicate with and support all youth in their lives. The report also provides information and suggestions for those seeking to increase their comfort and competency with the evolving landscape of gender identity and expression.
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community edited by Laura Erickson-Schroth: A comprehensive guide written by, for, and about transgender and genderqueer people.
The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper: The Transgender Child is a comprehensive guidebook that, through research and interviews, provides insight on how to raise transgender and gender nonconforming children with love and compassion.
Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy by Jennifer Levi & Elizabeth E. Monnin-Browder: This book provides a comprehensive treatment of family law issues involving transgender persons. Various experts have written chapters that provide practical advice on providing effective representation for transgender clients. Family law practitioners representing this community often encounter challenging issues unique to transgender individuals. Some of these topics include legal recognition of post-transition name and sex, parental rights, relationship recognition and protections, divorce and relationship dissolution, custody disputes involving transgender children, legal protections for transgender youth, intimate partner violence, and estate planning and elder law. This book serves as a resource for those practicing in this emerging and constantly changing area of law.
Trans-Kin: A Guide for Family and Friends of Transgender People (Volume 1) by Dr. Eleanor A. Hubbard (Editor), Cameron T. Whitley (Editor): Transgender-Kin is a collection of stories from significant others, family members, friends and allies of transgender persons (SOFFAs). Powerful, thought-provoking and enlightening, this collection will provide for the head and the heart of anyone who has ever loved a transgender person. Transgender-Kin is also an essential read for allies of the transgender community and anyone who wishes to become one.
Transgender Employment Experiences: Gendered Perceptions and the Law by Kyla Bender-Baird: Brings together the workplace experiences of transgender people with an assessment of current policy protections, using personal interviews, legal case histories, and transgender theory.
Transgender History by Susan Stryker: Stryker takes a chronological approach to transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to its publication in 2008 by examining movements, writings, and events.
Transgender Warriors: The Making of History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman by Leslie Feinberg: Feinberg (author of Stone Butch Blues) examines historical notions of gender, how they have shifted over time, and how societies that celebrated gender creativity and variance were structured.
Transgender Workplace Diversity: Policy Tools, Training Issues and Communication Strategies for HR and Legal Professionals by Jillian T. Weiss, J.D., Ph.D.: Explanation and how-to for HR and legal professionals on transgender policy development, training and communication strategies for the workplace.
Transitions of the Heart edited by Rachel Pepper: The first collection to ever invite mothers of transgender and gender variant children of all ages to tell their own stories about their child’s gender transition. Sharing stories of love, struggle, and acceptance, this collection of mother’s voices, representing a diversity of backgrounds and sexual orientations, affirms the experience of those who have raised and are currently raising transgender and gender variant children between the ages of 5–50.
Two Spirits, One Heart: A Mother, Her Transgender Son, and Their Journey to Love and Acceptance by Marsha Aizumi with Aiden Aizumi: In this first of its kind, illuminating new book, PFLAG mother, educator and LGBT activist Marsha Aizumi shares her compelling story of parenting a young woman who came out as a lesbian, then transitioned to male. The book chronicles Marsha’s personal journey from fear, uncertainty, and sadness to eventual unconditional love, acceptance, and support of her child who struggled to reconcile his gender identity.
Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano: A collection of personal essays that debunk many of the myths and misconceptions that people have about transgender women, as well as the subject of gender in general.