Whether you are headed to the beach , the mountains or your back yard, there is nothing better than a good read to help you relax and get into the rhythm of summer. While I love the fun of a good mystery, the pace of a thriller or the history of a great biography as much as the next person, I also try to learn a little periodically. With that in mind, here are some great reads that can help you or your significant other learn more about being transgender and how to navigate what can definitely be a challenging, but fun time in our lives. Check them out!
Transgender Biographies & Autobiographies
She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders - by Jennifer Finney Boylan
This best seller is the winning and surprising story of a person learning about and transitioning to her true gender. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More - by Janet Mock
Janet Mock is an outspoken and influential public figure who came out as a transwoman in 2011. AN editor for People.com, in these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen – by Jazz Jennings
At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series.
Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age Paperback – by Richard Novic M.D.
A memoir by a crossdresser who is not content to live behind closed doors—and who takes it much further than his straighter, more circumspect peers might ever care to go. Most of the time, Harvard-educated psychiatrist Richard Novic is Rick, a man at the office or a husband and father at home. But one night a week, he is Alice, a woman about town, shopping, dining, dancing, and dating a man for nearly a decade.
Warrior Princess: A U.S. Navy Seal's Journey to Coming Out Transgender - by Kristin Beck
Chris Beck served our country as a Navy Seal and earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. To everyone who saw him, he was a hero. A warrior. A man. But he was transgender, and the woman inside needed to get out. This is the journey of a girl in a man's body and her road to self-actualization as a woman amidst the PTSD of war, family rejection and our society's strict gender rules and perceptions. It is about a fight to be free inside one's own body, a fight that requires the strength of a Warrior Princess.
Stories of Trans Children and Their Families:
Raising Ryland: Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child with No Strings –by Hillary Whittington
This powerful, moving story is a mother’s first-hand account of her emotional choice to embrace her transgender child. When Hillary and Jeff Whittington posted a YouTube video chronicling their five-year-old son Ryland’s transition from girl to boy, they didn’t expect it to be greeted with such fervor. Now for the first time, they tell their story in full, offering an emotional and moving account of their journey alongside their exceptional child.
Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family – by Amy Ellis Nutt
Nicole, her twin brother Jonas, mom Kelly, and dad Wayne, are your typical middle class American family. They live next door to you--are shuttling from work, to Cub Scouts, to softball practice…. They’re also coming to terms with the fact that one of their own has Gender Dysphoria, a medical condition whereby a person does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. And so Wayne and Kelly Maines discover that they don’t have two sons at all, but a son and a daughter.
Books for the Significant Others of Transgender People:
Head Over Heels – Wives Who Stay With Crossdressers and Transexuals – Edited by Virginia Erhardt, PHD
Head Over Heels gives voice to thirty ordinary women who live extraordinary lives as partners to crossdressers, transgenderists, and male-to-female transsexuals. These unique women discuss, with honesty and great candor, how they first learned of their partners’ gender issues, how they’ve coped with the emotions that followed, how they’ve dealt with concerns about privacy/secrecy, and how they’ve handled disclosure to children, friends, and family members. Far from a collection of “happily ever after” stories, these narratives are filled with pain, courage, curiosity, and joy as each woman struggles to redefine a relationship that includes intimacy, social acceptance, dignity, and respect.
She’s Not The Man I Married - by Helen Boyd
Helen Boyd's husband, who had long been open about being a cross-dresser, was considering living as a woman full time. Suddenly, Boyd was confronted with the reality of what it would mean if her husband were actually to become a woman — socially, legally, and medically. Would Boyd love and desire her partner the same way? 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.
Transgender Reference & Resource Guides
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community - Edited by Laura Erickson-Schroth
There is no one way to be transgender. Transgender and gender non-conforming people have many different ways of understanding their gender identities. Only recently have sex and gender been thought of as separate concepts, and we have learned that sex (traditionally thought of as physical or biological) is as variable as gender (traditionally thought of as social). This reference book is modeled after the groundbreaking “Our Bodies, Ourselves” and is a fantastic reference work for the trans community.
Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue 1st Edition - by Nicholas M Teich
Written by a social worker, popular educator, and member of the transgender community, this well-rounded resource combines an accessible portrait of transgenderism with a rich history of transgender life and its unique experiences of discrimination. Chapters introduce transgenderism and its psychological, physical, and social processes. They describe the coming out process and its effect on family and friends, the relationship between sexual orientation, and gender and the differences between transsexualism and lesser-known types of transgenderism. Each chapter explains how transgender individuals handle their gender identity, how others view it within the context of non-transgender society, and how the transitioning of genders is made possible.
There you go! Eleven great reads for your Summer pleasure and don't worry....there is no deadline and there will be now quiz. So take your time, dip your toes in the water and enjoy the sun!
There are plenty more great books and articles about the transgender community including biographies, support and reference information. Do you have a favorite that is not listed here? If so, let me know by sending an email through our contact page. I will be sure to include it in a future post.
Would you like to write for our transgender blog or learn more about our support group for transgender people in the Lehigh Valley and eastern Pennsylvania? If so, please contact Lehigh Valley Renaissance or better yet join us at one of our monthly support meetings!