On My TBR List: Transgender Fiction

I’ve noticed that, although I’ve read plenty of trans non-fiction, I’m still kind of lacking in the fiction department. Whenever I see a reading list roaming around Twitter described with buzz words like intersections, diversity, or LGBT, I check it out to see if there is anything on the list by a trans author or with trans characters. Unfortunately, I’m usually disappointed. Even with LGBT lists, the T is often ignored or forgotten. So, I did some research and came up with a list of my own. Here are ten books I ended up adding to my TBR list (descriptions from Goodreads).



Nevada by Imogen Binnie
Nevada is the darkly comedic story of Maria Griffiths, a young trans woman living in New York City and trying to stay true to her punk values while working retail. When she finds out her girlfriend has lied to her, the world she thought she’d carefully built for herself begins to unravel, and Maria sets out on a journey that will most certainly change her forever.

The Collection: Short Fiction From The Transgender Vanguard edited by Riley MacLeod & Tom Léger
A dynamic composite of rising stars, The Collection represents the depth and range of tomorrow’s finest writers chronicling transgender narratives. 28 authors from North America converge in a single volume to showcase the future of trans literature and the next great movements in queer art.

Holding Still For As Long As Possible by Zoe Whittall
What is it like to grow into adulthood with the war on terror as your defining political memory, with SARS and Hurricane Katrina as your backdrop? In this robust, elegantly plotted, and ultimately life-affirming novel, Zoe Whittall presents a dazzling portrait of a generation we’ve rarely seen in literature — the twenty-five-year olds who grew up on anti-anxiety meds, text-messaging each other truncated emotional reactions, unsure of what’s public and what’s private.

Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab by Shani Mootoo
Written in vibrant, supple prose that vividly conjures both the tropical landscape of Trinidad and the muted winter cityscape of Toronto, Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab is a passionate eulogy to a beloved parent, and a nuanced, moving tale about the struggle to embrace the complex realities of love and family ties.

Being Emily by Rachel Gold
They say that whoever you are it’s okay, you were born that way. Those words don’t comfort Emily…
A story for anyone who has ever felt that the inside and outside don’t match and no one else will understand.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
“This is Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, on community radio 90.3, KZUK. I’m Gabe. Welcome to my show.” My birth name is Elizabeth, but I’m a guy. Gabe. My parents think I’ve gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I’m right. I’ve been a boy my whole life.

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
San Francisco, 1976. A naïve young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, and Jockey Shorts dance contests.

Wandering Son by Shimura Takako
The fifth grade. The threshold to puberty, and the beginning of the end of childhood innocence. Shuichi Nitori and his new friend Yoshino Takatsuki have happy homes, loving families, and are well-liked by their classmates. But they share a secret that further complicates a time of life that is awkward for anyone. Written and drawn by one of today’s most critically acclaimed creators of manga, Shimura portrays Shuishi and Yoshino’s very private journey with affection, sensitivity, gentle humor, and unmistakable flair and grace.

Trumpet by Jackie Kay
The death of legendary jazz trumpeter Joss Moody exposes an extraordinary secret, one that enrages his adopted son, Colman, leading him to collude with a tabloid journalist. Besieged by the press, his widow Millie flees to a remote Scottish village, where she seeks solace in memories of their marriage. The reminiscences of those who knew Joss Moody render a moving portrait of a shared life founded on an intricate lie, one that preserved a rare, unconditional love.

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber
One day in 1855 Lucy Lobdell cut her hair, changed clothes, and went off to live her life as a man. By the time it was over, she was notorious.
(Wondering why I included this title? Here’s a convincing argument that Lobdell was not a “female hunter,” but a transgender man.)


Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? If you have any more suggestions for trans fiction, let me know in the comments!

  • Oh, I love this list! Definitely going to add some to my TBR. The cover of Beautiful Music for Ugly Children is so great – I can’t help being drawn to that one.

  • I enjoyed Dora: A Headcase by Lidia Yuknavitch – one of the characters is trans without it being a plot point. She fills the role of mentor and protector, which really worked.

  • If you’re looking for more suggestions, you might want to check out Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian!

  • Ooohh great list! Will definitely be checking some of these out! 🙂

  • Thanks for putting together this list! Definitely some to add to my own TBR.

  • This is a great list! ‘Tales of the City’is one of my all time favourite books. I’ll be adding a few to my TBR list. 🙂

  • Oh, my gosh!! I would love to read The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell; what a great story!!

  • This is great! I’ve only read one transgender memoir and that’s it. I’d love to read more!

  • Amazing AMAZING list Monika! I feel like I haven’t been here in ages!

  • Ahhh, this is so great that you’ve shared this! *adds all the books to Goodreads* THANK YOU!

  • Angie F.

    Thanks for this list! I had only heard of two them (Beautiful Music and Being Emily)! 😀