With the topic of transgender rights at the forefront of the national consciousness, I've been thinking a lot about stories (as I tend to do!) that deal with trans experiences. While there are a number of great memoirs by trans-identified authors, I have to admit that I am way more of a fiction reader, so I've been avidly reading whatever novels or short stories I can get my hands on!
In any hunt for books, I'm always looking for a wide ranges in topics, viewpoints, and life circumstances, told in a variety of ways (for a larger discussion of why diversity in literature is important, check out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's stellar Ted Talk The Danger of a Single Story). For books by trans authors, that could mean sci-fi epics, nonlinear tales of transition, graphic novels, everyday stories of trans characters just living life- you name it. There are so many possibilities for storytelling!
In this spirit, the following is just a small sample of fiction written by trans authors which represents some of the vast creativity and range that can be found at KCLS!
She of the Mountains
She of the Mountains juxtaposes a beautiful and evocative retelling of Hindu myths, with the story of an Indian American teen's coming of age as he forms an enduring love while dealing with questions about his sexuality, gender expression, and feelings of discord with the strict labels that he has been anchored with.
Nevada is an insightful story about a punk-rock trans woman, Maria, who's just scraping by at her bookstore job in New York, is having problems connecting to her girlfriend (and to life in general), and is way too broke to be able to transition in the way she wants. This book is much more low-key than I expected, and its strength comes in its ability to portray the main character and all of her flaws in a slice-of-life sort of way.
Lost Boi is billed as a "queer punk reimagining of the classic Peter Pan story" with a healthy dose of BDSM thrown in. This pretty much sums it up, so if this sounds like your cup of tea you should definitely give it a shot! I particularly love how all of the references to magic, Neverland, fairies, etc. seem like magical realism at first before it quickly becomes apparent that all of the grit and drama underneath the fantasy is all too real.
Cam Girl is a New Adult novel that follows Vada Bergen after a horrible accident takes a huge toll and forces her to take a completely different path in life. I knew I had to read it when I was totally charmed by the author's blog, especially the posts where they describe why they wrote the book and how they worked through a lot of their confusion about their own sexuality and gender as they were writing it.
This fictional travel journal is from real life travel writer and all-around amazing individual, Jan Morris. Morris has experienced and written about so many pivotal moments in history from the 1950s-2000s (for instance, she was the correspondent accompanying the first successful expedition to scale Mount Everest in 1953!). She's incredibly prolific, so if you enjoy her style give some of her nonfiction writing a shot!
The Collection has almost 400 pages of stories from a whole host of trans authors, both known and newly published. The stories are a little uneven in quality (as you often find in anthologies!), but there is a great range in narrative voice.
For more titles, check out the full list: