I have tried to collect a comprehensive list of both fiction and non-fiction books that are about trans men or have trans men in them. Despite a lot of research I’m sure I have missed some. If you know of a book that should be on the list please let me know. As a disclaimer I have not read all of these books and cannot speak to how well or poorly they represent trans men.
A Boy Like Me by Jennie Wood
Albert Nobbs by George Moore
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Becoming Alec by Darwin S. Ward
Busy by Elio Knox
Chasing Death Metal Dreams by Kaje Harper
F2M: The Boy Within by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy
Holding Still for as Long as Possible by Zoe Whittall
I am J by Cris Beam
I Know Very Well How I Got My Name by Elliot DeLine
If We Shadows by D.E Atwood
Lost Boi by Sassafras Lowry
Morgan in the Mirror by C.C. Saint-Clair
Parrot Fish by Ellen Wittlinger
Portside by Elyan Smith
Refuse by Elliot DeLine
Sacred Country by Rose Tremain
Something Beautiful by Andrew Jericho
Some of the Parts by T. Cooper
Stone Butch Blues: A Novel by Leslie Feinberg
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
The Best Boy Every Made by Rachel Eliason
The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard edited by Tom Leger and Riley MacLeod
Transparency by Ethan Stone and Sara York
Trumpet by Jackie Kay
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Wandering Son by Takako Shimura
Where No One Knows by Jo Ramsey
Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community by Noach Dzmura
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Blue Water Dreams by Dena Hankins
Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits by Loren Cameron
Female-to-Male Transgender People’s Experiences in Australia: A National Study by Tiffany Jones, Andrea del Pozo de Bolger, Tinashe Dune, Amy Lykins, and Gail Hawkes
Finding Masculinity: Female to Male Transition in Adulthood edited by Alexander Walker and Emmett J.P. Lundberg
From the Inside Out: Radical Gender Transformation, FtM and Beyond edited by Morty Diamond
FTM: Female-to-Male Transsexuals in Society by Aaron Devor
How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity edited by Michael Cart
In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives by J. Jack Halberstam
Just One of the Guys?: Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality by Kristen Schilt
Letters to my Brothers: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect edited by Megan M. Rohrer
Manning Up: Transsexual Men on Finding Brotherhood, Family, and Themselves edited by Zander Keig & Mitch Kellaway
Self-Made Men: Identity and Embodiment among Transsexual Men by Henry Rubin
Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism by Patrick Califia-Rice
Sons of the Movement: FtMs Risking Incoherence on a Post-Queer Cultural Landscape by Jean Bobby Noble
The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You by S. Bear Bergman
The Other Me by Suzanne van Rooyen
The Transgender Men’s Guide to Life: Coming Out and Socially Transitioning Towards Your True Gender by Leo Castana
The Transgender Men’s Guide to Life: Decision-Making and Goal-Setting white Transitioning Towards Your True Gender by Leo Castana
The Transgender Men’s Guide to Life: Overcoming Doubt and Negative Thoughts to Begin Transitioning Towards Your True Gender by Leo Castana
Transition and Beyond: Observations on Gender Identity by Reid Vanderburgh
Trans/Portraits: Voices by Transgender Communities edited by Jackson Wright Shultz
Transmen and FTMs: Identities, Bodies, Genders and Sexualities by Jason Cromwell
Transitioning Female-to-Male in Australia by Craig Andrews
Non-Fiction: Memoirs & Autobiographies
A Self Made Man: The Story of a Man Born in a Woman’s Body by Paul Hewitt
Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison Green
Being by Zach Ellis
Both Sides Now: One Man’s Journey Through Womanhood by Dhillon Khosla
Bumbling into Body Hair: A Transsexual’s Memoir by Everett Maroon
Dear Sir or Madam by Mark Nicholas Alban Rees
Emergence: A Transsexual Autobiography by Mario Martino
In from the Wilderness: Sherman by David E. Weekly
Labor of Love: The Story of One Man’s Extraordinary Pregnancy by Thomas Beatie
Just Add Hormones: An Insider’s Guide to the Transsexual Experience by Matt Kailey
Nina Here nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender by Nick Krieger
Paralian: Not Just Transgender by Liam Klenk
Real Man Adventures by T. Cooper
Second Son: Transitioning Toward My Destiny, Love and Life by Ryan Sallans
Some Assembly Requires: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews
Teeny Weenies and Other Short Subjects by Matt Kailey
The Making of a Man: Notes on Transsexuality by Maxim Februari
The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transition from Female to Male by Max Wolf Valerio
Thoughts Through Transition: The Writings of a Mentor by Sir Ledonvito
Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man by Chaz Bono
Transman - Bitesize: The Story of a Woman who Became a Man by Rico Paris
Two Truths and a Lie by Scott Turned Schofield
What Took You So Long? A Girl’s Journey into Mahood by Raymond Thompson
Non-Fiction: Medical Transition
Hung Jury: Testimonies of Genital Surgery by Transsexual Men edited by Trystan T. Cotton
Masculinizing Hormonal Therapy For the Female to Male Transgendered by Sheila Kirk
Medical Therapy and Health Maintenance for Transgender Men by R. Gorton, J. Buth, and D. Spade.
The Phallus Palace: Female to Male Transsexuals by Dean Kotula
Non-Fiction: Family and Relationships
Gendered Hearts: Transgendered, Transsexual and Gender Variant Writers on Sex, Love, and Relationships edited by Morty Diamond
The Gender Trap: The Moving Autobiography of Chris and Cathy the World’s First Known Transsexual Parents by Chris Johnson and Cathy Brown
Trans Forming Families: Real Stories about Transgendered Love Ones by Mary Boenke
The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper
Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary edited by Morty Diamond
Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders by Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall
What Becomes You by Aaron Raz-Link and Hilda Raz
Non-Fiction: Trans History
A Strange Sort of Being: The Transgender Life of Lucy Anne/Joseph Israel Lobdell, 1829-1912 by Bambi L. Lobdell
Charley’s Choice: The Life and Times of Charley Parkhurst by Fern J. Hill
From Female to Male: The Life of Jack Bee Garland by Louis Sullivan
Michael nee Laura: The Story of the World’s First Female to Male Transsexual by Liz Hodgkinson.
Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton by Diane Wood Middlebrook
The First Man-Made Man: Love Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth-century Medical Revolution by Pagan Kennedy
The trouble begins when you admit that not all trans people experience gender or sexuality in nearly the same way. Some people were oddly-gendered kids and others were kids who fit in better. The result of this kind of re-historicizing is a dichotomy where people are more or less legitimate based on their gender expression as a child. Equivalent barriers are already set up around lesbians —“gold star” lesbians vs. women who come out when they are 40 (vs. trans women, right Lisa Vogel?).
But the really dangerous part about this focus on trans kids—or gay kids—is the immediate implications for the direction of activist movements. When the gay activist “movement” becomes wholly focused on about bullying and homecoming kings, adults are summarily infantilized. You can be out as gay, but can’t talk about sex, you can’t talk about AIDS, you can’t talk about systemic homophobia and transphobia because the trans kids (on This American Life) aren’t homeless, they aren’t sex workers, they aren’t worried about finding jobs or apartments, they aren’t in abusive relationships that they can’t leave, they aren’t losing custody of their children because they decide to transition. And in the end, I worry that the net effect of this “trans kid” tack is that there’s no room for conversations for adults because our leaders have hidden us behind defenseless queer children.
The past five days in Winnipeg at the Writing Trans Genres conference have sparked so many great thoughts and discussions, and I’m still processing them all. One of the best talks was, unsurprisingly, by Imogen Binnie. In it, she talked about this theory she’s obsessed with about oppressed groups going through three phases of development and how this applied to literature. The phases, if I remember correctly, were basically: 1) we’re just like you!; 2) we’re not like you, fuck you!; 3) we can talk to each other with our own lexicon (you aren’t centered in this conversation).
And yeah, this is a great theory and Imogen was totally brilliant in how she was talking about it. The issues of trans people-talking-to-trans people was discussed by several others, most notably Tom Leger in his plenary panel speech. This has all got me thinking about a lot of things, but especially about some of the writing (and, actually, a lot of the other art) I’ve been doing lately.
The next day at the reading, I read a short story about a trans woman attending the memorial service for another trans woman, whom she murdered. It’s very pessimistic. While I got some really nice feedback from people, and feel great about how it went, I definitely got the impression that some people may have been having feelings about my reading such a disturbing piece. This has happened a lot with my artistic work, which is unsurprising as it often deals with difficult subject matter.
I think often these kinds of reactions seem to be rooted in people expecting to be within the first two of those three phases Imogen talked about. Some trans people definitely want to maintain a public image for cis people that we are just like everyone else, that we are inherently non-violent people, that we’re a ‘good’ minority, essentially. And that’s totally a political tactic that I understand! Absolutely I see why that is important in a lot of situations and for a lot of people.
And then a lot of other people have expectations that trans art is going to be in the second fuck-you phase. And that fuck-you phase also seems like it requires being a good minority. Which, again, I totally get and see the appeal of and sometimes engage in myself.
There’s also this whole thing about trans people wanting to hear uplifting stories, empowerment stories, because so often our lives are difficult, dangerous, and dark. And creating stories that are healing or empowering can be really helpful for people. And this to I totally get.
But I’m really interested in that third phase, myself. That part in which we get to talk to each other unmediated by the centering of cis people. And, for me, that means that we get to investigate that dark stuff as well as lighter stuff. I want to talk to trans women about every ugly part of us because I think it makes us more fully human, realer people, to do so.
The story I read was written in fifteen minutes at Topside’s trans writers’ workshop in Toronto, and it really came out of remembering Mirha-Soleil Ross’ words in Viviane Namaste’s Sex Change, Social Change about the complicated nuances often lost in organizing around Trans Day of Remembrance. Mirha pointed out that the common narrative is that the people on the list are typical trans victims – people attacked solely or mostly on the basis of their gender identity. She points out that there are, in fact, many complicated reasons why people may end up on the list. That we often have so little information on the cases that jumping to the conclusion that trans-ness or gender difference is the root cause of the violence is almost non-sensical. She goes on to say that people may be being murdered for being sex workers, being Black and/or Latin@, for drug deals gone bad, or just for stepping on too many of the wrong toes. That, as human being with often difficult lives, there are many reasons for us to be murdered. She also, if I remember correctly, addresses the issue of trans-on-trans violence and it’s near total absence from discourse around TDOR.
And so, my story was an imagining of what that actually looks like. The story follows a trans woman who murdered another trans woman over a drug deal gone bad and how she tries to manage her complex feelings around that act of violence.
These are the kinds of conversations I want to see trans people having with each other in art, especially in literature. Not that they all have to be quite so depressing, but I think if we turn away from a cis audience for a moment, we can open up spaces to talk to each other about all of our ugly parts (and maybe even all of the beautiful parts a cis-centered conversation can never reach). I want so much to be able to talk to trans women about these things, about the ways we treat each other, about the ways we privately feel about our bodies and our communities and our loves and our hates. And, from what I saw at the Writing Trans Genres conference, I feel so hopeful that that moment has come in the trans lit world right now.
I’m not sure if any of this makes sense to anyone but me, but I just wanted to cobble together these thoughts and reflections from the conference before they evaporated.