By: Sydney Spangler
Visibility for books written by trans authors has increased in the past few years, but sometimes it feels as if that visibility is only within a niche community--making it appear as if there is just small pool of trans authors to choose from. But that is far from the truth. From big and small publishers to those choosing to self-publish, there is a wide variety of trans authors writing stories of all genres. This is why we've put together this list of books by trans authors to add to your TBR list!
1. "Me and My Dysphoria Monster: An Empowering Story to Help Children Cope with Gender Dysphoria" by Laura Kate Dale
This is a heartwarming story that discusses gender dysphoria with children, explaining what it is and how they and their families can deal with it. Nisha, the book's main character, is followed by a dysphoria monster. The dysphoria monster grows larger and larger whenever Nisha is referred to as a boy, or when she tries to hide her true gender identity. But one day, Nisha meets Jack--a trans man--who shows Nisha how she can shrink her dysphoria monster back down to size.
"Me and My Dysphoria Monster: An Empowering Story to Help Children Cope with Gender Dysphoria" will be released on August 18, 2022.
2. "The Great Space Adventure" by Ryka Aoki
This is a children's book about Nande, a young child who travels with the moon to visit the planets of the solar system. The planets are all unique, and never feel embarrassed or self-conscious about their differences.
3. "From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea" by Kai Cheng Thom
This is a picture book about gender, identity, and the acceptance of differences. Miu Lan is a child who can change into any shape they can imagine. The only problem is they can't decide what to be. At school, they face inquisitive looks and difficult questions from the other children, and they have trouble finding friends who will accept them for who they are. But one thing's for sure: no matter what this child becomes, their mother will love them just the same.
4. "Wrath Goddess Sing" by Maya Deane
This is a historical fiction novel that unearths a trans woman's story hidden underneath the well-known myths of "The Illiad." After fleeing her home to live as a woman with the kallai, the transgender priestesses of Great Mother Aphrodite, Achilles is forced to choose between dying or fighting as a man. However, thanks to Athena's intervention, Achilles is given the woman's body she's always longed for in addition to promises of glory, power, and fame. But the gods have woven ancient schemes with the cruel, immortal Helen at the center. Helen, who is in love with her newfound nemesis, sets out to destroy everything and everyone Achilles cherishes, seeking a battle to the death.
"Wrath Goddess Sing" will be released on June 7, 2022.
5. "The Companion" by E.E. Ottoman
This is a queer historical romance that is set in 1948 upstate New York that focuses on an all-trans, polyamorous relationship between an author escaping New York City literary society, a reclusive novelist, and his beautiful and mysterious ex-lover and neighbor. Madeline Slaughter is a dejected author who jumps at the chance to find rest and quiet in the forests of upstate New York. Instead, she finds Victor, handsome and intensely passionate, and Audrey Coffin, Victor's beautiful neighbor. Madeline finds herself drawn to both and hopes that despite the baggage between Victor and Audrey, there can be a future for all three together.
The plot, while straightforward, is carried by the novel's combination of healing and friendship paired with erotic spiciness and heat.
6. "Peter Darling" by Austin Chant
This is a queer, transgender retelling of Peter Pan that takes place after Peter spends a decade in the real world. The Lost Boys say Peter returned to England because of Wendy Darling, but Wendy is an old life he left behind. However, when Peter returns to Neverland years later, he's surprised to find Neverland no longer seems to need him. The only person who truly missed Peter is Captain James Hook. But when a new war ignites between the Lost Boy's and Hook's pirates, Peter's rivalry with Hook starts to blur into something far more complicated, sensual, and deadly.
7. "The Death of Vivek Oji" by Akwaeke Emezi
Named a Best Book of 2020 by "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," "Vanity Fair," and more, this novel explores family and friendship with a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.
One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother finds her son's body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her doorstep. Vivek was raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother and suffers from disorienting blackouts. As adolescences moves into adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek's closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens--and Osita struggles to understand Vivek's escalating crisis--the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.
8. "Burn the Dark" by S.A. Hunt
First in the Malus Domestica horror action-adventure series, this book follows punk YouTuber Robin on a mission to bring down witches, one video at a time. She's an internet celebrity gone-viral, but her millions of followers don't know the truth: her series isn't fiction.
Robin is hunting down the coven of witches who are responsible for her mother's death. When she returns home to the rural town of Blackfield, Robin meets friends new and old on her quest for justice. But, a mysterious threat known as the Red Lord intervenes and Robin discovers that the circumstances surrounding the crime are far more complex than she knew.
9. "Heart of Stone" by Johannes T. Evans
In this slow-burn, period romance, Henry Coffey, a vampire, takes on a new personal secretary: young Theophilus Essex. The man is unlike any secretary--or any man--that Henry has ever met.
Henry is immortal and ever-oscillating between periods of delighted focus upon his current passion project, is charming, witty, and seems incapable of closing his mouth for more than a few moments. In contrast, Theophilus is quiet and keenly focused. But as time goes on, he relaxes in his employer's presence.
Henry and Theophilus dance around each other, sharply aware of the polite boundaries for their situation despite their desire for intimacy. However, their affection grows as they become closer to one another.
10. "Detransition, Baby" by Torrey Peters
This national bestseller follows three women--transgender and cisgender--whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires.
Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship, an apartment in New York City, and a job she didn't hate. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now, Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.
Ames isn't happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese--and losing her, meant losing his only family. When Ames's boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she's pregnant with his baby--Ames wonders if this is the chance he's been waiting for. Can he reconnect with Reese and form some kind of unconventional family to raise a baby with his current and ex-lovers?
11. "My Life in Transition: A Super Late Bloomer Collection" by Julia Kaye
As the follow-up to the critically acclaimed autobiographical comics collection "Super Late Bloomer," this installment takes a look at what happens beyond the early days of transition. By illustrating six months of Julia's life as an out trans woman, this book shows how you can be trans and simply exist in society. You can be trans and have a normal life full of ups and downs.
Follow this snapshot of Julia's life as she experiences the beauty and pain of love and heartbreak, struggles to find support from bio family and the importance of chosen family, faces moments of dysphoria and misgendering, learns to lean on friends in times of need, and finds peace in the fact that life keeps moving forward.
12. "The Backwater Sermons" by Jay Hulme
This beautiful collection of poetry illustrates Jay's journey through faith and baptism during an unprecedented global pandemic. As he finds God in the ruined factories and polluted canals of his home city, Jonah is heckled over etymology, angels appear in tube stations, and Jesus sits atop a multi-story car park. Cathedrals are trans, trans people are cathedrals, and amidst it all God reaches out to meet us exactly where we are.
Now, our list isn't comprehensive and is just a dip into the vast pool of trans authors who have published in the past decade and/or have books coming out this year. You can find more books by trans authors by looking up the hashtag #TransBooks365. The hashtag was created by trans author Emery Lee as a way to celebrate trans authors every day of the year instead of in response to bigotry and transphobia. I find it is an incredibly useful tool when trying to find new trans authors and their books, or those I have yet to come across.