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Trans Voices: 12 Unforgettable Books by Trans Authors for Your Summer

Dive into our curated list featuring transgender authors and their powerful narratives. Whether you’re captivated by fast-paced fantasy or moved by inspiring memoirs, these books celebrate the voices of trans authors. Each story features transgender main characters crafted by authors who share their identities, offering diverse perspectives and experiences within the LGBTQ+ community. Don’t miss out on exploring these essential reads!

Plus, check out our companion list of 75 must-read lesbian books to expand your literary journey through diverse and inclusive storytelling.

Happy reading and discovering new voices in queer literature!

Girlfriends by Emily Zhou

Girlfriends by Emily Zhou is a collection of short stories that brilliantly captures modern queer life. Zhou’s writing is both hilarious and tender, diving into the intimate lives of Gen Z women. From chaotic student digs to wild parties, she paints a vivid picture of trans experiences that feel both familiar and fresh. It’s a must-read for a peek into queer lives with a touch of humor and heart.

“What a glittering collection of short stories. The characters so full of life and dimension, and each story is written beautifully and with such clear perspectives. I know these stories will sit with me for a while and I will long for them, and return to them.” – GoodReads Review by Alessia Di Cesare


Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender by Kit Heyam

Today’s stories about trans people often show stable gender identities that fit neatly into male or female categories. While these are important, they miss the complex realities of many trans lives. Before We Were Trans shines a light on global stories that break away from those binary categories, from antiquity to now. Trans historian and activist Kit Heyam mixes historical analysis with sharp cultural criticism to offer a fresh, inclusive take on trans history. Heyam dives into often overlooked trans experiences, like gender-nonconforming fashion and wartime stage performances, taking us on a journey from Renaissance Venice to Edo Japan. Their writing is thought-provoking, conversational, and incredibly well-researched. 

“I think this book is perfect for anyone who loves nonfiction, someone who is interested in reading more queer theory but might be intimidated by the academic lingo, and anyone who reads queer books!” – GoodReads by literaryelise

Revolution Is Love: A Year of Black Trans Liberation 

Revolution Is Love: A Year of Black Trans Liberation captures the powerful and joyful activist movement in NYC, sparked by the tragic deaths of Black trans individuals. Activists Qween Jean and Joela Rivera started weekly Stonewall Protests, uniting a vibrant community for marches, voguing balls, and vigils. This book beautifully showcases their journey through photos and stories. 

Some Strange Music Draws Me In by Griffin Hansbury 

Some Strange Music Draws Me In takes you back to the summer of 1984 in Swaffham, Massachusetts. Mel meets Sylvia, a bold trans woman, sparking Mel’s own trans awakening. This encounter also stirs trouble in the town and conflict with Mel’s mom and best friend. Decades later, Mel, now Max, returns to Swaffham after being put on probation from his teaching job for defying speech codes about trans identity. He has to confront his past and the role he played in the town’s turmoil. The story beautifully combines teenage emotion and social commentary, offering a poignant yet hopeful look at self-realization, gender, and small-town life. I couldn’t put it down and read the whole book in just a few days!

“Finally a “coming-of-age” novel that is written *by* and *for* queer people. These pages house such pure dialogue of what it means to be trans, both from a teenager figuring it out, and an adult who has come so far.” – GoodReads Review by Sam Skold

Confidence by Rafael Frumkin

Confidence: A Novel is a thrilling story about two lifelong friends who become conmen and start a company promising instant enlightenment. Ezra, a struggling teen, meets Orson at Last Chance Camp, and they dive into scam artistry. Their biggest con, NuLife, spirals out of control. It’s a fun, sharp take on the absurdity of the American Dream, full of morally complex characters. Watching Ezra’s journey is both satisfying and heartbreaking.

Any Other City by Hazel Jane Plante

Any Other City is a unique, two-sided fictional memoir by Tracy St. Cyr, frontwoman of indie rock band Static Saints. Side A captures her life in 1993 when she meets a group of trans women, including artist Sadie Tang. Side B shows Tracy in 2019, healing from trauma through songwriting and queer kinship. This novel beautifully explores friendship, love, and healing through art and music. The format is like a cassette tape with Side A and Side B, making it a creative and compelling read.

Nevada by Imogen Binnie

Nevada is back in print as a beloved cult classic and Lambda Literary Award finalist for Transgender Fiction. Maria Griffiths, a disaffected trans woman, embarks on a cross-country road trip after breaking up with her girlfriend, Steph. It’s a punk-smeared coming-of-age story exploring marginalized life under capitalism, with Maria navigating identity and relationships in a raw, unforgettable narrative. 

“So imagine my delight when people on the message boards I belong to started talking about a new book that finally “got” it. Words written from the heart of an eloquent trans woman who was able to finally express all of the things we’d been struggling to get across to people, words that helped this subculture of which I’m a part begin to define ourselves in language we all understand rather than relying upon clinicians and sociologists to observe us and make notes, like so many books on being trans have done already” Review on GoodReads by Chloe

The Boy with a Bird in His Chest by Emme Lund

The Boy with a Bird in His Chest tells Owen Tanner’s story of living with a chatty bird inside him, a condition known as a Terror. Forced to hide for years, Owen’s life changes dramatically during a forest fire. Finding refuge with family in Washington, he discovers acceptance, love, and resilience amidst challenges. It’s a poignant, hopeful tale of embracing one’s true self despite daunting obstacles.

The Woods All Black by Lee Mandelo

The Woods All Black mixes historical horror, trans romance, and blood-soaked revenge in 1920s Appalachia.

Leslie Bruin, assigned to Spar Creek by the Frontier Nursing Service, faces local judgment and a dark, malevolent force within the community. It’s a gripping tale of passion, prejudice, and survival, exploring themes of identity and justice against a haunting Appalachian backdrop.

Little Fish by Casey Plett

Little Fish by Wendy Reimer follows thirty-year-old trans woman Wendy, who discovers her devout Mennonite grandfather may have been transgender. Amidst personal struggles and volatile challenges, Wendy digs into her family’s past, seeking truth and connection. It’s a heartfelt and sometimes dark exploration of identity and family ties, blending warmth with deep introspection.

A hard-hitting, beautiful, and thought-provoking novel. Amazing, complex, authentic characterization; Plett isn’t afraid to make her characters messy. I was especially astounded at how she dealt with religion in the lives of some characters. She is also really talented at dialogue. I always marvel at how her characters sound like such real people.- GoodReads review by CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

We Both Laughed in Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan

We Both Laughed In Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan offers an intimate glimpse into the life of Lou Sullivan, arguably the first publicly gay trans man to medically transition. From his detailed journals spanning decades, Sullivan’s story unfolds with sensuality, challenges to norms, and poetic introspection. It’s a rich narrative that complicates and enriches our understanding of transgender experiences.


Bad Girls by Camila Sosa Villada

Camila Sosa Villada’s debut novel Bad Girls is a gritty yet tender coming-of-age tale set in Argentina, where Camila, designated male at birth, finds solace and community among fellow outcasts in Córdoba. From a challenging upbringing to university and sex work, Camila’s journey unfolds amidst the vibrant, unconventional world of trans sex workers. It’s a rich, nuanced portrait celebrating resilience, relationships, and the complexities of marginalized lives, haunted by dangers yet filled with passion and empathy.

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