Fight Bigotry By Reading Trans People in Their Own Words
8 novels and memoirs by the people that Trump wants to write out of existence
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According to a recent article in The New York Times, the Trump administration is hell-bent on flying in the face of science, culture, and vocabulary by attempting to legally deny the very existence of transgender people.
The best way to fight this outrageously cruel proposal is to throw your money and time at every trans-supporting cause you can think of. But the second best way is to listen to trans people talk about their lives in their own voices. While the administration tries to disenfranchise them based on sixth-grade notions of biology, authors who actually know what they’re talking about are writing literature about their transgender experience. Here are eight celebrated novels and memoirs written by and about people that Trump wants to write out of existence. Buy them, share them, and don’t let them be silenced.
Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg
Confessions of the Fox, a genre-bending novel about queer love in 18th-century London, has received high praise as one of the first novels by a trans author released by a major publisher. This novel is worth a read for several reasons, among which is the use of language that would make our POTUS blush. In an interview with Electric Literature, Rosenberg said, “Queers and trans and other gender non-conforming people have these very powerful and deep traditions of resignifying words and our bodies in relation to each other. ‘Pussy’ or ‘cock’ can and does mean anything between two (or however many) people in certain erotic exchanges.”
George by Alex Gino
Here’s one that’s written to the president’s reading level. George tells the story a 10-year-old transgender girl and her fight for acceptance. Since its release in 2015, it has garnered numerous accolades, including winner of the Lambda Literary Award and Children’s Choice Book Awards Debut Author. But in 2017 it landed itself on the list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books for reasons similarly insubstantial to the ones behind Trump’s recent claims.
Yemaya’s Daughters by Lady Dane Figuerao Edidi
One of the first novels written by and about a trans woman, Yemaya’s Daughters is a story of family, spirituality, and humanity. Lady Dane Figuerao Edidi is a prolific artist across several mediums, including acting in New York City, singing jazz in Baltimore, and the numerous books of fiction and poetry she has authored.
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
If I Was Your Girl, a novel by and about a transgender woman, has made a noticeable splash in the literary world as a Stonewall Book Award Winner, a Goodreads Choice Award Finalist and a Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year.
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
Jazz Jennings has been a leading voice in the transgender community since 2007 when she came out as transgender at the age of 11. Since then, she’s continued to offer her voice through interviews with high-profile figures such as Oprah Winfrey and a reality television show, I Am Jazz, about her experience as a transgender girl.
Afterglow (a dog memoir) by Eileen Myles
Eileen Myles was quoted in The New Yorker as saying, “I’m happy complicating what being a woman, a dyke, is. I’m the gender of Eileen.” In Afterglow, this trailblazing punk poet and writer composes a humorous, though utterly heartfelt and honest, depiction of a relationship between a person and an animal.
At The Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces by Mary Collins and Donald Collins
Co-authored by a mother and son, this collaborative memoir, praised by The Boston Globe and The Bay Area Reporter, offers an exploration into the minds of two family members as they struggle with their differences. The two points of view offer important insight into acceptance and identity.
Since I Moved In by Trace Peterson
Trace Peterson is a pioneer of trans poetry, founding editor of EOAGH, a Lambda Award winning literary magazine, and coeditor of several poetry anthologies. Peterson’s anthology, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, combines the voices of emerging and eminent artists whose identities are being written out of the dictionary by the president. Since I Moved In is her first collection of poems.
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
As a writer, television personality, and activist, Janet Mock is a leading voice in the movement for transgender rights. Her memoir, Redefining Realness, a New York Times Bestseller and winner of the Stonewall Book Awards, offers her readers insight into an experience as a trans and multiracial person in a largely unwelcoming society.