The best trans man book 📚

Browse the best books on trans man as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Before Trans: Three Gender Stories from Nineteenth-Century France

Before Trans: Three Gender Stories from Nineteenth-Century France

By Rachel Mesch

Why this book?

Before Trans is a triple biography of three very remarkable French women writers, all of whom preferred men’s clothing and behaved in unladylike ways. The three are Jane Dieulafoy (1850 - 1916), explorer and archeologist; the novelist Rachilde (Marguerite Eymery,1860-1953); and the erotic writer Marc de Montifaud (Marie-Amélie Charteroule de Montifaud,1845-1912). The distinctive feature of this provocative book is the author’s effort to understand these women who chose to defy the boundaries of femininity but lived in a world that was “before trans” – before what we understand today as transgender, where one’s sex and one’s gender self-understanding do not…

From the list:

The best biographies of remarkable French women

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Book cover of True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

True Sex: The Lives of Trans Men at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

By Emily Skidmore

Why this book?

True Sex is one of the most timely history books I have ever read. Driving across rural America today, I wonder about the lives of trans men (and women) that Emily Skidmore so brilliantly recovered. In her emphasis on how unexceptional they were, she provides such a vital context for understanding the emerging visibility and claims of trans men and women today.

From the list:

The best books on the history of sex to understand where we are now

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Book cover of Between Perfect and Real

Between Perfect and Real

By Ray Stoeve

Why this book?

A high school production of Romeo and Juliet isn’t the focus of this plot, but the book still makes my shortlist. The concept of a trans guy acknowledging his gender identity after having been cast as a girl playing the boy Romeo is profound. Dean questions his gender as rehearsals progress. By showtime, he decides to use the production’s program to publicly announce he is trans. Friend and parental issues arise, so there’s plenty of drama on and off the stage in this one.

Theater Quotient: Medium. Gender identity is the focus, but rehearsals and performances figure prominently.

From the list:

The best novels for tweens, teens and young adults who love theater

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Book cover of Female Husbands

Female Husbands

By Jen Manion

Why this book?

Manion traces the history—from the colonial era to the early twentieth century—of people assigned female at birth who lived their lives as men. As the author shows, American and British history has been replete with such individuals, long before “transgender” became a term. If found out, they risked public humiliation, whippings, and imprisonment. Manion sets their lives in the context of their times, recreating their compelling stories through court records and newspaper accounts.  

From the list:

The best books on LGBTQ history

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Book cover of Before I Had the Words: On Being a Transgender Young Adult

Before I Had the Words: On Being a Transgender Young Adult

By Skylar Kergil

Why this book?

A rollicking and touching memoir from trans vlogging pioneer, artist, and musician Skylar Kergil. Skylar writes with honesty and wit, taking us through his whole childhood, coming out, and transitioning. If you’ve ever seen any of his transition vlogs on YouTube, you know how engaging Skylar is, and his voice shines through in this book. It feels very much like he’s talking to you over a cup of coffee. 

From the list:

The best books to introduce you to the world of trans masculine teens

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Book cover of Act Cool

Act Cool

By Tobly McSmith

Why this book?

Another YA book set in New York, but this time in the world of a performing arts school. August Greene, a trans boy from a conservative Pennsylvania community, not only gets accepted into a prestigious performing arts academy in the big city but gets to live his authentic life while doing so. Trouble is, his parents don’t know he’s trans. McSmith is heavily involved in the NY theatre scene, and he writes with insight and accuracy about both trans issues and trans representation in the performing arts. 

From the list:

The best books to introduce you to the world of trans masculine teens

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