The books listed below are excellent consumer resources for those planning a gender transition.
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (2022 edition)
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves (first edition – may be cheaper!)
I’m very proud to have advised on this important book.
I co-edited this anthology of collected wisdom for trans women.
Dallas Denny (dallasdenny.com)
International Journal of Transgender Health (tandfonline.com)
- Earlier issues were published by Symposion and Haworth Press.
- A categorized list of books
- [NOTE: listed as a dangerous site in 2021 by Norton antivirus]
Trans Reads (transreads.org)
- A collection of writing related to our community. Offline as of 2021. [archive]
My personal recommendations
While these items do not focus on practical aspects of transition, I found the following books and film especially interesting, informative and inspirational. I have only listed books I’ve read myself. One notable absence is True Selves by Mildred Brown.
History and politics
Transgender Warriors : Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman, by Leslie Feinberg. (Beacon Press, 1997)
- Leslie was a genderqueer icon who compiled an excellent overview of transgender people in world history.
Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism , by Pat Califia (Cleis Press, 1997)
- Pat has written an outstanding outline of trans history in the U.S. since the mid-fifties, focusing on contemporary issues. Scholarly, but not too dry.
Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us , by Kate Bornstein (Vintage, 1994)
- Kate’s style is fun and accessible, and she raises some interesting questions about gender. However, it’s a bit scattered, and she addresses her more compelling issues much more thoroughly and thoughtfully in her follow-up, My Gender Workbook.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, by Janet Mock (Atria Books, 2014).
- This is a smart and engaging memoir interspersed with great teaching moments about trans history, politics, and theory.
My Story by Caroline Cossey (Faber and Faber, 1991).
- Caroline’s autobiography tells of her transition and subsequent career as an international model under the name Tula. Her appearance in a James Bond movie and growing fame led to her outing by the British tabloids.
Conundrum (New York Review Books Classics) by Jan Morris (Henry Holt & Co.).
- Jan is a world-renowned travel writer. She has written a fascinating autobiography recalling her days accompanying the first expedition to scale Mt. Everest, up through her transition and life after.
Branded T by Rosalyne Blumenstein. (First Books, 2003)
- See my page on Rosalyne Blumenstein for details on this great book and its amazing author.
Letters For My Brothers, Megan Rohrer (Editor), Zander Keig (Editor) Jamison Green (Author), Cristopher Bautista (Author), Malcolm Himschoot (Author), Reid Vanderburgh (Author), Elliott Anthony Brooker (Author), Lou Sullivan (Author), Raven Kaldera (Author) Also available from the publisher.
- In today’s fast paced world, the internet can provide quick answers to personal questions. But when an individual raised by society to live, breathe and look at the world with female eyes transitions to male, some of the most enlightening, helpful and profound advice can only come in retrospect. Letter to my Brothers, features essays from respected transmen mentors who share the wisdom they wish they would have known at the beginning of their journey into manhood. 20% of the proceeds are donated to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Wrapped In Blue: A Journey of Discovery by Donna Rose (Living Legacy Press, 2003).
- A thoughtful and frank memoir from a soman who was married with children when she decided to transition. She has had one of the more remarkable physical transformations as well. You can find more information about Donna and her book at donnarose.com.
Hidden in Plain Sight by Leslie Townsend
- Leslie began transition at 19 and lived stealth for 18 years before deciding it was holding her back.
She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
- Jenny has written an engaging and often charming account of the joys and difficulties of her transition as a college professor.
Mom, I Need To Be a Girl by Just Evelyn
- Evelyn helped her daughter transition at 15 and have vaginoplasty at 18. I found this to be a very touching book. Read a free PDF or read it at Lynn Conway’s website.
Mark 947: A Life Shaped by God, Gender and Force of Will by Calpernia Addams
- Calpernia began transition after a strict religious upbringing and a stint in the Navy. While working as a showgirl, she was thrust into the media spotlight when her boyfriend was murdered by fellow soldiers.
From Within by Vicky
- Vicky’s account of transition in her teens is both heartbreaking and uplifting.
‘O Au No Keia: Voices from Hawai’i’s Mahu and Transgender Communities by Andrew Matzner
- An interesting collection of 14 first-hand narratives about life in Hawai’i’s mahu and transgender commmunities.