For transgender and non-binary folx, 2020 has been a mixed bag politically, while the intentional killing of trans folx continues, unabated. Publishing has been a bright spot, as trans and non-binary authors are more visible than ever before; yet J.K. Rowling’s controversial position on trans rights, considered by many to be transphobic, shows more work must be done. For Adult Book Bingo, consider one of these outstanding books for the trans or non-binary author square.
In Glitter Up The Dark, Sasha Geffen explores gender fluidity in 20th century pop music. From Little Richard and David Bowie to Missy Elliott and Frank Ocean, Geffen reveals how music is “inherently queer.” C. Riley Snorton tackles the intersection of blackness and transness in Black on Both Sides, a wide-ranging study of black and trans identity from slave narratives to Hollywood films. The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist by the late Ben Barres explores his transition from female to male in his 40s and the realization that male scientists are treated differently than their female counterparts.
If memoirs move you, take a look at My Sister, where Orange is the New Black star Selenis Leyva and her sister Marizol, in alternating chapters, reflect on Marizol’s struggle with their gender identity after being adopted. Jo Ivester shares the story of his gender transition and his family’s eventual acceptance in Once A Girl, Always A Boy. And in Fairest, Meredith Talusan’s remarkable journey as a transgender immigrant with albinism makes this an utterly original memoir.
Poetry & Fiction
Trans women of color are particularly vulnerable to violence; in A Place Called No Homeland, poet and performance artist Kai Cheng Thom provides emotional support alongside moving poetry that is “thought-provoking, beautiful, and painstakingly candid.” Arielle Twist, who identifies as “Cree, Two-Spirit, trans femme supernova”, uses poetry to extract hope from trauma in Disintegrate/Dissociate.
Looking for a wild ride? Look no further than Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, Andrea Lawlor’s funny and poignant tale of a shapeshifter who can change genders at will. In Confessions of the Fox, scholar Jordy Rosenberg tells the tale of a trans professor who discovers a manuscript by nortorious thief Jack Sheppard that reveals he was trans as well. Little Fish by Casey Plett features Wendy, whose struggles with alcohol and sex work are compounded by the discovery that her Mennonite grandfather struggled with his assigned gender. Finally, Charlie Jane Anders is an accomplished writer whose work transcends neat genre labels; while her new books are in high demand, check out her Hugo Award-winning novelette Six Months, Three Days, about a man who can only see one future and a woman who can see all possible futures.
Looking for more? Check out the Book Bingo NW 2020: Trans or Nonbinary book list.
For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2020 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2020 on social media. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.
~posted by Frank B.