Recommended Books

If you have read a book you’d like to see me add to this list, please e-mail me.

Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T With Transgender TeenagersBeam, Cris. Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T With Transgender Teenagers.
Well written book about trans teens in Los Angeles. The author is a journalist who taught at a school for LGBT youth for a time.

Boenke, Mary (ed.) Trans Forming Families: Real Stories About Transgendered Loved Ones.
Stories by trans and non-trans people, by, for, and about families. I recommend this book often for trans clients to give to their parents.

Bornstein, Kate. Kate has published four books: Gender Outlaw; Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws; Nearly Roadkill; and My Gender Workbook.
Kate deconstructs gender in a humorous, gentle way. Highly recommended.

Boyd, Helen. My Husband Betty and She’s Not the Man I Married.
“My Husband Betty” is a very well-written account by the wife of a cross-dresser, covering the various issues she went through in the ongoing process of coming to terms with her husband’s identity. In 2006, HelenĀ  published “She’s Not the Man I Married,” continuing the process of coming to terms with Betty’s identity.

Boylan, Jennifer. She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders. Memoir of an MTF
Especially focusing on the changes wrought in her marriage by her transition. Some partners have told me this book was one of the most meaningful to them, as it addressed some of their issues more than most trans autobiographies. (Many have said that this book combined with Helen Boyd’s “My Husband Betty” pretty much addressed the various issues they faced.)

Brown, Mildred. True Selves.
Written by a now-retired therapist, this is a classic “Trans 101″ book that many trans people send to friends and families to try to convey something of what it means to them to transition. More reflective of the older MTF experience.

Califia, Patrick. Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism.
Patrick is a therapist and transman who lives in the SF Bay Area.

Colapinto, John. As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who was Raised as a Girl.
Very well-written and researched book that tells the true story of David Reimer. This book is very important, as it exposes the truth of the “twins study” that was the basis for John Money’s claim that an infant could be raised to any particular gender role successfully, as long as the socialization began by about age 2. As the leading sex expert of his day, Money’s claims determined the medical treatment protocols for intersexed and transsexual people for several decades.

Green, Jamison. Becoming a Visible Man.
Memoir of a well-known transman activist, the founder of FTMI. Good medical information and sociological insights into the transition process. Highly recommended.

Jorgensen, Christine. The Christine Jorgensen Story.
This classic is a “must-read,” whether MTF or FTM. Jorgensen’s experiences make it so clear what it was like to transition at a time when doctors really had no idea precisely how a body can morph from male to female (or vice versa). Every single person who transitioned at that time was an experiment, and the result of that accumulated knowledge is that we have it much easier today. It’s a brave thing to transition now; to transition before doctors really had any idea how the human body would react was an incredible leap of faith!

Kailey, Matt. Just Add Hormones.
Well-written autobiography, told with humor and a different perspective than most of the autobiographies I’ve read, in that Matt did not take refuge in the lesbian community prior to his transition. He lived as a heterosexual woman, and now identifies as a gay transman.

Keig, Zander (ed). Letters for My Brothers. Zander solicited writings from various transmen long into their transition process (including me), with the one instruction: “Write a letter to yourself as someone considering transition. What would you have needed/wanted to hear?” The result is a collection of wisdom invaluable to transmen who are new to their journey. While I wish this book had been around in 1995, it’s a wonderful thing that it’s around now.

Kennedy, Pagan. First Man-Made-Man. This compelling book is the story of Dr. Michael Dillon, who transitioned in the 1940s, before Christine Jorgensen. Reading about Michael Dillon as well as Christine Jorgensen shows how far we’ve come in being able to undertake this life-changing process.

Khosla, Dhillon. Both Sides Now: One Man’s Journey Through Womanhood.
I read this book and Matt Kailey’s “Just Add Hormones” in the same weekend and was struck by how valuable it is to have various autobiograhies to read. Different people will resonate with different stories, as some will reflect their personal experience more than others. Matt and Dhillon are very different from each other, yet both underwent a similar transformation of self, from living female to living male. Dhillon’s book is very engaging, and inspiring, because he transitioned and retained his job as an attorney.

Kotula, Dean. Phallus Palace.
Photos and stories of transmen. Some of the surgery photos are very graphic, making this book unsuitable for use in educating many people’s families. (It might raise more fears than it will allay!) But it is an excellent resource for transmen seeking detailed surgical information, which is often unavailable in print form.

Lev, Arlene. Transgender Emergence.
Written by a therapist, this book is a great reference text for therapists. Good historical treatment about how we got to where we are in terms of the standards of care, the medical model currently in use in the U.S., etc. This is an academic book, not as accessible to the general public as “True Selves.”

Martino, Mario. Emergence
(Out of print, but you might get lucky on some used book sites) One of the first FTM autobiographies I know of, the story of a man who transitioned in the early to mid-1960s.

McCloskey, Deirdre. Crossing: A Memoir.
Autobiography of an MTF who transitioned on the job within academia. McCloskey is an economist, and professor of Human Sciences at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Morris, Jan. Conundrum.
A classic, the autobiography of Jan Morris, who transitioned in the 1960s. Morris has some thought-provoking ideas about gender, sex and being born trans.

Rudacille, Deborah. The Riddle of Gender: Science, Activism, and Transgender Rights.
One of my favorite non-fiction books. Rudacille is a science writer who became interested in trans identity when a long-time friend transitioned FTM. The book alternates between chronological accounts of how we got to where we are today, and interviews with people who transitioned during that time period.

Scholinski, Daphne. The Last Time I Wore a Dress.
Memoir of one transman’s experience being committed to a mental hospital in the 1980s, for “not doing female right.” Since publishing this book, Daphne has now transitioned to become Dylan.

Serano, Julia. Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity.
A book destined to be a classic, a series of essays providing excellent social and personal commentary.

Stryker, Susan. Transgender History.
This long-awaited book covers trans history in the second half of the 20th century, from a feminist viewpoint.

Valerio, Max. The Testosterone Files.
Excellent autobiographical account of one FTM’s experience with transition.

Walworth, Janis. Transexual Workers: An Employer’s Guide.
Recommended by a client who found it useful in approaching her Human Resources department during her transition.