By Adi Berardini
To celebrate and recognize Trans Awareness Week from November 13-November 19, Femme Art Review has once again highlighted books written by transgender and non-binary authors for what we deem as “Trans Lit Week.” By sharing the books of transgender and non-binary authors, we hope it will help increase awareness of trans stories and experiences. Many of our favourite books are by trans and non-binary authors so read on and find a new favourite!
I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes from the End of the World
by Kai Cheng Thom
First featured is I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes from the End of the World by acclaimed poet and author Kai Cheng Thom. This book dives deep into the questions that haunt social movements today through a collection of heartbreaking yet hopeful personal essays and prose poems. I Hope We Choose Love “proposes heartfelt solutions on the topics of violence, complicity, family, vengeance, and forgiveness…This provocative book is a call for nuance in a time of political polarization, for healing in a time of justice, and for love in an apocalypse.” (Adapted summary via Arsenal Pulp Press)
Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us
by Kate Bornstein
In Gender Outlaw, first published in 1994 yet decades ahead of its time, Bornstein takes readers on a “wonderfully scenic journey across the terrains of gender and identity. On one level, Gender Outlaw details Bornstein’s transformation from heterosexual man to lesbian woman, from a one-time IBM salesperson to a playwright and performance artist. But this coming-of-age story is also a provocative investigation into our notions of male and female, from a self-described “nonbinary transfeminine diesel femme dyke” who never stops questioning our cultural assumptions.” (Adapted summary via Vintage Books)
Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir
by Akwaeke Emezi
In Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir, best-selling author Akwaeke Emezi “reveals the harrowing yet resolute truths of their own life. Through candid, intimate correspondence with friends, lovers, and family, Emezi traces the unfolding of a self and the unforgettable journey of a creative spirit stepping into power in the human world. Their story weaves through transformative decisions about their gender and body, their precipitous path to success as a writer, and the turmoil of relationships on an emotional, romantic, and spiritual plane, culminating in a book that is as tender as it is brutal.” (text via Penguin Random House).
Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures
by Ivan Coyote
Storyteller Ivan Coyote has spent years on the road collecting letters from audience members and readers. Like many other artists, they found themselves at a standstill with the pandemic in early 2020. Their latest book Care Of combines the most powerful of letters they have received over time with their responses, creating a body of intimate correspondence. Taken together, “they become an affirming and joyous reflection on many of the themes central to Coyote’s celebrated work—compassion and empathy, family fragility, non-binary and trans identity, and the unending beauty of simply being alive.” (Adapted summary via Penguin Random House).
I’m Afraid of Men
by Vivek Shraya
Last but certainly not least, is I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya—a must-read about toxic masculinity, patriarchy, and accountability. In this book, Shraya unpacks both her fear and desire as a trans woman, delivering an “important record of the cumulative damage caused by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, releasing trauma from a body that has always refused to assimilate. I’m Afraid of Men is a blueprint for how we might cherish what makes us different and conquer what makes us afraid.” (Adapted summary from Penguin Random House).
We hope that you enjoy this selection and check out some of these books!