Representation in literature is essential. Being able to see oneself in the pages of a book and feel less alone is one of the many wonders of reading. This is especially true for trans women, who are among the most marginalized people in society. While transgender representation is still lacking, these books are here to change that. Today we look at five fantastic books in varying genres that feature trans women as their protagonists.
1. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Science-fiction and fantasy lovers, this one’s for you. Pet is the story of Jam, a Black trans teenager who lives in the utopian city of Lucille. Evil people, or “monsters,” do not exist in the city, or at least that’s what Jam has been told. When a mystical creature emerges from one of her mother’s paintings, Jam’s world is turned upside down. She is forced to question the reality she lives in while fighting to save her best friend. In this award-winning YA novel, Jam discovers that her utopia is a lie and that monsters lurk closer than she thinks.
2. A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
Viola Carroll and the Duke of Gracewood were best friends until she was presumed dead at the Battle of Waterloo. Viola seizes the opportunity to live as her true self at the expense of her social status and close relationships. When she meets the Duke again years later, she is met with a broken man still grieving the loss of his closest friend. As the two rekindle their friendship, Viola develops new feelings she cannot deny. A Lady for a Duke is a trans historical romance of love, loss, and personal growth that you should add to your reading list ASAP.
3. Little Fish by Casey Plett
Wendy, a thirty-something Canadian trans woman, has recently learned that her grandfather passed away. His passing hits her even harder when she learns that he may have actually been trans himself. In this debut novel by trans author Casey Plett, Wendy tries to uncover secrets of the past while struggling through everyday hardships in the present. Little Fish is a story of surviving economic insecurity, finding solace through loved ones, and overcoming adversity. This emotional and honest journey is a must-add to your TBR.
4. Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones by Torrey Peters
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the transphobic argument that the queer community is “trying to make everyone trans.” This novella by Peters asks, “So what if we did?” Lexi is a trans woman tired of how society mistreats the trans community. Her solution? Releasing a virus upon society that completely stops hormone production in humans. In a world where no one’s body inherently fits their gender identity, the whole of society faces the same dilemmas as Lexi once did. This dystopian novella destigmatizes genderqueerness in a fresh, twisted way. If you have a couple of hours to spare, I highly recommend picking this one up.
5. Dreadnought by April Daniels
Calling all superhero fans! When Danny Tozer gains Dreadnought’s supernatural abilities following his death, she can no longer hide her trans identity. Now she’s faced with several problems: her father not accepting her transition, her best friend’s unrelenting romantic advances, other superheroes not accepting her as one of their own, and a powerful supervillain threatening to destroy the world. In this coming-of-age story, Danny is forced to navigate her coming out with the fate of humanity in her hands. What’s a girl to do?
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