Friday, July 24, 2009

book report

Over the years, I have bought enough non-fiction books on the topic of transgender to fill a library.

I started reading every book I bought, but I finished reading few.

Maybe it's just me, but I found the majority of transgender-related non-fiction books to be boring. I read a few from cover-to-cover, but most did not hold my interest and I added them to my tall stack of unfinished books.

So, I'm curious which transgender-related non-fiction books you liked and why?

I'm also curious about what would be your "ideal" trans non-fiction book, i.e., what would you like to see in a trans book that you have never or seldom seen before?

Please answer using the Comments feature of this blog or by e-mail.


  1. Staci - This is a tough one to answer. I do have to say I liked Helen Boyd's books. Like you I have started several that quickly lost my interest. There is something about the way Ms. Boyd writes that I just enjoy reading. Some other writers are just boring I do not know what to else to say.

    As far as what I would enjoy in a book, I am not sure. I think I like reading books on the subject to remind myself that there is nothing wrong with me.

  2. I've never read one, but if I did I'd consider one were transgenderism is a minor topic. Although it is important it shouldn't be the focus of everything. The writer should at least have a sense of humor on life.

  3. My favorite is "The Lazy Crossdresser," by Charles Anders (she writes nowadays in a female voice as Charlie Anders). It's a fun book that combines a lot of practical advice on make-up, shopping for clothes, and whatnot, with an affirming and lighthearted message. Crossdressing isn't something to agonize over, it's fun and fulfilling. As you can see, it's not aimed at transsexuals but rather at occasional crossdressers (straight, gay, or bi).

    Another good book is a memoir, "Dress Codes: Of Three Girlhoods--My Mother's, My Father's, and Mine," by Noelle Howey. Ms. Howey's father gradually came to the realization that she was a transsexual woman and made the transition when the author was a young adult. It's a very sensitive and honest portrayal.

  4. AnonymousJuly 25, 2009

    I think mine is 'Mom, I Need to be a Girl' by Just Evelyn. This book is a quick easy read. It made me laugh and it made me cry, hitting close to home for me. I identified with Danielle and wished I had such a mother as Just Evelyn. A truly amazing and wonderful book for me. Thanks for asking the question Staci, Josie

  5. I'm a big fan of Jennifer Finney Boylan. Her books are witty, insightful, and show that she has put a lot of thought into her transition. It's also fun to check out her web site and watch some of the videos she has up there.

    I just picked up "Alice in Genderland" last night, and have started that.

    I also like reading books about genetic womens' experiences, such as "Knowing Pain", to help me better understand my new environment.

  6. Donna Rose's 'Wrapped in Blue' was quite a compelling and closely personal telling of her story through transition. She so succinctly describes the same emotions and trials I've gone through, and I think is definitely worth a read for anyone who is T.

    By the way, keep up the good job, people keep returning to your site because of the quality and consistency of the "product" you put out there. You rock!

  7. AnonymousJuly 25, 2009

    I've only read one book from beginning to end, and I must admit I can't recall the title. My wife also read it. It was in the library of the support group I've been attending.

    Others that I have started and never finished include Helen Boyd's "My Husband Betty" and My Husband Wears My Clothes by Peggy Rudd (I don't so I just couldn't get started).

    I would like to see a book treat this subject as an autobiography of all of us. From the stories I've heard about how we all got started, we are almost the same person. We all have or had the same fears of discovery, and banishment if found out. Some have gotten beyond those fears and are living their lives as they want, but they are the minority. Maybe the autobiography could have alternate endings.

    The why's and how's of living transgendered could be dealt with using the female voice while the fear and denial could be dealt with using the male. Sense of humour - female, ignorance - male, and so on.

    Facts could be scattered through the entire book to make it informative while the rest of the book is entertaining the reader by portraying the stops and starts of each of us getting through our lives either "out en femme" or "closet en femme."

    Do you thinks something like that would work?

  8. I have read many, but two come to mind, both TS oriented, but I think would be of interest to all.

    True Selves - The first few chapters detail differences between the gender variances.

    Uninvited Dilemma: A Question of Gender - Probably the best book I have read to date on the subject of transsexualism. Written by a therapist and based on her many interview with both FtM and MtF TS's. Perhaps a bit clinical, but I found it to be very educational especially as to just what goes on inside the head of a TS.

  9. Dear Staci,

    I wish I had a recommendation. I would love to be able to promote an author, refer to a book that had helped me, and help indirectly another tg/cg get along a little easier in the world. But as much as I love to curl up with a good book, in drab or en femme, I have not found anything off the shelves that fits your criteria.

    Fortunately, we all have access to a handful of real life, real time, and very well blogs and personal web sites to fill the void. Yours is one of them.

    Thanks! I will go out and buy whatever book(s) you cite as the creme de la creme in a later post. Only question will be whether I femulate for that sortie or not ...

    Cheers - Petra

  10. i don't really read non-fiction to much.

    my prized TG book is: Tula ~ I am a Woman, 1982, i have read it several times, an easy rather straight forward read.

    my first book on the TG subject was Deborah Heller Feinbloom's Transvestites and Transsexuals from 1976.

    a few years ago i did read a good part of Helen Boyd's My Husband Betty, but lost interest.

    i would rather read a first person true story then anything else, everyone has a good story in them.

  11. AnonymousJuly 27, 2009

    Gretchen from Illinois writes -

    I have read more than a few....
    Noelle Howey's book was very good.
    Donna Rose's book was an interesting "first person" account of her transition.
    I do certainly enjoy Jenny Boylan's writing.
    However, Jan Morris' first book - "Conundrum" is extremely well written and worth finding in your library. It is probably my favorite in the genre.

  12. Well right at the moment I am wildly keen on Kate Bornstein's _My Gender Workbook_. It's neither story nor clinical description though - more of a hand-held, guided tour of the issues from the most intimate to the most political.

    I'm still working through it though (oh yes, there's homework :) so I can't tell you how I will feel about it at the end just yet, but frankly page 30 was worth the price of admission *all by itself*.

  13. AnonymousJuly 27, 2009

    "Crossing: A Memoir" was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1999. It details the transition of Deirdre McCloskey, a renowned professor of economics who transitioned from male to female in 1995. Excellent read.

  14. All --- Thank you all for your great response to my questions.

    I have read some of the books you mentioned. And now I have more books on my must-read list that I will add to my library. Thank-you for your recommendations.

  15. Surely the best two are
    Tula, and Alice in GenderLand?