Monday, July 19, 2010

Transgender Tales

My first exposure to transgender stories was in the Pulitzer Prize book, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin.

Other tales you might consider are:

She’s Not There : a life in two genders, by Jennifer Finney Boylan. A wonderfully exuberant memoir about a man named James who becomes a woman called Jenny. What I really liked about this memoir is how honest it is. The relationship between James and his wife, Grace, becomes the loving relationship Grace now has with her "sister" Jenny. James best friend, novelist Richard Russ does not understand the need to transform. He tells James to buck up and be a man! Yet, Russo comes to realize that Jenny is James, just better and happier.

As Nature Made Him : the boy who was raised as a girl, by John Colapinto. This true story of a male-bodied child who lost his penis in a botched circumcision. Because of this tragedy, he was raised as a girl. While not a typical transsexual story it is very well written and some would say a "must read".

All She Wanted, by Aphrodite Jones. A true crime story involving the murder and rape of Brandon Teena. Brandon was attractive to many of the women of the small Nebraska town of Fall Cit, and thus leading to his downfall. Writing with the co-operation of Brandon’s ex-girlfriends and family, the murderers and other sources, Jones writes about Brandon's life, death and the subsequent trial. Many will be familiar with this story due to the Oscar winning film Boys Don’t Cry starring Hilary Swank.

The End of Innocence, by Chastity Bono. I debated with myself on whether or not to include this in my transgender blog post, since this book was written about Bono coming out as a lesbian. But Chas, as he is now known, presents an interesting biography as a lesbian and as a celebrity kid, being the child of Sonny and Cher.

Luna: a novel, by Julie Anne Peters. This award winning young adult novel is about a male to female transsexual, Luna, as told from the point of view of her sister, Regan. The author Peters has stated that she decided to have the sister tell the story because she herself is not a transsexual and felt the story might be compromised otherwise.

Stone Butch Blues: a novel, by Leslie Feinberg. A tale of the life of a butch, Jess Goldberg, set in the pre-Stonewall era. This novel was an underground cult hit before mainstream society discovered it. While focusing on butch/femme culture during the late 1960s, the novel also deals with transgender issues such as taking testosterone to pass as a man.

Parrotfish, by Ellen Wittlinger is another young adult novel. The title comes from the fact that parrotfish can change their gender. Angela McNair struggles through high school, facing all the normal teenage angst, as well as facing her/his sexual identity. Wittlinger manages to approach the subject matter in a non-threatening manner and manages to enlighten a broad range of readers.

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy someone in the library system has finally posted something like this. we need more blogs about glbtq readers advisory. thanks so much rosemary!