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The 10 Best Books About Gender Identity You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The 10 Best Books About Gender Identity You Should Have Read Already By Now!

One could easily assume that discussing gender identity isn’t much of a controversial subject and that it and its related matters are easily discussed with logic and acceptance in hand.

Only, of course, would only be possible to believe it if one hadn’t waded through the ever-expanding mess that is social media for the last decade or so, which is a challenge that most of us cannot say that we’ve passed in any capacity.

Nowadays it seems that the false issues being raised with the subject are beyond number and that the actual steps that need to be taken are being lamented at every possible point. What is an intrinsically simple matter at its heart has spent many years being complicated by those who do not want to understand it or refuse to.

Regardless of whether they’re actually trans, non-binary, or otherwise, gender non-confirming, all of our readers have surely heard more than their fair contact with transphobia or general gender stigma.

It’s a true shame that people in our modern world still have to feel ashamed about themselves and their personal decisions all because other people decide that their tolerance – or their abstaining from hate and violence, really – is not worth the happiness of others.

Gender Identity Books - Best Gender Identity Books - Best Books About Gender Identity - Books on Gender Identity

While the social tension over the subject might have a little longer left on the clock before it is resolved altogether, that doesn’t mean that we queer people ourselves cannot find peace. But how to move past this, and ensure that morale and our sense of determination stay as high as possible?

Well – many agree that research and reading are the keys to unlocking all understanding and inspiration, and as such that’s exactly what we’re here to recommend with this list of books about gender identity. There’s no better way to get a sense of satisfaction or learn about the progress that needs to be made in the real world than to dive into a book dedicated to the subject. 

So – if you’re as ready as we are to learn about gender identity and to roll through some inspiring stories about those who dare to defy the rules, dare to define themselves, and dare to seek out the true meaning of what gender means and how we allow it to change our everyday lives and how we see the other human beings around us.

The streets are not paved with gold, they lied

I got a rough throat, i got a rough life

the streets are not paved with gold, they lied

I got too much queer in me to live their way tonight.

she found me waist up in you

she had found me mouthful, drinkin’ you

mama said that I was the devil, made this journey here a waste,

made too American and too unruly

couldn’t I just wear dresses, make money, and behave?

mama said leave this house, her spirit broken by ache

all my belongings freckled the streets

I slept outside, spirit stayin’ up, my journey isn’t self-made

From Song For The Kicked Out by Kay Ulanday Barrett
Queer Literature

Don't have time to read them all? Why not try listening to them? Audible is a great platform for listening to audiobooks because it offers a wide selection of books, including bestsellers and exclusive content. With Audible, you can listen to your favorite books on-the-go, whether you're commuting, working out, or doing household chores.

The Audible app also has features like adjustable narration speed, a sleep timer, and the ability to create bookmarks, making it easy to customize your listening experience. Additionally, Audible offers a membership program that gives members access to a certain number of audiobooks per month, making it a cost-effective option for avid listeners. 

A great resource for people who want to maximize their time and make the most out of their daily activities. Try a free 30-day trial from Audible today, and you'll get access to a selection of Audible Originals and audiobooks, along with a credit to purchase any title in their premium selection, regardless of price (including many of the books on this list!) 

For ebook lovers, we also recommend Scribd, basically the Netflix for Books and the best and most convenient subscription for online reading. While they have a catalog comprising over half a million books including from many bestselling authors, for some of the books on this list, you'll still have to purchase individually - either as a paperback or eBook to load on your Kindle - due to publishing house restrictions. 

Gender Identity Books - Best Gender Identity Books - Best Books About Gender Identity - Books on Gender Identity

Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

We’re starting the list strong with a masterfully written fantasy novel! Set in the distant extraterrestrial world of Gethen, Left Hand of Darkness is both thought-provoking regarding its relevance to real-life issues and an amazing book by the merit of its fictional aspects and story.

Genly Ai is two years into his envoy mission to Gethen, yet he still has to achieve his goal. Sooner or later, he has to convince the entire planet to join the Ekumen trade network, but his status as a Terran isn’t helping.

The population of Gethen can – and is encouraged to – change and choose their gender at will, allowing for infinite self-expression and redefinition. Genly’s gender, however, is solid and unchanging, and this fact leaves him somewhat of an outcast, especially given that he comes from out of the world.

Things seemed to be picking up for a while – or at least Ai hoped they were. He received an offer of help from the Prime Minister of the nation, Karhide, who claimed that he could get Ai an audience with the nation’s king. Not much later, however, the prime minister was executed, and Ai was left without a clue about how to proceed.

What comes next for Ai is a journey through the country’s social system, religions, and how it handles gender as a social construct – amazing insights that forever open his mind and unravel new secrets.

Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin - Best Books About Gender Identity

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Nobody Passes by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

While the strength of a good long story is certainly not without merit, there’s nothing quite like a good compilation work, and that’s something that Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity is to a tee.

There’s something quite special about combining the different experiences and ideas of varied people into something bigger than any of the stories included inside, and this is especially true when it comes to appreciating uniqueness and color in the world of gender identity and queerness as a larger whole.

Sycamore is an expert editor and a wonderful writer on her behalf, more than used to fearlessly and dauntlessly branching out into the literary world. It’s hard to encapsulate the value of Nobody Passes’ contents as a whole, but it suffices somewhat to say that the sheer inclusiveness and diversity contained within its pages are nearly overwhelming in their completeness and perfection. 

Wit and passion run free through every page – making an incredibly bold statement that stands against gender division and restrictions as a whole. All manners of life and backgrounds are included, all prospective futures and views on the present are put in the spotlight, and – on top of it all – every opinion and introspect lives harmoniously with the others.

Nobody Passes a perfect example of what makes queer literature special and why it is so important for members of the LGBTQ community to immerse themselves in and enrich the culture around, owned by, and influenced by them.

Nobody Passes by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore - Best Books About Gender Identity

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How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity by Michael Cart

This is another compilation work – the second in a row! But we promise that the two are different enough and wonderful enough in their ways to merit the doubling up. It’s true. The main difference between these two is that How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity comprises twelve works of fiction and is targeted more towards the young adult crowd.

That doesn’t mean that it has any less of a profound composition or any less talent put into its editing and writing, however. The stories that How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity tells are all perfect in their ways, and all hit upon their niches of queer life, struggle, and passion.

Just like Nobody Passes before it, there is no true overarching lens that one can apply to How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity to make it ‘make sense’ in an overview context, but, rather, the individual merit of the stories themselves stands alone amongst what one could say about the book as a whole.

They are tales of change – of wanting, fighting for, and pioneering something that may seem unachievable and distant at first but can be achieved nonetheless.

The plights of the characters within these stories feel just as real as those referenced in Nobody Passes even though they are fictional, and How Beautiful the Ordinary has the added advantage of being spread across a wider variety of years.

How Beautiful the Ordinary Twelve Stories of Identity by Michael Cart - Best Books About Gender Identity

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The Last Time I Wore a Dress by Dylan Scholinski

It didn’t take long for Dylan Scholinski to work out that he was trans, but it only took a little longer – until he was fifteen – for the cruel, unfair consequences of simply trying to live his own life to catch up with him. Scholinski was confined to a mental health institution and labeled as having ‘Gender Identity Disorder’, and spent the next three years after that point in intensive conversion therapy.

The adults around him were focused on one thing and one thing only – forcing Dylan to be Daphne and making sure that he acted like a woman. Everything was covered, from makeup and sitting etiquette to how he spoke. 

But, in the end, it didn’t work. Conversion therapy never works, and Dylan – just like many other victims of similar processes – simply came out being even more determined to defy and to do the right thing for himself. Hurt, scarred, and damaged, but determined nonetheless. 

The frightening thing, however, is that Dylan’s story is not an isolated one, nor is his bravery something that he is alone in being forced to exhibit in the face of utterly disturbing circumstances.

The modern history of our world is darkened at every corner by the pain of people who share his story almost to a tee. We learn about the scale of this and so much more through Scholinski’s ironic sense of humor and admirable wit in even the darkest situations, and what a joyous – though painful – journey it is.

The Last Time I Wore a Dress by Dylan Scholinski - Best Books About Gender Identity


Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

A lesson and an exploration of what gender norms mean as a whole from an entirely different perspective than usual, Girl Mans Up’s sense of uniqueness and variety is something to be truly appreciated and a quality that carries it remarkably high when it comes to rating queer books, especially those that tackle issues related to gender. 

Pen Oliveria – who hates being called her full name, Penelope – has always been the way she is and has always dressed the way she wants to. She has short hair, wears masculine clothes, and doesn’t like the things that some people would call feminine – except when it comes to the girls themselves.

And yet, for some reason, people are acting as if she’s somehow different now. As though she’s ‘pretending’ to be a boy and should either admit that she is trans or act like a ‘real girl’.

Pen is a lesbian and has been for as long as she can remember, but her luck has been remarkably thin so far when it comes to finding true love – or any love, for that matter.

Or anything at all. It turns out that it isn’t easy to crawl up from the social bottom in a small-town school, and it isn’t either to start the chemistry of a queer romance, no matter how much she wants it. How can she know what her family and the other kids want if she doesn’t know what she even wants for own self?

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard - Best Books About Gender Identity

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Stuck in the Middle with You by Jennifer Finney Boylan

There always has to be a book about parenting on more non-fiction learning lists like these, and that’s the place that Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders fills brilliantly.

An irreplaceably important must-read for parents, Boylan’s writing and the experiences she discusses in this book are nothing less than inspiring, and her way of relaying them reminds one of a caring mentor trying their very best to ensure that their experience is passed across.

The argument over who works harder out of mothers and fathers has existed for what seems like forever, but no one knows the values and individual hindrances of both sides of the argument better than Boylan. She spent ten years as a father before beginning her transition to being both a woman and a mother and has visited every possible middle point on the way. 

Her family has weathered a unique, widely varied set of challenges, and with them, she has learned the secrets and the know-how of parents on both sides of the gender spectrum.

But Boylan’s story isn’t the only one covered and explored within Stuck in the Middle with You’s pages. Boyan also interviews several other parents, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, and several more.

Together, and through the vast variety of their experiences, this book becomes somewhat of a master tome for queer parenting, or just constructive, open, and loving parenting as a larger whole. 

Stuck in the Middle with You by Jennifer Finney Boylan - Best Books About Gender Identity

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All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Society’s confining and overarching gender rules are a common source of conflict for both fiction and non-fiction books that focus on the subject of gender identity from a queer point of view, but there is a double edge to that blade.

Some work ends up reinforcing the very concepts they set out to attack through the way they explain their stories, and though this is mostly done unintentionally, it can still lead to feelings of being ‘not enough’ or ‘not fitting in’ when binary categories of gender are set in stone by both sides as though they are some fence to jump over.

But then we have All Boys Aren’t Blue. Instead of backing up harmful gender stereotypes and simply saying that ‘you can be another stereotype if you think you fit into it’, All Boys Aren’t Blue takes the much more grounded and rarer stance of reassuring that there is no right and wrong when it comes to gender expression. 

As the book’s titular expression might imply, Johnson’s memoir is the tale of a queer boy of color trying to make his way through life with peace while remaining as true to himself as possible.

While the book doesn’t explicitly focus on themes of being transgender, non-binary, or otherwise gender diverse, that is somewhat where it draws its point from. One doesn’t need to fit a set of criteria to express themselves. Life should be free, and expression should be about enjoyment and love, not rules and confinement. 

All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson - Best Books About Gender Identity

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Both Can Be True by Jules Machias

We’ve covered a lot of young adult and fully adult books in these lists, as well as quite a few children’s books for helping early acceptance and learning, but it’s quite rare that we cross upon a work intended for the middle range of school ages, rather than the later or the earlier ones.

With Both Can Be True. However, there are no regrets about the genre and age jump, and the bill fits perfectly. The book is sweet and emotional at the same time as being practical and educational, raising awareness in a way that doesn’t seem forced or even a large factor of the book.

Out of our two main characters, Ash is gender fluid, and Daniel struggles to make things work at school and with his family because he is perceived as too emotionally sensitive.

They were more or fewer strangers for the better part of their childhoods, but when Daniel strives to rescue a dog from euthanasia, and Ash falls in with the plot, too, they are irrevocably brought together both as friends and as fellow rejects from society.

What follows is an adorable, relatable, and deeply emotional process of bonding and progressing forward in life as the two kids learn to leave their issues behind and love themselves first and foremost out of all the people around them. The wholesome interactions that Ash and Daniel’s share are wonderful and make the book heartwarming.

Both Can Be True by Jules Machias - Best Books About Gender Identity

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The ABCs of LGBT+ by Ash Hardell

We’ve had two compilation works on this list of books about gender identity, but The ABCs of LGBT+ is something else altogether. Packing together the best aspects of the rest of its kind, this masterpiece by Ash Hardell is a collection of tips, explanations, and insights into various things, labels, and identities that fall under the queer community’s roof.

There are a lot of books that attempt to do that which was described above, with varying levels of commercial success and production qualities, but many of them end up falling short by trying to make something that should be natural into something that is overly analytical.

These books feel more restricting than informative and educating, given that being queer and finding your sexuality is supposed to be liberating rather than confining. 

This book, however, could not embody a feeling that was more of the opposite. Hardell understands that the delivery of information is almost as important as the information itself, and it shows in how she writes, reaches out, and delivers her thoughts.

The ABCs of LGBT+ goes beyond the top-ranking Google search results that come up for generic questions and instead explain queer matters, and they relate to us as people in a truly heartfelt way that sets it aside from other books of its like.

There is no strict encyclopedia feel to the book, and there is no lecturing tone of writing. There is just a helping hand extended in peace and unbiased strength, beckoning on to a more confident future.

The ABCs of LGBT+ by Ash Hardell - Best Books About Gender Identity

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It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn

What better way to end this list of books about gender Identity on a supportive note than with this absolutely lovely children’s book? It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity is designed to explain the subject of gender identities, growing up into your gender, and accepting our fellow humans in the most simple, colorful, and relatable context possible.

No boundaries are overstepped, and no ‘agendas’ are pushed – as is often (erroneously) claimed about children- or youth-targeted educative works – this book is good through and through.

Even though It, After all, it’s as simple as that. While the benefits of more in-depth, involved books that delve deeper into the subject are undeniable, there’s a certain perfect quality to the simplicity of books like It Feels Good to Be Yourself.

They take away all the boiling of the issue and the overcomplication and leave only the pure essence of the issue, allowing us to see exactly how trivial and foolish it is to further division and hate – especially when it comes to educating children.

It Feels Good to Be Yourself is superbly written, incredibly easy to understand, and – if those plus sides weren’t enough for you – illustrated beautifully by Noah Grigni, who is trans and queer.

With Thorn’s insight, the book’s colorful pages leap out of its spine and into the hearts of readers, and it’s hard to imagine a more kindly, emotional and open-ended way to approach the subject in written form.

It Feels Good to Be Yourself A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn - Best Books About Gender Identity

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