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The 10 Best Genderqueer Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

The 10 Best Genderqueer Books You Should Have Read Already By Now!

Do you identify as genderqueer? Are you an ally? Are you expanding your reading list to include more LGBT books? You are at the right place! We have our pick for the ten best genderqueer books by our voice authors on growing up and living as genderqueer people. Before that, let us explore the history of the word genderqueer, shall we?

The 1990s saw a redefining of the term queer. Until then, it was used as an anti-gay slur. But now, the gay community is turning it on its head by celebrating queer as a symbol of empowerment and uniqueness. The word genderqueer has its origins in the same period. It challenges the gender binary and the common assumption that everyone is either completely male or female.

Genderqueer is an umbrella term adopted by anyone who falls outside the gender binary. It can be someone who identifies as neither of the two genders or both or somewhere in between. Did you know that this term first gained popularity through word of mouth in activist circles?

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Popular activist and gender warrior Riki Wilchins first used it in print in 1995. This word gave identity and validation to many people who had, until then, felt unseen and unheard. It continues to do so.

The meaning of genderqueer has evolved since it was first used. Gender is a complex and moving entity. It can be difficult to understand for everyone, queer or not, especially since we are all programmed to think in binaries. Fortunately, there are many great books, autobiographies and memoirs that help us understand what it is to be genderqueer.

We have chosen the best books about the struggles and triumphs of being genderqueer. The authors come from different social backgrounds, races and countries,s bringing with them unique experiences of being queer. As you might have guessed, they are not easy to read. But they have braved the struggles to find joy, love and peace.

By writing these stories, they are making it easier for all the genderqueer folks who come after them. They are also educational for families and allies to better support and love the genderqueer people in their lives. These books help look at gender in a brand new light. Are you ready for it?

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. 

Genderqueer Books - Best Genderqueer Books - Best Books for Genderqueer - Books on Genderqueer

Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

Did you know that this book was the most banned book of 2021? We wonder why! It is a tender story of a non-binary, asexual person coming to terms with eir gender and sexuality. The author, Maia Kobabe, writes with commendable honesty about eir path to self-discovery and acceptance. Kobabe uses the Spivak pronouns e/em/eir.

There is a beautiful conversation about trying out different pronouns and seeing what fits. The conversation goes on to explain why asking for someone’s pronouns is natural and should be done more often. Kobabe also advocates telling people how to address you.

The line- “Instead of asking people to do something to make you feel more comfortable, you’d rather just feel a little uncomfortable all the time?” delivers a powerful message! Kobabe emphasizes the importance of language in helping us unpack ourselves.

Eir love for reading stands out in this memoir. The poets and writers who came before them gave Kobabe the courage and language to explore and accept themselves. This is true for all of us.

Kobabe touches upon all the nuances and details of non-binary identity. This graphic memoir serves as a road map for anyone reflecting on their gender identity and sexuality. The simple language and the expressive illustrations make it very easy to read.

This book is perfect for teens and adults alike. This book is also a great tool for anyone looking to understand more about queerness and asexuality. An educational and fun read. What more can we ask for? 

Gender Queer A Memoir by Maia Kobabe - Best Books With Non-Binary Characters

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How to Understand Your Gender by Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker

Gender diversity is not new, but widespread awareness about it is. It is no wonder that many of us are ill-equipped to understand and deal with it. That is where priceless books like How to Understand Your Gender comes to the rescue!

This is a book for everyone- cis, trans or non-binary. The authors, Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker have done an impeccable job of simplifying gender but never compromising on its nuances. While the writing is not technically conversational, it does feel like talking to a close friend about gender. The book dives into the biology and history of gender.

Intersectionality is a major theme in this book. The amalgamation of gender, social influence, religion, ethnicity, class, disability and more contribute to a person’s identity. The book also provides practical ways people can express their gender. It is peppered with activities and points of reflection to ensure that the reader soaks up all the valuable knowledge!

What’s more, it has many pointers for you to slow down and sit with what you have read so far! This book is designed for a multitude of reading abilities and audiences. The authors wanted this guide to be accessible to as many people as possible, and it shows. This would make for a great read for pre-teens and teens who have just started exploring their gender. 

This self-help guide can be read in a day, but we recommend you take it slow. This cozy book makes for a perfect choice to read with friends or kids!

How to Understand Your Gender by Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker - Best Genderqueer Books

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All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson

This is a memoir-manifesto of a queer Black child growing up in New Jersey. George M Johnson takes us on a trip down memory lane of their childhood, teenage and college years. They recount their journey with compassion and honesty. We read of the time they were bullied as a child, the time spent with their grandmother and their first sexual experiences.

As a young Black, queer child, Johnsons struggled to fit in. Exploring gender and sexuality has been a long and lonely journey for them. Johnson talks directly to the reader and takes the tone of a friendly mentor. They show huge appreciation and love for their family and friend circle. This book is organized into a series of personal essays about gender identity, Black joy, toxic masculinity and the intersectionality of race and gender.

Johnson shares anecdotes from his young adult years and turns them into accessible lessons for the reader. Johnson draws on his own experiences to encourage young Black boys to dig through layers of masculinity and race. His trials with being “masculine” are precious lessons that teenage boys can learn from.

The author’s experiences after joining a frat house and the brotherhood they find there are pivotal to their discovery of masculinity. They do not shy away from the uncomfortable truths and mistakes they have made. The narrative is raw and real.

The writing is casual and conversational. But it never trivializes the topic. The author’s casual style becomes a strength, not a weakness. If you are venturing into LGBT non-fiction, this is a great book.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson - Best Genderqueer Books

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I am Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

The patriarchal definition of masculinity is a very narrow, questionable one. And this is what the author writes about in this book. Vivek Shraya is a trans artist from Canada who combines different art mediums in their work. In this book, she writes about her experience with masculinity both as a boy and now as a woman.

The title sums up the book pretty well. Shraya recounts how it was growing up as a queer person of color. But this book is not a vindictive outlet against men. Shraya calls out misogynistic men and women for upholding outdated ideas of masculinity. She admits to missing some aspects of her masculine past, like a thick beard and impressive biceps.

She dreams about a world where gender is not so rigid. A world in which she did not have to give up these masculine traits to prove that she was indeed a woman. Shraya is not afraid of men but of what we have made them be. Having grown up as a boy, she reflects on what we teach our future men.

The patriarchal society does not teach sensitivity and respect to boys. She also reflects on the idea of a “good” man and the extremely low standards it takes to be one. Men are either good or bad, leaving little scope for emotional maturity and complexity.

Shraya writes in the second person, directly addressing those that have wronged her. She talks about their maltreatment and the lasting effects it has had. This short memoir serves as a powerful tool to unpack masculinity.

I am Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya - Best Genderqueer Books

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Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

Janet Mock is an LGBTQ icon. Her autobiography is a powerful and inspirational read. Mock writes about growing up in a loving yet dysfunctional family in Honolulu. As her parent’s firstborn son, Mock knew early on that she was a woman. From then on, it has been a tough road to where she is now. Mock shares how she started transitioning by self-medicating during her turbulent adolescence and later flew across the world alone for a sex reassignment surgery.

Mock has always been an intellectual woman, but attending college and having an enviable career did not come easy. She had to do things she did not like to make it here. But when she finally made it, Mock buried her past and did not reveal it to anyone. She finally found a man who called her his dream woman. His love gave her the strength to speak her story, and we are all much better for it!

Redefining Realness is not an easy read. Some of Mock’s experiences have been dark and horrific, which can sometimes be difficult to read. But it is worth reading because there is love, friendship and resilience on every page. Mock’s relationship with her family is not straightforward. She knows they love her, but they also don’t understand her.

However, she recounts how her friends have helped her in her relentless quest for identity. Mock also admits to the privileges she enjoys compared to many other trans women who might not have the same luxury. This makes for a fascinating, multi-layered story that will leave a mark on you.

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock - Best Genderqueer Books

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We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib

There are a few subsections within the LGBTQ community that do not get their due share of attention. Queer Muslim women are one such group. That’s why books like We Have Always Been Here are so important. Reading your own voice story can be transformative. In this book, Samra Habib shares her story of growing up in Pakistan and later immigrating to Canada.

As a young girl growing up as an Ahmadi Mulsim, she was taught to keep her identity a secret. Her entire family had to do this to stay safe from Islamic extremists. Later in Canada, she hid her femininity and queerness from her family. Hiding became second nature to her. It was only much later that she could break through the shackles of her conservative upbringing and accept herself.

Habib skilfully pens down the interplay of multiple identities and how they come together to make one unique person. She vehemently holds on to her Muslim identity while also coming out as queer. Her story serves as a powerful voice for those still struggling in similar scenarios. 

Through Habib’s story, it is clear that while growing up in Pakistan and later in Toronto, she did not feel represented. She has ensured that young Muslim girls or anyone living on the outer margins of society feel represented through her book.

Samra’s voice is not a loud, in-your-face kind. It is quiet yet powerful. It is kind and compassionate. We Have Always Been Here is a must-read for anyone looking to expand their knowledge of the queer community worldwide.

We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib - Best Genderqueer Books

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Uncomfortable Labels by Laura Kate Dale

Labels are both good and bad, don’t you agree? They can help one express themselves, but on the flip side, they can also be used to misgender or limit one’s personality. This book shares one such story. It is the story of Laura Kate Dale, who has experienced both sides of labeling.

Dale was expected to grow up as a “normal” heterosexual boy, but the plan went wrong. She was diagnosed with autism early on, but something kept bothering her. She attributed her gender dysphoria to autism. Fortunately, this did not last, and she unearthed her trans identity. But the journey was not easy. Dale was bullied as a child for not fitting in.

Some of these experiences can be difficult to read. Dale does not mince words while recounting the childhood horrors she went through. By telling her story, she aims to console young adults like her that life will improve. Dale shed the labels of neurotypical, heterosexual boy and found her identity as a gay, autistic, trans woman. 

Dale describes autism in minute detail. It is eye-opening for both neurotypical and people on the spectrum. She also sheds light on the intersectionality of gender variance and autism. Did you know that those on the spectrum are eight times more likely to report gender variance? She stresses the need for more studies on the connection between the two.

This is a great book for anyone, but especially for parents of autistic and/or genderqueer kids. It can change their life!

Uncomfortable Labels by Laura Kate Dale - Best Genderqueer Books

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Beyond the Gender Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon

Looking for a quick introduction to gender diversity? You are at the right place! Beyond the Gender Binary is an unapologetic celebration of queerness. The author, Alok Vaid-Menon, draws on their own experiences growing up to educate the reader about gender-nonconforming identities. They also draw on historical references to establish that queerness is not a new phenomenon.

Vaid-Menon argues that gender is malleable. It is an expression of one’s truest self and can change from one day to another. As Vaid-Menon eloquently expresses, “Gender is a story, not just a word”. The book also tackles a lot of myths and preconceptions about gender.

Vaid-Menon debunks these myths patiently and logically. He argues that society inherently rewards conformity and represses creativity. This is one of the main reasons that identities outside the gender binary are constantly under attack. The fact that they are a person of color adds more depth to this book. Their experiences lie at the intersection of gender and race. 

Vaid-Menon uses witty writing to help the reader understand queerness. Some of the lines in this book are so profound they make you pause and reflect. This book will prompt you to think about gender in ways you might not have until now.

Vaid-Menon uses easy-to-understand language but never compromises on the gravity of the subject. After reading this book, it is hard to ignore how the rigid gender binary harms everyone, even the cis-gendered.

This short and quick read packs a powerful punch! 

Uncomfortable Labels by Laura Kate Dale - Best Genderqueer Books

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Gender Failure by Rae Spoon and Ivan E. Coyote

What does it mean to be a gender failure? Not succumbing to the binary or not recognizing its diversity? This book, co-authored by Rae Spoon and Ivan E. Coyote, explores their journeys from gender failure to gender enlightenment. The authors are accomplished writers, musicians and performers. They both have different gender identities and lived experiences.

This book is based on their infamous tour of the same name in 2012. This is a heart-wrenching collection of personal essays, lyrics and images from the authors’ lives. The authors approach this book from a personal is political perspective. They talk about issues like gender-neutral bathrooms and the genuine fear of a trans person using public toilets.

What stands out is the openness with which the authors share their stories. They do not play the victim all the time; they talk about the mistakes they have made too. For instance, Spoon talks about the time they messed up pronouns and were possibly insensitive. Reading this is refreshing because we are all learning and will make mistakes. The book also addresses the privileges that some enjoy within the queer community.

Their heart-breaking tales are interwoven with humor giving you a well-rounded reading experience. In their stories of confusion, fear and alienation, we see courage, resilience, friendship and love. These poignant stories will stay with you for a long time. This is a great book for allies or parents of queer children to understand more about being queer. 

Gender Failure by Rae Spoon and Ivan E. Coyote - Best Genderqueer Books

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Genderqueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary by Riki Wilchins, Silvia Rivera, Gina Reiss

Even wonder what was it like to be genderqueer in the 1990s? Before the internet became what it is today and information was easily accessible? Before we could find online communities and camaraderie with people across the globe?

Genderqueer: Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary is a collection of essays written in the late 1990s by genderqueer people from that time. It serves as a time capsule in the history of queerness. These stories are not perfect. The writers’ understanding of sexuality and gender might seem premature. But it tells of the struggles and limitations suffered by a pre-internet era of queer people.

They did their best with the resources they had at hand. This book holds thirty first-person accounts of gender exploration and expression by a diverse set of people. These essays are edited by Joan Nestle, a gender scholar, accompanied by Riki Anne Wilchins and Clare Howell.

Through these essays, they advocate for a new normal where people break free of imposed gender norms and make their own gender choices. Imagine how liberating that would be! The book is divided into two parts- theory and essays. The theory section is extremely educational. The essays are mostly personal stories.

They are very raw and emotional. It feels like you are talking to a friend about their experiences as a queer person. This combination of cold theory with humane stories is the perfect recipe to help us understand gender queerness.

This is a great book not only to learn about queerness but also to reflect on how far we have come.

Genderqueer Voices from Beyond the Sexual Binary by Riki Wilchins, Silvia Rivera, Gina Reiss - Best Genderqueer Books

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