Celebrating International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st

Trans Day of Visibility has nearly arrived, and we have books to celebrate. First and foremost, a little history on the day: Trans Day of Visibility was created by Rachel Crandall in 2009 in Michigan and is now celebrated around the world each year. Maurice Tomlinson, Jamaican lawyer and 2SLGBTQ+ activist has said before that “visibility is liberty” where seeing ourselves represented and reflected in the world around us represents a kind of freedom. Nowhere is this truer than in Trans Day of Visibility.

Now, there are more books by trans authors than ever before, and it is an exciting time to be a trans person even amidst waves of intolerant backlash. When I think about the stories of trans folks writing visibility to life, our collection features many notable authors—too many to list comprehensively. Highlighted below are a few from our collection to expand your awareness and understanding of transness and trans experiences, this Trans Day of Visibility.

No matter how you celebrate, I hope Trans Day of Visibility shines a light on the brilliance and radiance of trans people in your life and beyond.

Miss Major Speaks: Conversations With a Black Trans Revolutionary

by Toshio Meronek and Miss Major


The book charts a course through Major’s experiences in organizing and giving much more to the 2SLGBTQ+ community than it could ever repay, except in gratitude and grace. I’ve often heard of joyful resistance, though Miss Major’s Conversations brings it to life in a way that it’s complexity is easy to understand. It’s easy to assume that organizing is about affecting change. I was reminded that change is a result of affecting people with those who care as much about a cause as you do. These conversations contribute to an archive of trans elderhood that has been sorely lacking for many generations. It complicates the tidier versions of 2SLGBTQ+ community that are one of the main features of contemporary Pride celebrations that often forget or erase the centrality of trans folks as those who worked at its liberation.

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Me, Myself, and They: Life Beyond The Binary

by Joshua M. Ferguson


Ferguson writes an intellectually vivacious and important beacon for the non-binary community. Sometimes we hear the refrain, “it gets better” when what we need is something more steadfast. Me, Myself, and They offers a voice of reason where others may provide saccharine platitudes. Ferguson emphasizes that it may or may not get better but if you better yourself, you won’t be left waiting for an abstract joy to descend. Life, and its joys, will meet you where you are. Ferguson narrates their life experiences and shows up in their full magnificence for all the occasions of gender nonconformity and transness (coming out, social transition, self-awareness, and healing). They do so free of pretense and with a curiosity that reads like a conversation with a good friend. They take a more cerebral perspective on their experiences, but it is still necessary reading (particularly to learn about non-binary experiences within the trans community).

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Gender Magic: Live Shamelessly, Reclaim Your Joy and Step Into Your Most Authentic Self

by Rae McDaniel


One part storytelling, another part self-help for trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) folks, this book is a profound resource. Its intended audience is for trans and GNC people, but it is an excellent volume for cisgender folks, too. This is a book I wish I had when I first started coming out as nonbinary to myself many years ago. It doesn’t just help you identify gender nonconformity in a “now-you-know” fashion but regards it as among the best parts of us. Rather than calling upon explanation and justification, it envisions transness and GNC as the gift they are. It is an unassuming self-help book for trans and GNC folks that I highly recommend.

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He/She/They: How We Talk About Gender and Why It Matters

by Schuyler Bailar


The aspirations of some books are one or two-fold, but He/She/They demonstrates a manifold ambition to educate readers. Its scope of impact on someone’s knowledge about transness spans the basics of terminology, pronoun use, surgeries, and more. It is not just a book to learn more about transness (or the “trans 101” conversation as many trans folks refer to it), but a book for trans people as well. While reading I felt a resonance with some of Schuyler’s early experiences of dysphoria that he did not have a name for until later in life. Furthermore, this insight demonstrates a salient point about the trans community: when you’ve met one trans person, you’ve met one trans person. Bailar shares his story, but also the stories of others he has interviewed, and those he’s met on the road doing training or speaking engagements. There is a depth of care that has gone into the writing and research, and it shows.

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Pageboy: A Memoir

by Elliott Page


Transitioning, for many, is a process that happens in full view of one’s community. Page transitioned with a great deal of media scrutiny, and writes about their experience with fame amidst coming out and transitioning. While Page’s transition was received well for the most part, the way he writes is just excellent memoir writing, as well as life-affirming for trans people. I read it in almost one sitting. Rather than write about their experiences in a way that is prescriptive for cisgender folks, he welcomes us into the quiet moments of understanding and awareness. It isn’t just about transness, but the way that a person becomes more of themselves when they come out and transition. It is as though some distant part of us that was kept at bay by cisnorms renders us more intelligible not only to ourselves, but to others. Page writes peace onto the page and history of transness in a way that, as a trans man myself as well, I enjoyed immensely.

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Dotson: My Journey Growing Up Transgender

by Grayson Lee White


White writes a cannot-miss book about gender identity for kids, particularly those who are coming out as trans or who have come out as trans (and their friends, family, and grownups). It provides a vocabulary that I wish I had when I was younger to describe transness in de facto terms: “A Dotson is a supposed daughter who KNOWS he is really a son.” It walks the reader through the coming out process beginning with an internal awareness of gender difference, which often translates into a social transition and/or medical transition. It is a book about transness written by a trans kid who you can’t help but cheer for as you journey through complicated conversations, the negative opinions of grownups outside their family, and learning to celebrate being trans. White writes that this is his first book and as a trans reader, I cannot wait for his next offering.

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The Gender Identity Workbook for Kids: A Guide to Exploring Who You Are

by Kelly Storck


This is more of a workbook than story, but it is no less important in this list! There are guided questions for reflection to help trans and gender non-conforming kids as much as their grownups. There are questions that invite reflection on past experiences with gender expression, popular understandings of the gender binary, and helps to create an applicable-to-the-everyday-definition of life beyond the binary for kids. There are firsthand stories of gender diverse children throughout the book to help create a sense of belonging, and cultivate empathy. Additionally, there are cultural, historical, and pop culture examples of gender variance, alongside a look at nature’s gender expansiveness as a feature of biodiversity. Storck has also compiled helpful overviews of pronouns, coming out via social transition, and describing one’s gender identity.

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Gender Heroes: 25 Amazing Transgender, Non-Binary and Genderqueer Trailblazers from Past and Present!

by Filipa Namorado


This is a collection of profiles of contemporary and historical trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people. Susan Stryer is among the noted historians and archivists of trans histories, and Namorado takes up the task of writing a history of gender diversity and difference for kids with great skill. The featured leaders, and activists are drawn from a variety of industries: actors, influencers, activists, politicians, writers, artists, and more. The trans and GNC community still counts its firsts and this is a great intro to show kids that trans people can do and be that too! Representation is everything where visibility is liberty and the people in this book offer readers prominent figures to shows kids that their transness doesn’t just belong, but that it makes all of us better wherever they are and in whatever they want to do.

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My Shadow is Purple

by Scott Stuart


My Shadow is Purple helps kids conceptualize gender identity as part of them, specifically being non-binary. It uses shadows as a way of expressing gender identity. The book also explores gender roles, and expectations thereof that trans and gender-nonconforming people transcend. The strength of this book is its art and the way it demonstrates that cisnorms hurt cis people too, not just trans folks, because not everyone’s “shadow” is non-binary or trans, but we all have a different light to us that norms would snuff out. It is a beautiful reminder that there is power is being ourselves.

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Red: A Crayon’s Story

by Michael Hall


This is a delightful picture book about a crayon that has a red wrapper but that colors in blue! It is a fantastic metaphor for transness. The crayon-box cast of characters try to assess what’s wrong with the blue crayon wearing a red wrapping and diagnose a number of possible solutions in their hope of problem-solving to help the crayon. It isn’t until the crayon learns that it’s great to be blue because of all of the things blue can do with a little imagination. It is a great book for early readers and their grownups, teachers, and caregivers who are trying to make gender identity accessible to young audiences. Red isn’t just about a metaphor for gender but what self-acceptance and the encouragement of whoever our box of crayons are can help us accomplish.

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Charlie C.
Programmer & Library Assistant, Main Library

Charlie loves to read across genres. His favourite part of working at the library is connecting people with resources to help better their lives and experiences; knowledge is a path to empowerment. Accordingly, he is interested in reading and borrowing adult non-fiction books related to almost everything. He enjoys reading about business, self-improvement, environmental sciences and spirituality/esotericism. Books that help ask big questions and invoke equally big wonder are among his favourites. Charlie’s other hobbies include writing, hiking, photography and cooking.