Five books by trans and non-binary authors you really must read in 2020


Five books by trans and/or non-binary authors that would make great last-minute Christmas gifts.

John Waters once said, “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!”

So, treat the queer, queer-adjacent or curious bookworm in your life to one of these books by trans, including non-binary, authors.

Juno Roche – Trans Power

Juno’s last book, Queer Sex, was a landmark exploration into queer and trans people’s sexuality. A series of intimate interviews that delved into, well, intimacy in the trans community, and how gender identity and sexuality feed into our experiences of that.

For their latest book, Trans Power, Juno used a similar technique – a series of warm, nuanced conversations between them and other people in the trans community. Some of these were conversations with our most prominent thinkers and activists – like Travis Alabanza and Amrou Al-Kadhi – and all of them contained revelations about how gender is constructed, layers of identity and being trans.

Juno’s also breathtakingly honest about their own feelings towards their gender, an insight that is rare in an era of hot-takes and carefully crafted narratives about ‘the trans experience’.

Buy it online here, or head to your local bookshop.

Dr Meg-John Barker – Gender: A Graphic Guide

Author of too many books on gender, relationships and sex to name, Meg-John’s latest is a very accessible and beautifully illustrated guide to gender.

It’s perfect both for family members in need of a little education and queers wanting to learn more about how our current conversation on trans issues fits into a wider context. Written from a staunchly feminist, anti-racist and intersectional perspective, Meg-John goes deep into gender non-conformity and trans history, without assuming the reader has prior knowledge of any of those things – truly a gift.

Plus, their favourite gay animal is the notoriously lesbian long-eared hedgehog – the kind of author trivia we endeavour to provide here at PinkNews.

Buy it online here or head to your local bookshop.

Glamrou – Unicorn: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen

A mandatory read for anyone on the queer and/or gender spectrum who’s had a less-than-perfect coming out.

Amrou tells all our queer stories of self-acceptance and learning to celebrate every part of ourselves in some of the most heart-breaking and heart-warming pages of the year. Readers will be finding immense affinity with Unicorn and thanking Amrou for sharing their story for many years to come.Charlie Leslau

Buy Unicorn online here or head to your local bookshop.

Non-binary, Muslim drag queen Amrou Al-Kadhi
Non-binary, Muslim drag queen Amrou Al-Kadhi sees queerness as a part of their faith. (glamrou/Instagram)

Andrea Long Chu – Females

Short, unconventional debut book/essay/investigation from a New York Times-published writer on what it is to be female.

Chu spends this essay trying to defend the statement that “everyone is female, and everyone hates it”. She draws guidance and inspiration from the SCUM Manifesto (1967) and its author, Valerie Solanas – the radical feminist best known for shooting Andy Warhol.

In a similar style, Females is also an uncompromising and at times intense read, but rewarding.

Buy it online here or head to your local bookshop.

Samantha Allen – Real Queer America

If you buy one book on this list – and you made it this far – make it this one. We hear so much about homophobia and transphobia in the States, but that masks a truer (and better!) story about queer resistance in small towns and cities, away from the national media.

Samantha is a trans journalist, and Real Queer America weaves her own personal story of coming out, finding love and creating family with the stories of other trans people who she meets.

In a road trip across the country, she talks to activists, old friends, legislators and – most compellingly – with young trans people who are staying put in the places they were born, rather than moving to the nearest big city when they turn 18.

This book is a way of getting outside the bubble, for city queers, and it’s a non-patronising lesson in hope and resilience for all.

If you want more books by trans authors like these, then these were the seven new books by trans and/or non-binary authors to read last summer.


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