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Over the last year, a national reckoning has made many women visible. But, as important as this movement has been, that visibility has not been equally meted out.
Even now, the trans community has been largely unable to gain purchase in public discussions about gender inequality. Too often, they are ignored – or worse, further stigmatised by politicians and commentators.
Change will come when trans voices are elevated and celebrated, and allies take the time to listen and learn. So to celebrate International Trans Day of Visibility, check out this list of trans authors we’ve prepared for you.
Nevo Zisin began questioning their gender identity from four years old. Describing themselves as a mosaic of femininity and masculinity, they’re one of Australia’s most compelling young voices, trans or not. If you haven’t already, get acquainted with Nevo first through their groundbreaking autobiography, Finding Nevo, before delving into The Pronoun Lockdown.
Published in 2021. Finding Nevo charts Zisin’s reckoning with their own gender identity, replete with the joy and confusion that involves, whilst The Pronoun Lockdown looks at the experiences of trans and gender diverse people more generally. At a time when trans visibility is ever-increasing, Zisin’s writing demystifies, historicises and celebrates the trans and gender diverse experience.
Living as a woman made Dr Yves Rees want to crawl out of their own skin, but they still didn’t feel like a proper trans person. They didn’t resonate with the dominant and oversimplified narrative that trans people are just born in the wrong body, and intrinsically know as much from the moment they are old enough to recognise themselves in the mirror.
Determined to diversify the trans literary landscape with longer, more tentative experiences of transition, they released their memoir, All About Yves: Notes From A Transition. It is a story of re-becoming, that doesn’t shy away from the ‘messiness of bodies, gender and identity’. Once you’ve torn through Yves’ memoir, you can get excited for Nothing to Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia, an anthology being co-edited by Rees that is slated for release in September 2022.
Teen Vogue called Munroe Bergdorf “a powerful and unstoppable force”, of whom “the world should take notice.” The model and activist has consistently been a vocal advocate for marginalised groups, and the trans community in particular, often to the detriment of her career progression as a model and spokesperson. Her book, Transitional, incited a bidding war between 11 publishers, with Bloomsbury ultimately acquiring the contract for a six-figure sum. Transitional is a manifesto on gender, which you can pre-order now.
Torrey Peters did not write her debut novel, Detransition, Baby, as a guide to understanding trans people, nor as a manual for earnest, aspiring allies. She didn’t have much of an awareness of the trans “debate” that cruelly questions the validity of people’s identities. She just “wanted to write something funny for [her] friends” and, in doing so, found an adoring audience that stretched well beyond them.
Detransition, Baby is a New York Times best-seller, the winner of the Hemingway Award for debut fiction, a finalist in the National Book Critics Circle Awards and is long-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Alok Vaid-Menon boasts a cool one million followers on their Instagram, and is a darling of the queer and gender-diverse community. A true mixed-media artist, Alok explores and reinvents fashion, beauty, art, comedy, poetry, writing, performance, lecture and sound-art. Their work in particular focuses on themes of trauma, belonging and the human condition. If that all piques your interest, you can choose from the three books that Alok has published (so far) as well as revel in their exciting social media presence.
Given that the trans experience itself can be characterised by discrimination and difficulty, it follows that much of the trans literary landscape takes a similar shape. But joyful, bright trans stories exist, and are important to spotlight alongside their more sombre, but no less essential, counterparts.
Aoki’s Light From Uncommon Stars is defiantly joyful. It’s set in California and follows three Asian-American women as they traverse cursed violins, Faustian bargains and queer-alien courtship over fresh-made donuts. If you devour Light From Uncommon Stars and want more Aoki, you’re in luck – the author and poet has another novel to her name as well as various books of poetry, short stories and essays.
Whilst not a trans author, we included Rebekah Robertson’s About A Girl because it’s likely that you, or someone you know, will have a trans or gender-diverse child. Rebekah Robertson is mother to Georgie Stone OAM, the youngest person to receive hormone blockers in Australia. Georgie’s transition became the basis of a landmark decision that made it easier for trans kids to transition. Rebekah writes honestly and openly about all the fear, confusion, love and determination that accompanied her support of Georgie’s transition.
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