Archive for November 28, 2014

Rethinking Gender Booklist

rethinking normal some assembly

An interesting thing happened.  Two transgendered teens wrote autobiographies about their experiences undergoing gender reassignment.  Katie Rain Hill transitioned from a boy by birth into a young woman, and Arin Anderson, born a girl, is now living as a young man.

Two teens, connected by this unique experience and by the fact that they dated each other.

It’s pretty rare that you get to read both sides of the story when young people get together, fall in love, and ultimately, break up.  It’s even rarer that both parties were in the media for finding love against all odds during a complicated time.

Below you’ll find a booklist that deals with some of the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the GLBT teen experience and/or gender identity.  I hope these resources are helpful and interesting.  For more resources, please check out the following links:

The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them.

Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center, founded in 1996, is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity.



Beam, Cris. I am J.

(YA FIC Beam)

J, who feels like a boy mistakenly born as a girl, runs away from his best friend who has rejected him and the parents he thinks do not understand him when he finally decides that it is time to be who he really is.

Berman, Steve. Speaking Out: LGBTQ Youth Stand Up.

(YA SS FIC Speaking; pap)

Presents short stories about LGBTQ youth designed to show queer teens that life continues after coming out.

Clark, Kristin. Freakboy.

(YA FIC Clark)

Told from three viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Brendan, a wrestler, struggles to come to terms with his place on the transgender spectrum while Vanessa, the girl he loves, and Angel, a transgender acquaintance, try to help.

Cronn-Mills, Kirstin. Beautiful music for ugly children.

(YA FIC Cronn-Mills; pap)

Gabe has always identified as a boy, but he was born with a girl’s body. With his new public access radio show gaining in popularity, Gabe struggles with romance, friendships, and parents–all while trying to come out as transgendered. An audition for a station in Minneapolis looks like his ticket to a better life in the big city. But his entire future is threatened when several violent guys find out Gabe, the popular DJ, is also Elizabeth from school.

Garden, Nancy. Annie on My Mind.

(YA FIC Garden)

Liza tries to put aside her feelings for Annie after the disaster at Foster Academy, but eventually she allows love to triumph over the ignorance of others.

Hyde, Catherine Ryan.  Jumpstart the World.

(YA FIC Hyde)

Sixteen-year-old Elle falls in love with Frank, the neighbor who helps her adjust to being on her own in a big city, but learning that he is transgendered turns her world upside-down.

King, A.S. Ask the Passengers.

(YA FIC King)

Imagining that she is sending love to passengers in airplanes flying overhead, Astrid Jones, a teen from a small town torn by gossip and narrow-mindedness, struggles with her family’s dysfunction and hides her love for another girl.

Levithan, David.  Boy Meets Boy.

(YA FIC Levithan)

When Paul falls hard for Noah, he thinks he has found his one true love, but when Noah walks out of his life, Paul has to find a way to get him back and make everything right once more.

Levithan, David.  Every day.

(YA FIC Levithan)

Every morning A wakes in a different person’s body, in a different person’s life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon.

Lo, Malinda. Ash.


In this variation on the Cinderella story, Ash grows up believing in the fairy realm that the king and his philosophers have sought to suppress, until one day she must choose between a handsome fairy cursed to love her and the King’s Huntress whom she loves.

Peters, Julie Anne. Luna: a novel.

(YA FIC Peters)

Fifteen-year-old Regan’s life, which has always revolved around keeping her older brother Liam’s transsexuality a secret, changes when Liam decides to start the process of “transitioning” by first telling his family and friends that he is a girl who was born in a boy’s body.

Prince, Liz. Tomboy: a graphic memoir.

[YA GRAPHIC] YA B Prince; p

Eschewing female stereotypes throughout her early years and failing to gain acceptance on the boys’ baseball team, Liz learns to embrace her own views on gender as she comes of age, in an anecdotal graphic novel memoir.

Saenz, Benjamin Alire. Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the Universe.

(YA FIC Saenz)

Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.

St. James, James.  Freak show.

(YA FIC St. James)

Having faced teasing that turned into a brutal attack, Christianity expressed as persecution, and the loss of his only real friend when he could no longer keep his crush under wraps, seventeen-year-old Billy Bloom, a drag queen, decides the only to become fabulous again is to run for Homecoming Queen at his elite, private school near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Wittlinger, Ellen. Parrotfish

(YA FIC Wittlinger)

Grady, a transgendered high school student, yearns for acceptance by his classmates and family as he struggles to adjust to his new identity as a male.


Andrews, Arin. Some Assembly Required: the not-so-secret life of a transgender teen.

(YA B Andrews)

Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning teen memoir.

Hill, Katie Rain. Rethinking normal: a memoir in transition.

(YA B Hill)

In this young adult memoir, a transgender girl shares her personal journey of growing up as a boy and then undergoing gender reassignment during her teens.

Espejo, Roman. Transgender People.

(YA 306.768 T)

Discusses issues relevant to transgender people.

Huegel, Kelly. GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning): the survival guide for queer and questioning teens.

(YA 306.766 H: pap)

Describes the challenges faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered teens, offers practical advice, real-life experiences, and accessible resources and support groups.

Kuklin, Susan. Beyond Magenta: transgender teens speak out.

(YA 306.768 K)

Draws on six first-person interviews to share compassionate insights into the teen transgender experience, tracing each individual’s emotional and physical journey as it was shaped by family dynamics, living situations and the transition each teen made during the personal journey toward acknowledgement of gender preference.

Seba, Jaime. Coming Out: Telling Family and Friends.

(YA 306.766 S)

An exploration of the experience of coming out and openly acknowledging oneself as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).

Seba, Jaime. Gays and Mental Health: fighting depression, saying no to suicide.

(YA 616.89 S)

Explores homosexuality in places outside the United States.

Sharon Long

Teen Services Librarian