Diversions

The following list includes the titles of books and films with a gender-diverse theme. If you would like to see a title included on this list, with a brief description, please submit it below.

Movies

(Sadly, not one of the key roles in any of the following movies was portrayed by a transsexual actor or actress. These movies were both praised and panned by members of the trans community.)
  • Transamerica (2005): Bree (born Stanley), a pre-operative transsexual woman and a jailed teenage runaway take a cross-country road trip after she bails him out of jail. She chooses not to divulge her secret that will change both their lives. Starring Felicity Huffman in an Oscar-nominated performance.
  • Normal (2003): After being married to Irma for 25 years, Roy decides the stress of being a woman in a man's body has grown intolerable. Roy's decision to pursue a sex-change operation is greeted with intolerance and disgust by some of his co-workers and members of his church. Irma eventually supports Roy through his journey to becoming Ruth.
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001): Hedwig, born a boy named Hansel in East Berlin, falls in love with an American soldier and undergoes sex reassignment surgery to marry him and flee to the West. Unfortunately, nothing worked out quite as it was supposed to — years later, Hedwig is leading her rock band on a tour of the U.S., telling her life story through a series of concerts at Bilgewater Inn seafood restaurants.
  • Boys Don’t Cry (1999): Based on actual events. Brandon Teena is the popular new guy in a tiny Nebraska town who was actually born a woman named Teena Brandon. When his best friends make the discovery that Brandon is a trans man, his life is ripped apart by betrayal, humiliation, rape, and murder. Hilary Swank won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Brandon. Warning: A movie that will play to a parent’s worst fears. Not for the faint of heart.
  • Ma vie en rose (My life in pink) (1997): An internationally acclaimed film. This is the story of Ludovic, a little girl born in a little boy's body, and the reaction of neighbours, friends and teachers as they realize that his identification as a girl is not just a little boy’s fantasy.

Books

  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano (Seal Press, ISBN-10: 1580051545). A provocative manifesto, Whipping Girl tells the powerful story of Julia Serano, a transsexual woman whose writing reflects her diverse background as a lesbian transgender activist and professional biologist. Serano shares her experiences and observations — both pre- and post-transition — to reveal the ways in which fear, suspicion, and dismissiveness toward femininity shape our societal attitudes toward trans women, as well as gender and sexuality as a whole. In the process, she debunks addition to debunking popular misconceptions about transsexuality.
  • Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers by Cris Beam (Harcourt, ISBN-10 0151011966). A riveting portrait of transgender teens in Los Angeles and the role of the author as parent, therapist, cheerleader and legal adviser. The result is a vivid and fiercely empathetic look at the lives these young women and an expressed fury at a culture that's not only fearful of anyone who deviates from traditional gender roles but treats minorities and the poor with contempt.
  • Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions and Imperialism by Viviane Namaste (Women’s Press, Toronto, ISBN 0-88961-452-0). This book provides readers with an introduction to contemporary transsexual politics in Canadian and Quebecois contexts. Through different case studies relating to the law, human rights, health care, and prostitution, the author exposes readers to the complex issues involved in how transsexual politics and feminism interrelate.
  • Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity, edited by Mattilda, also known as Matt Bernstein Sycamore (Seal Press, ISBN 1580051847). Nobody Passes is a collection of essays that confronts and challenges the very notion of belonging. By examining the perilous intersections of identity, categorization, and community, contributors challenge societal mores and countercultural norms. Nobody Passes explores and critiques the various systems of power seen (or not seen) in the act of “passing.” In a pass-fail situation, standards for acceptance may vary, but somebody always gets trampled on. This anthology seeks to eliminate the pressure to pass and thereby unearth the delicious and devastating opportunities for transformation that might create.
  • Omnigender: A Trans-Religious Approach by Virginia Ramey Mollenkott (Pilgrim Press, ISBN 0829817713). Mollenkott examines the problems inherent in our society's binary concept of gender identity and she manages to bridge traditional religious doctrine and secular postmodern theory.
  • Hiding My Candy by The Lady Chablis (Pocket Books ISBN 0671520954). The Lady Chablis, who gave an unforgettable presentation as herself in the movie In the Midnight Garden of Good and Evil, presents a sassy, tongue-in-cheek version of her life story, which she began as Benjamin Edward Knox in 1957. She grew up in Florida as a self-confessed "sissy-child, was abandoned by her mother and father and was raised by her grandmother; and she notes the problems she and her family had coming to terms with her gender identification and sexuality. As an adult, she talks of her career as a female impersonator, her jail time for shoplifiting, her hormone intervention and her favourite recipes and supporters.