A Book List For The Queer Of It All
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
This being my first post here I will give a brief introduction. I am a graduate of Missouri State University with a Master's in counseling. I am currently a clinician with Courage To Be Counseling and I focus on LGBTQIA+ issues. But this isn't a cover letter. I will be contributing to this blog as a clinician, yes. However, my content is driven by a passion for the LGBTQIA+ community. I'm hoping my posts will be something you can share with your family who doesn't quite get "this whole asexuality thing" or want to know why you "think you're a girl." As someone who identifies as bisexual and genderfluid, I also have a selfish interest in steeping myself in the research, resources, and latest news surrounding the LGBTQIA+ experience. So that's a bit about me, let's get to the good stuff.
Books are a lot of things for me. They inform, they comfort, they enlighten, and they distract. Books are, in my personal opinion, the foundation of the artistic food pyramid. There is a cheesy metaphor about “nourishing the soul” in here somewhere, but I think we can do without that for today. I have an extensive collection of books that range anywhere from science fiction to high fantasy to infuriatingly dry reference materials. This post will be all about some stuff you can keep on your bookshelf that might help you explore your own gender and sexuality or explain it to those you love.
The Gender Book by Jay Mays and Mel Reiff Hill:
A 94 page illustrated accessible guide to gender that can be as easily understood by questioning teens and uncomfortable grandparents as it could by smarty-pants physicians and smart-ass clinicians. This book combines lived experience, research, and unique artistic story-telling to provide resources and definitions for anyone new to the gender discussion. This is an absolute must-have. Oh, and did I mention the digital version is pay-what-you-can (even $0)?
Trans Bodies, Trans Selves by Laura Erickson-schroth:
An academically inclined resource for the prevailing research on gender and sexuality that reads kinda like a high school textbook and (hopefully) will be one someday. This breaks down everything you could imagine about the trans experience and outlines resources for the community. I love that this book doesn't pull punches. It tackles trans issues as a lifelong reality, making note of the good, bad, and ugly of that reality.
Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe:
A graphic novel describing the timeline of a comic author’s relationship with gender and sexuality. Incredible art matches Kobabe’s incredible growth through the weirdness that is gender. Eir work is a testament to the curiosity and courage we can all aspire toward when confronting our own internal experiences. Queer by any definition, this is a stunning read from cover to cover for anyone even remotely interested in LGBTQIA+ experiences, graphic novels, or beautiful wandering spirits.
Gender Failure by Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon:
An autobiographical account of two musicians’ quest to mix identity, love, and the conflicts of queer life into a performance piece of homosexual proportions. This is a coming of age and coming of gender story that takes the reader through the impact of gender in the lives of two creators. If you love the arts and seek to love yourself with that same fervor, this is the folk-filled journey of self-discovery you have been waiting for.
Traversing Gender by Lee Harrington:
An attempt to define the trans experience, terminology, and struggles for those seeking clarification utilizing modern research, pop culture, and periodicals. Harrington breaks down many important aspects of the transgender experience bringing to light and life the shifting, breathing realities that trans folx live in every day.
Seeing Gender by Iris Gottlieb:
An artistic exploration of queerness from the perspective of a queer artist guiding the lay and the questioning through gender realities and perceptions while disclosing her own story. This is a powerful mural of diversity that, frankly, makes my entire world brighter by knowing it exists. Gottlieb writes what being human is in this exploration of gender and expression. A perfect coffee table book. Or kitchen table book. Hell, put a table in your bathroom and stick a copy in there too.
If you would like more information about counseling services, please contact me or my colleagues at couragetobecounseling.com.