WHAT’S ON THIS LIST?
This database contains young adult fiction titles with trans protagonists by trans authors, as well as young adult nonfiction about trans experiences and trans issues by trans authors. I define trans broadly, as you will see in the dropdown list under the gender category on the database: basically, anyone who identifies as some type of not-cis person.
This list contains only books and stories explicitly listed in the young adult category, and books whose characters’ and authors’ identities I was able to confirm via research or personal knowledge, as I have no wish to out anyone or speculate about someone’s gender. If you have a book to recommend, a correction to make, or want your books listed in this database, please contact me and I will happily edit the list!
WHY DOES IT EXIST?
Trans protagonists written by trans people are painfully rare across all genres and categories, and young adult is no exception. I decided to create this database after a friend asked me for recommendations of young adult trans ownvoices fiction, and I could only think of a single book I had actually read. Surely there must be more, I thought. And I was curious about the data, too: how were the different corners of publishing (the Big Five, independent houses, and self-publishing) each doing when it came to representation? I also wanted the database to be searchable, so readers in search of the representation they need could find exactly what they were looking for.
HOW DO I USE IT?
- Click on the double-pointed arrow at the left of a row to open up a box with all the book’s information.
- Click on the dropdown arrow for a particular column to see options for narrowing the list. Select the option you want, and then click “Apply.” Each narrowing adds on to the one before it: so you can search by gender, race, and sexual orientation, for example, to find an bisexual Asian trans boy protagonist. (There isn’t one on this list yet, sadly—hopefully that changes soon!) You can hit the [x] beside each option to delete it from your search.
- Use Command-F or Control-F, depending on your computer, or use the Find tool under the Main Menu dropdown, to search the entire database.
SOME NOTES ON CATEGORIES
When it comes to defining aspects of identity, words are rarely enough to encompass the complexity of our experiences. I want to acknowledge the imperfections and reductiveness inherent in trying to make a database searchable by gender, orientation, race, and more categories as I add them. The database format itself is limiting, and I’ve tried to strike a balance between listing options that will be useful from a data standpoint as well as useful for peoples’ personal experiences. The ‘Unknown’ option refers to instances where I have not read the book or otherwise have not been able to confirm the character’s identity. I welcome feedback on the search options!
This database owes a debt to several lists that preceded it: YA Pride’s and LGBTQReads’ lists of transgender characters in young adult fiction and this massive Goodreads list of books for trans teens, all of which I scoured for trans ownvoices; as well as The Asexual and Aromantic Characters Database by Claudie Arsenault, through which I discovered the online database program I used to compile this masterlist. Thank you also to the folks who commented on my tweet about this project to offer recommendations, and those who shared said tweet far and wide.
If you appreciate the work of making and maintaining this list, consider tipping me via Ko-Fi!
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO….