WHAT’S ON THIS LIST?
This database contains young adult and middle grade fiction titles with trans and nonbinary protagonists by trans and nonbinary authors. The publishing types are Big 5, independent house, and self-published books, upcoming releases included. I define trans and nonbinary 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, novellas, short stories, anthologies and collections explicitly listed in the young adult and middle grade categories, and books whose characters’ and authors’ identities I was able to confirm via research or personal knowledge, since 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!
Again, the only requirements for inclusion on this list are:
1) The book is YA or MG fiction.
2) The book is self-published or pubbed by an indie or Big 5 house, or an upcoming release.
3) There is a trans character in the book
4) The author is trans, nonbinary, and/or otherwise not-cis
IMPORTANT NOTE (2/5/20)
This list used to be called the “ownvoices” masterlist. However, defining ownvoices when it comes to trans people is complicated. The concept does not neatly map onto how many of us experience our genders. Therefore, I have dispensed with it. I think it is more useful to simply catalogue books by trans people about trans characters than try to define whether a trans person’s book is ownvoices. Unfortunately, the “ownvoices” tag must remain in the link title in order not to break the link wherever it is…linked (I need an editor. Oh wait…)
ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE (6/17/20)
The inclusion of books on this list is for data and resource purposes, though it can and has been used as a promotional tool. A book’s presence on this list is not indicative of its quality, or an endorsement of its content or author; it is just a notation that the book exists. I encourage users of this list to do their own research into authors and books before deciding that they want to support those books/authors.
WHY DOES IT EXIST?
Trans and nonbinary characters written by trans and nonbinary people are painfully rare across all genres and categories, and young adult and middle grade are 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?
Several ways! Obvibase recently changed its interface (2/23/20), so I’ve updated the directions accordingly.
- Click on the three dots in the header for a particular column to see a pop-up box with options for narrowing the list. You can sort A-Z or Z-A (which also applies to dates).
- In that same pop-up box, you can also select “Filter…”, and then check the box for what you want to filter by. Each narrowing adds on to the one before it: so you can search by gender, race, and sexual orientation, for example, to find a gay Latinx trans boy protagonist—as of this update (2/23/20), that’s Yadriel from Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas!
- To remove filters, look at the footer along the bottom of the database. Click on the filter you want to remove, and a pop-up box with an option to do so will appear.
- Use Command-F or Control-F, depending on your computer, or click on the magnifying glass in the upper left hand side of the header, to search the entire database.
- You can also just scroll through without applying any filters or searching. Explore to your heart’s desire!
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.
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO….CLICK THE LINK BELOW!