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, as well as YA/MG nonfiction about trans/nonbinary experiences and trans/nonbinary issues by trans/nonbinary authors. 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.
IMPORTANT NOTE! PLEASE READ: This list used to be called “The YA Trans Ownvoices Masterlist.” I have since made two changes.
1) It contains a few middle-grade titles and I intend to keep updating with more. This is an ongoing and time-consuming volunteer project, so please be patient with me!
2) I began this list defining trans very broadly—as any character, and any author, who identifies as some type of not-cis person. However, language is imperfect, so I have added nonbinary to reflect that not all people who are nonbinary also identify as trans. For example, I am nonbinary and also consider myself trans; one of my friends identifies just as nonbinary and not as trans or cis. Again, nonbinary is defined very broadly as some type of not-cis person.
Defining what constitutes “ownvoices” is difficult when it comes to trans and nonbinary people. I am not interested in narrowing the field or installing rigid requirements. The only requirement for being on this list is that YOU view your book as ownvoices trans and/or nonbinary (again, some type of not-cis person writing some type of not-cis character.) That’s it. Your identity does not need to be identical to your character in order to be ownvoices; for instance, I write trans boys, and I’m only sometimes/kinda a trans boy, but I consider them ownvoices. If you think you should be on here, you belong. If you’re not sure, that’s ok too; I can add and remove you depending on what you need.
If you’d like further direction, take a look at the dropdown box for character gender in my database to get an idea of what I’m including, and if you don’t see yours, let me know! See the “Some Notes on Categories” section below for further thoughts on this matter.
This list will continue to evolve. Please feel free to contact me at any time with feedback; I welcome and value it.
This list contains only books and stories 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!
WHY DOES IT EXIST?
Trans and nonbinary protagonists 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?
- 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….CLICK THE LINK BELOW!