July 31, 2015

13 Books on Crossdressing, Crossdreaming and Gender Variance


For many the struggle with sex, sexuality and gender identity leads to reading -- a lot of reading. In this three part series I will present books that have helped me in my understanding of myself, crossdreaming, gender dysphoria and transgender issues.
Illustration by Olyzel

Please add a comment if there are other books you have found helpful and interesting. I will add them to the permanent list of trans-relevant books.

She is not the man I married. My life with a  transgender husband, by Helen Boyd
  • Boyd treats crossdressers and crossdreamers with respect and empathy, but without hiding the difficulties that follows from gender variance of this kind.
Gender Madness in American Psychiatry: Essays From the Struggle for Dignityby Kelley Winters.
  • Brilliant debunking of the autogynephilia theory and a good discussion on how psychiatry has contributed to the persecution of transgender people.
Nevada, novel by Imogen Binnie
  • This novel is hard to describe: Honest, funny, tragic, radical... Anyway, the book contains some of the best descriptions of crossdreamers I have ever seen in fiction, whether they are closeted or transsexual. (And then there is that wonderful description of autogynephilia-supporter J. Michael Bailey....)
Girlfag: A Life Told in Sex and Musicals, by Janet Hardy
  • Girlfags are not necessarily female to male crossdreamers, but some of them are. Hardy's book is part autobiography, part essay on women who identify with gay men.
Grrl Alex, a Personal Journey to a Transgender Identity, by Alex Drummond.
  • A fascinating book by male a to female transgender person who tries to find a place between crossdressing and transitioning. Part 2 of the book gives a good review of research on crossdressing, crossdreaming and transsexuality.

Autogynephilia: Everyman's guide to autogynephilia, crossdreaming and late onset transsexualism, by Felix Conrad
  • In spite of what the title might imply, Conrad is not out to pathologize crossdreamers. Instead, he tries to help MTF crossdreamers and crossdressers to come to terms with their own crossdreaming, presenting various ways of coping in the process. The book takes an extremely pragmatic approach to crossdreaming and transgender. This is a book about adapting to, rather than changing, society. Right now I am more into helping society adapt to us.
Alice in Genderland: A Crossdresser Comes of Age, by Richard J. Novic.
  • Alice AKA Richard is one of the most controversial crossdreamer authors around. This book gives a good example of crossdreamers who have done a lot to express their identity and sexuality without transitioning.
Shyness & Love, by Dr. Brian G. Gilmartin.
  • This is not a book about crossdreamers per se, but Gilmartin's love shy male lesbians have a lot in common with introvert crossdreamers.
Crossdressing, sex and genderby Vern and Bonnie Bullough (see also this link).
  • One of the best scholarly overviews of crossdressing.
The Gendered Self, Further commentary on the transsexual phenomenonby Anne Vitale.
  • Anne Vitale presents an alternative view of crossdreaming and transsexuality. This book is targeting health professionals, but should be of interest to gender dysphoric crossdreamers.
    Helen Boyd and her husband Betty.
    Boyd challenges some of the myths held dear
    by crossdressers.
Boys' Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-Cultural Fandom of the Genre (including essays on girlfags and FTM crossdreaming).
  • This book includes Uli Meyer's fascinating essay on yaoi, slash and girlfag fiction, which includes many interesting reflections on female to male crossdreamers and their ways of expressing their gender variance through stories and comics.
Men Trapped in Men's Bodies: Narratives of Autogynephilic Transsexualism (Focus on Sexuality Research)by Anne Lawrence.
  • I have no idea what makes a trans woman support a theory that reduces her to a sexually perverted male, but that's Anne Lawrence for you. The book includes some very interesting crossdreamer life stories. The theory underpinning her book is toxic, however.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!