November is Transgender Awareness Month (#TransMonth). It’s also National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo), when people challenge themselves to write a novel during the month of November. It can be about anything and doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. The idea is that so many of us have stories we want to write but never have the time. So this challenge provides support and networking and motivates people to stop putting it off or worrying about it being perfect and just write–without self-censoring or editing–as much as they possibly can in 30 days.
Stories are powerful things, but especially so for young people. Young people are surrounded by stories, whether it’s bedtime stories, cartoons, movies, books, school lessons, or the news. And one of the most wonderful, exciting, and powerful things for readers of any age, but especially youth, is to see a story about someone like them. Having a character that looks like you, talks like you, thinks like you, or identifies like you can make a huge difference in the lives of young readers. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of diversity in mainstream stories, especially not books for children and young adults. This is especially true if you’re looking for queer or trans characters. It is so vitally important that we make room for this diversity in stories for youth, both in media like NaNoWriMo stories and in mainstream media. So if you’ve got a story, tell it! There are people out there who would love to hear it!
To celebrate the intersection of Writing and Trans Awareness, here is a sample of some young adult and children’s books that already exist and have awesome trans and queer characters! Check them out!
- Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff
A love story that takes place over the course of a summer between two marginally housed Brooklyn teens, Scout and Kid. Their genders are never revealed.
- Being Emily by Rachel Gold
When Emily, who was assigned male at birth, tells her parents about her desire to live as a woman, they send her into therapy, convinced she is ill. She is able to rely on her girlfriend and a few others in her life to help her through her family issues.
Gabe, who was assigned female at birth, hosts a popular weekly radio show called “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.” He is not out at school, where he is still using his given name, Elizabeth. When someone discovers his secret, Gabe must figure out how to live an honest life and still stay safe.
Todd knows he can never tell his family the truth: that he wants to be a mermaid, that he loves to play dress up, and that he doesn’t want to follow in his dad’s footsteps as an athlete. But when he goes to a summer science camp, he meets a girl who might help him learn to love who he truly is.
London is one of Boston’s toughest boys, who was actually assigned female at birth. London must deal with his abusive stepfather, as well as a whole host of other issues that come with living in the inner city.
For more great youth books with trans and queer characters, check out the list at the link below!