As our society becomes more inclusive, some of our most underrepresented communities are getting a much-needed opportunity to tell their stories. And yet, listeners on the hunt for the best LGBTQIA+ books out there know that finding literature centered on trans and nonbinary characters can be difficult. So, we’re taking some of the guesswork out of the equation with a series of lists showcasing some of the best audiobooks by and about the queer community, from
LGBTQIA+ listens to bisexual and lesbian literature.
For this list, we’ve come up with some of the best trans and nonbinary listens across all genres and age categories. And because we know that authenticity is important to listeners, our selections are almost exclusively written by queer, trans, and nonbinary authors.
Note: You’ll find this list is a bit memoir-heavy, as fiction by and about the trans and nonbinary community is still sadly underrepresented in publishing. We’ve tried to make this list as varied as possible, and we plan to update it to surface more great trans and nonbinary works going forward. Here we go!
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In this Audible Original, Samantha Allen, journalist and author of
, offers a joyfully frank take on gender, identity, and transition. Allen herself narrates this memoir, taking glee in recounting each embarassing moment (like learning how to take her bra off Real Queer America without removing her shirt) without sacrificing the depth and vulnerability that makes her storytelling so captivating. The result is a compassion-inspiring, candid memoir that thoughtfully descontructs our culture's perspective on gender while celebrating the liberation of finding moments of joy and humor in difficulty. Detransition, Baby
In author Torrey Peters's groundbreaking debut novel, a trans woman named Reese receives a curious proposal from her ex, Ames: help raise a baby he's fathered with his new partner, a cis woman named Katrina. Ames, who was born male but lived as a woman named Amy for years before detransitioning, speculates that Reese's involvement can help him come to terms with the fraught prospect of fatherhood. Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction–the first book by a trans women to be nominated in the prize's 25-year history–
Detransition, Baby is a engaging, compulsive, and time-hopping journey through questions of identity that resists cliche and easy answers, its quippy style enhanced by narrator Renata Friedman's knowing delivery. Redefining Realness
Janet Mock is a writer, director, producer, and trans rights activist, and in
Redefining Realness, she tells her personal story. Starting from when she was a child of divorced parents who bounced around homes before settling in Hawaii, she recounts the hardship of her young adult years, transitioning, coming out to her family members, and living as her true self in New York City. She also discusses navigating coming out publicly and speaking up for her rights. Mock narrates her own story, which is a mix of memoir, rumination on what it means to be trans, and insights into the fight for acceptance from loved ones and society. If you like this listen, be sure to check out her next memoir, Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me. Tomboy Survival Guide
In this self-narrated memoir, Ivan Coyote recounts stories from their life growing up in Canada, where they were commonly labeled a tomboy. As Coyote grew older, they explored this tomboy identity on a deeper level, as they were often perceived as butch, and then began to identify beyond the gender binary. Both instructive and revealing,
Tomboy Survival Guide is a collection of real-life stories that will hopefully help anyone questioning where they fit on the gender spectrum, along with offering reassurance and some welcome humor. Stay Gold
This YA debut from Tobly McSmith follows the story of Pony, a transgender boy going stealth while navigating his new-kid status at a small town Texas high school. He quickly falls for one of the most popular students, a cisgender girl named Georgia, who also starts crushing on him, all while wrestling with whether he will share his past with his new peers. Pony wants to settle into his new life but faces challenges from his family and friends, who can’t see the person for all the gender norms. The emotional toll of hiding his true identity, compounded by the constant threat of physical danger associated with simply being himself, offers a window into the reality for many transgender people. A profoundly moving and uplifting story,
Stay Gold is told by dual narrators, Theo Germaine and Phoebe Strole. Felix Ever After
In Lambda Literary Award-winning author Kacen Callender’s latest YA release, Felix is a trans student who is recently transitioned, Black, and queer. He desperately wants to find love, but fears that his identity will make that possibility out of reach. Then, when an anonymous bully at his school begins dead-naming him and sending horrible messages, Felix engages in a catfishing scheme to try and suss out his tormenter and exact revenge...but soon finds himself in a complicated relationship. Narrated by Logan Rozos,
Felix Ever After is a fantastic YA novel about identity and love. The Argonauts
Maggie Nelson narrates her memoir about love and parenthood, and what it means to create a family when you’re queer. She talks about her journey with her genderfluid partner, the limitations of language when it comes to their relationship and identities, and how the couple decided to have children.
The Argonauts blends theory with a moving personal account, making it a powerful and fascinating listen that’s been hailed as an important work. Pet
In Akwaeke Emezi’s second novel (and their YA debut), teenage Jam lives in a utopian society, Lucille, where the adults got rid of the monsters before she was born. In Lucille, there exists an easy peace, and Jam has never worried about being accepted as trans. Still, Jam is curious about those monsters. So, when a creature crawls out of her mother’s painting and tells her that she must hunt one final monster, Jam is torn with indecision. What do monsters look like? How are you supposed to find them? And most importantly, what are you supposed to do once you’ve found one? A National Book Award finalist,
Pet is a slim but powerful novel, narrated with heart and conviction by editor Christopher Myers. Fairest
Award-winning author and journalist Meredith Talusan offers a heartfelt coming-of-age memoir.
Fairest tells the story of a "sun child," a Filipino boy with albinism, who immigrates to the United States, is perceived as white, attends Harvard, undergoes a gender transition, and grows up to be a woman. Intertwining her own experience with reflections on class, gender, disability, and race on a societal level, this memoir has something to learn and think about for just about everyone. Talusan's reflective and careful narration of her own words brings a new level of intimacy to the work, one well worth listening to. Amateur
Thomas Page McBee is the first known trans man to have ever fought in the ring at Madison Square Garden. That alone would have made for a great memoir, but he doesn’t stop there.
Amateur takes on gender stereotypes and male violence, and comes away with a hopeful vision for a new kind of masculinity—all in under four hours and narrated in his own voice. Space Between
Actor and queer activist Nico Tortorella (who you might know from the hit series
Younger, the film Scream IV, or any number of other projects) is ready to help the world get the ever-evolving nuances of their nonbinary and polyamorous life with their intimate memoir, Space Between. In this gorgeous exploration of gender identities, sexuality, love, and spirituality, Tortorella explains why it never felt like they were born in the wrong body so much as in the wrong world. A Year Without a Name
In their memoir, Cyrus Grace Dunham takes listeners on a journey of transformation as they reckon with their identity as a nonbinary person. By excavating moments from their childhood and young adult years when their gender identity was put upon them by parents and society, and when they first identified as a gay woman, Dunham addresses society’s expectations about gender, and tells a different story about how we define ourselves. Narrated by the author,
A Year Without a Name is a fascinating and deeply personal memoir about challenging gender norms. Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club
Welcome to the Butterfly Club. Written by actress and trans activist Shakina Nayfack, this vibrant and powerful audio play tells the story of an international group of transwomen who come together at - you guessed it - the Chonburi International Hotel and Butterfly Club in Thailand. The group of women bond, struggle, and lift each other up as they share the life-altering experience of gender confirmation surgery. Performed by a full cast that features the author, this semi-autobiographical work is an emotive and affirming celebration of life.
Real Queer America
A journalistic look at the lives of queer people of all identities across the US,
Real Queer America is also part memoir. Samantha Allen talks about her coming-out process, how she grappled with her identity as a trans woman, and how she left her home in Provo and Mormon faith to be her true self. Seeking to understand why so many queer people live in rural and conservative areas, and how they build community, Allen embarked on a summer-long cross-country road trip in 2017, interviewing Americans from Utah to Florida. This self-narrated audiobook is the result—a necessary work that will challenge listeners' assumptions about where and how queer people live. George
George has a secret: Even though everyone thinks she’s a boy, George knows she’s a girl. She isn’t sure how to tell anyone, and she knows the news would upset her big brother. But when she tells her best friend in the whole world, George finds acceptance. And then they hatch a plan together: George will try out for the role of Charlotte in their class production of
Charlotte’s Web. When everyone sees George give a stellar performance, they’ll be sure to accept her identity—right? This is an excellent, uplifting children’s novel that even adults will love, narrated beautifully by trans actor Jamie Clayton. Tranny
Fans of the punk rock band Against Me! should definitely pick up this author-narrated memoir from lead singer Laura Jane Grace, about her journey to realizing her true identity. Sharing memories and diary entries, Grace invites listeners into her innermost thoughts and feelings as she recounts her younger years, how she formed Against Me!, the band's dramas and woes, and how she dealt with gender dysphoria and transitioning. Part band history and part memoir,
Tranny is a moving account of how it took Grace 30 years to find the courage to live as her authentic self. If I Was Your Girl
Narrated by Samia Mounts, this YA novel is about Amanda Hardy, the new girl in her small, Southern high school. As if starting over in a new place and living with a dad who’s been distant at best since her parents got divorced weren't hard enough, Amanda has a secret: she’s trans. To protect her heart (and her physical self), she is determined not to get close to anyone, but then she meets Grant—and can’t help but fall for him. Grant is kind and gentle, but when Amanda’s secret is threatened, they’re both put at risk.
If I Was Your Girl is a groundbreaking and heartrending novel about the quest for acceptance and love. Sissy
Actor, producer, and writer Jacob Tobia narrates their own “coming of gender” story. Although born into the expectation of behaving like a boy and liking only “boy” things, Tobia didn't want to be limited to masculine roles and interests, even as a little kid in North Carolina. Their enjoyment of playing with Barbies as much as getting muddy and fascination with both bugs and Princess dresses got them labeled a sissy at a young age. In
Sissy, Tobia explores that very label and how it affected him beyond childhood, what makes someone masculine or feminine, how family and community shape our sense of identity, and finally feeling brave enough to come out as nonbinary. Sunset Springs
From best-selling and award-winning author Kacen Callender, this coming-of-age audio novella is not to be missed.
Sunset Springs follows 27-year old Charlie, who, finding himself with no job, no money, and no partner, decides to move back home with his mom. This wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t also mean moving back to his conservative hometown, where no one has seen him since his transition. Being one of the few Black residents, and the only trans person to speak of, Charlie steels himself for feeling uncomfortable and lonely. But then, he reconnects with Jackson, the former high school football star, who recently came out as gay. Commarrah J. Yochanan narrates this deeply touching, tender, and authentic story of finding courage, hope, and even love in the most unexpected of places. Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars
For something a bit different from the coming out and transitioning memoir, try Kai Cheng Thom's surrealist, genre-bending novel.
Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars is about a young trans Asian-Canadian woman who runs away from an abusive home and finds herself on the Street of Miracles, where she’s taken in by a group of fierce and femme trans women. When one of their own is murdered, she must join her sisters to fight against the killer and seek justice, but things don’t go according to plan. Our protagonist must find the strength to understand who her true family is, and what it means to embrace her identity. Featuring authentic Canadian narration by Adri Almeida, this is a fantastical story with lots of heart and truth. How to Be a Girl
The sole title on our list
not written by a trans or nonbinary author, How to Be a Girl offers another perspective on gender identity: that of a mother whose young child, born a boy, has recently declared herself a girl. Generous, thoughtful, and full of sensitivity and warmth, Marlo Mack's self-narrated memoir is a gorgeous exploration of family, identity, and unconditional love and acceptance. Deeply meditative on the nature of community and support, and lovingly punctuated by the delighted giggles and singsong voice of Mack's daughter, this sincere and wholehearted listen shares a heartfelt story and a necessary lesson in allyship.