Transgender Day of Remembrance 2021

What is the Transgender Day of Remembrance?

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance, on November 20, to honour the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender, transphobic violence, and from suicide.

Transphobia is the fear, hatred, disbelief, or mistrust of people who are transgender, thought to be transgender, or whose gender expression doesn’t conform to traditional gender roles. Transphobia can prevent transgender and gender nonconforming people from living full lives free from harm.

Transphobia can take many different forms, including:

  • negative attitudes and beliefs
  • aversion to and prejudice against transgender people
  • irrational fear and misunderstanding
  • disbelief or discounting preferred pronouns or gender identity
  • derogatory language and name-calling
  • bullying, abuse, and even violence

Transphobia can create both subtle and overt forms of discrimination. For example, people who are transgender (or even just thought to be transgender) may be denied jobs, housing, or health care, just because they’re transgender. Transphobia also negatively affects mental health, with rates of depression higher among trans people who’ve experienced a hate crime.

Some people hold transphobic beliefs because their parents and families encourage negative ideas about trans people or hold strict beliefs about traditional gender roles. Other people are transphobic because they have misinformation or have no information at all about trans identities.

We have created a list of 11 books that look at transgender lives, either through real stories or fiction. These are a great place to start if you wish to learn more about the lives, experiences and opinions of transgender people.


Trans Love: An Anthology of Transgender and Non-Binary Voices
by Freiya Benson

Adult Non-Fiction

A ground-breaking anthology of writing on the topic of love, written by trans and non-binary people who share their thoughts, feelings and experiences of love in all its guises. The collection spans familial, romantic, spiritual and self-love as well as friendships and ally love, to provide a broad and honest understanding of how trans people navigate love and relationships, and what love means to them. people.

My Brother’s Name is Jessica
by John Boyne

Teen Fiction
Available as eBooks, eAudiobook and physical book

Sam Waver has always been a loner: bullied, struggling at school, with parents who have very little time for him. The one person he has always been able to rely on is his beloved older sibling – but when they announce that they are transitioning, Sam’s life is thrown upside down. He’s convinced nothing will ever be the same again – but as Sam is about to discover, nothing is more constant than love.

One in Every Crowd
By Ivan Coyote

Young Adult Non-Fiction
Available as eBook

Comprised of original stories and a hand-picked selection of Coyote’s best work, this collection is aimed at young adults. Included are stories from Ivan’s own tomboy past, where playing hockey and wearing pants were the norm; and her adult life in the big city, where she encounters both cruelty and kindness in unexpected places.

Uncomfortable Labels: My Life as a Gay Autistic Trans Woman
by Laura Kate Dale

Adult Non-Fiction

In this candid, first-of-its-kind memoir, Laura Kate Dale recounts what life is like growing up as a gay trans woman on the autism spectrum. From struggling with sensory processing, managing socially demanding situations and learning social cues and feminine presentation, through to coming out as trans during an autistic meltdown, Laura draws on her personal experiences from life prior to transition and diagnosis, and moving on to the years of self-discovery, to give a unique insight into the nuances of sexuality, gender and autism, and how they intersect.

Freshwater
by Akwaeke Emezi

Adult Fiction

The story follows Ada who is born an ogbanje—an malevolent Igbo spirit living inside a child, whose goal is to torment its family by dying young and then reappearing in the next child. But Ada does not die, so we learn how someone, with multiple spirits occupying their mind, lives.

Akwaeke Emezi writes masterfully, exploring themes of mental health, trauma, sexual violence and gender identity, drawing on their own experience of being gender non-binary and trans, and having different identities.

George
by Alex Gino

Children’s Fiction

A bright, bold debut about a girl who happens to have been born a boy but refuses to let that stand in the way of her dream, ‘George’ is a pertinent and poignant read for kids aged 10+. George was Alex Gino’s first novel. George was a winner of the Children’s Stonewall Award, the Lambda Literary Award and the Children’s Choice Book Awards.

Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl
by Andrea Lawlor

Adult Fiction

It’s 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a dyke best friend, makes zines, and is a flâneur with a rich dating life. But Paul’s also got a secret: he’s a shapeshifter. Paul transforms his body at will in a series of adventures that take him from Iowa City to Boystown, to Provincetown and finally to San Francisco – a journey through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure. Andrea Lawlor’s debut novel offers a speculative history of early 90s identity politics during the heyday of ACT UP and Queer Nation.

Birthday
by Meredith Russo

Young Adult Fiction

Meet Morgan and Eric: born on the same day, at the same time and bonded for life. In this moving dual narrative, we meet them every birthday from the age of 13, as Eric figures out who he is, as Morgan decides to live as her true self, and as they realise they are inextricably part of each other.

I’m Afraid of Men
by Vivek Shraya

Adult Non-Fiction

Toxic masculinity takes many insidious forms, from misogyny and sexual harassment to homophobia, transphobia and bullying. Vivek Shraya has first-hand experience with nearly all of them. As a transwomen she grew up experiencing aggression for displaying femininity, and is haunted by the violence of men. ‘I’m Afraid of Men’ is a culmination of the years Vivek spent observing men and creating her own version of manhood. Through deeply personal reflection, she offers a rare and multifaceted perspective on gender and a hopeful reimagining of masculinity at a time when it’s needed more than ever.

Non-Binary Lives
Edited by Jos Twist

Adult Non-Fiction

This wide-ranging and powerful collection of essays gathers together leading non-binary figures to explore how their gender identities intersect with multiple aspects of other identities including race, class, age, sexuality, faith, community, family, disability and health.

The Art of Being Normal
By Lisa Williamson

Young Adult Fiction

David is funny and quirky and has always felt different from other people – but he also has a huge secret that only his two best friends know. Ever since he can remember, he has felt like a girl trapped in the body of a boy.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2019

What is the Transgender Day of Remembrance?

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began an important memorial that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”
– Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith

Listed below are books that will help provide insight into the experiences of the trans community:

Trans Britain: our journey from the shadows
edited by Christine Burns MBE

Unbound, 2018.

Summary:    Over the last five years, transgender people have seemed to burst into the public eye. From our television screens to the ballot box, transgender had suddenly become part of the zeitgeist. This apparently overnight emergence, though, is just the latest stage in a long and varied history. The renown of Paris Lees and Hari Nef has its roots in the efforts of those who fought for equality before them but were met with apathy – and often outright hostility – from mainstream society. ‘Trans Britain’ chronicles this journey in the words of those who were there to witness a once invisible community grow into the powerful movement we recognise today: activists, film-makers, parents, broadcasters, an actress, a rock musician and a priest, among many others.

If I was your girl
by Meredith Russo

Usborne, 2016

Amanda Hardy is the new girl at school. Like everyone, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she’s falling in love with. Amanda has a secret. At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out.

Amateur: a true story about what makes a man
by Thomas Page McBee

Canongate, 2018.

Summary:    In this volume, Thomas Page McBee, a trans man, trains to fight in a charity match at Madison Square Garden while struggling to untangle the vexed relationship between masculinity and violence. Through his experience of boxing – learning to get hit, and to hit back; wrestling with the camaraderie of the gym; confronting the betrayals and strength of his own body – McBee examines the weight of male violence, the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes and the limitations of conventional masculinity.

Beautiful music for ugly children
by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Publishers Group UK, 2012.

Summary:    Gabe has always identified as a boy, but he was born with a girl’s body. With his new public access radio show gaining in popularity, Gabe struggles with romance, friendships, and parents – all while trying to come out as transgendered. An audition for a station in Minneapolis looks like his ticket to a better life in the big city. But his entire future is threatened when several violent guys find out Gabe the popular DJ is also Elizabeth from school.

Darling days
by iO Tillett Wright

Virago, 2017.

Summary:    It was a tenement building at the centre of the drug-addled, punk-edged, permanent riot that was iO’s corner of the Lower East Side of New York City in the ’80s and 90’s. There iO grew up – or rather scrabbled up – under the broken wing of a fiercely protective, yet wildly negligent mother. Rhonna was a showgirl, actress, dancer, poet. A widow by police murder, she was also an addict. She doted and obsessed over iO, yet lacked an understanding that a child needs food and sleep and safety. Unfolding in animated, crystalline prose, this is an emotionally raw, devastatingly powerful memoir of one young person’s extraordinary coming of age – a tale of gender and identity, freedom and addiction, rebellion and survival in the 1980s and 1990s, when punk poverty, heroin and art collided in the urban bohemia of New York’s Lower East Side.

The days of Anna Madrigal
by Armistead Maupin

Doubleday, 2014.

Summary:    ‘The Days of Anna Madrigal’, the suspenseful, comic, and touching ninth novel in Armistead Maupin’s bestselling ‘Tales of the City’ series, follows one of modern literature’s most unforgettable and enduring characters – Anna Madrigal, the legendary transgender landlady of 28 Barbary Lane – as she embarks on a road trip that takes her deep into her past.

ISBN:    9780857521286

The girl in the green dress
by Cath Staincliffe

Constable, 2018.

Summary:    How far would you go to protect your child? Can you really keep them safe? What if who they are puts them at risk? And what if they have blood on their hands? Teenager Allie Kennaway heads off for prom night, cheered on by her dad Steve and little sister Teagan. But Allie never comes home, beaten to death in an apparent hate crime because of her transgender identity. As police investigate the brutal murder, a crime that has appalled the country, one parent is at her wit’s end with her son’s behaviour. Are his outbursts and silences hiding something much darker than adolescent mood swings? And if her suspicions are correct, then what does she do? Another parent will fight tooth and nail to save his boy from the full force of the law. After all, blood is thicker than water and everyone should look after their own. But if he succeeds then Allie and her family will never get the justice they deserve.

Gracefully Grayson
by Ami Polonsky

Disney-Hyperion, 2016.

Summary:    Grayson Sender has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: ‘he’ is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body. The weight of this secret is crushing, but sharing it would mean facing ridicule, scorn, rejection or worse. Despite the risks, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Will new strength from an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher’s wisdom be enough to help Grayson step into the spotlight she was born to inhabit?

The house on Half Moon Street
by Alex Reeve

Raven Books, 2018.

Summary:    Leo Stanhope. Avid chess player; assistant to a London coroner; in love with Maria; and hiding a very big secret. For Leo was born Charlotte, the daughter of a respectable reverend. But knowing he was meant to be a man – despite the evidence of his body – and unable to cope with living a lie any longer, he fled his family home at just 15 and has been living as Leo: his secret known to only a few trusted people. But then Maria is found dead and Leo is accused of her murder. Desperate to find her killer and under suspicion from all those around him, he stands to lose not just the woman he loves, but his freedom and, ultimately, his life.

I am Jazz
by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

Dial Books for Young Readers, [2014]

Summary:    From the time she was two years old, Jazz Jennings knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.

Man alive: a true story of violence, forgiveness and becoming a man
by Thomas Page McBee

Canongate, 2017.

Summary:    If he is to become a man, what sort of man should Thomas Page McBee be? To find out, McBee must confront the suffering he has endured at the hands of men: the abuse he endured as a child from his father and the violent mugging which almost killed him as an adult. Standing at the brink of the life-changing decision to transition from female to male, McBee seeks to understand these examples of flawed manhood, and reclaim his body on his own terms.

The new girl: a trans girl tells it like it is
by Rhyannon Styles

Headline, 2017.

Summary:    Elle columnist Rhyannon Styles tells her unforgettable life story in this memoir, reflecting on her past and charting her incredible journey from male to female. Imagine feeling lost in your own body. Imagine spending years living a lie, denying what makes you ‘you’. This was Ryan’s reality. He had to choose: die as a man or live as a woman. In 2012, Ryan chose Rhyannon. At the age of 30 Rhyannon began her transition, taking the first steps on the long road to her true self, and the emotional, physical and psychological journey that would change her for ever. In a time when the world is finally waking up to transgender people, Rhyannon opens up to us, holding nothing back in this heartbreakingly honest telling of her life.

The new woman
by Charity Norman

Allen & Unwin, 2015.

Summary:    What would you do if you found that your husband, your father, your son – was not who you thought? Could you ever love him again?

The secrets of my life
by Caitlyn Jenner with Buzz Bissinger

Trapeze, 2017.

Summary:    ‘The Secrets of My Life’ looks at Caitlyn Jenner’s childhood as Bruce Jenner and rise to fame as a gold-medal-winning Olympic decathlete; her marriages and her relationships with her children; her transition; and her experience as the world’s most famous transgender woman.

This is how it always is
by Laurie Frankel

Headline Review, 2018.

Summary:    Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time – and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl. As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

I am J
by Cris Beam

Headline Review, 2018.

Summary:    J always felt different. He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was, a boy mistakenly born as a girl. Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him. Eventually J stopped praying to wake up a ‘real boy’ and started covering up his body.

Not just a tomboy
by Caspar J. Baldwin

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019.

Summary:    This is the story of one trans man’s exploration of gender identity, set against changing cultural attitudes from the 90s to the present day.
Caspar Baldwin grew up in a time when being trans was not widely accepted by society, and though progress has been made since then, trans men are still underrepresented and misunderstood. Grappling with the messy realities of gender expectations while giving a stark and moving account of his own experiences, Baldwin grants a nuanced understanding of what it’s like to be a trans boy or man.
With its unflinching portrayal of the vulnerability, confusion, dysphoria, empowerment, peace and joy that are all part of the transition process, this book provides an invaluable support for trans men and is a memoir that breaks the mould.

LGBT+

A collection of helpful, celebrational and supportive books to explain LGBT+ to children, as well as teaching children that we are all different and to accept those differences. Useful for both children who may be part of the LGBT+ community and for children who are making new friends.


My Princess Boy – Cheryl Kilodavis

Dyson loves the colour pink and sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses and sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy, and his family loves him exactly the way he is. This is a story about love and acceptance.
Age: 0+


10,000 dresses – Marcus Ewert

In her dreams, Bailey is a young girl. Every night she dreams about magical dresses. Unfortunately, when Bailey wakes up, nobody wants to hear about her beautiful dreams. This is because Bailey is a boy and shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all. However, Bailey meets an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s dreams and courage.
Age: 5+


Red: a crayon’s story – Michael Hall

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a play date with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heart-warming, colourful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone.
Age: 4+


I am Jazz – Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.
Age: 5+


Jacob’s new dress – Sarah and Ian Hoffman

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear “girl” clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.
Age: 0+


George – Alex Gino

A bright, bold debut about a girl who happens to have been born a boy but refuses to let that stand in the way of her dream, ‘George’ is a pertinent and poignant middle-grade read for kids of all backgrounds.
Age: 9+


 

Julian is a Mermaid – Jessica Love

Perfect for opening a discussion about gender and acceptance. Julian sees three women dressed as mermaids and wants to copy them.
Age: 5+


The Boy in the Dress – David Walliams

Dennis lives in a boring house in a boring street in a boring town. But he’s about to find out that when you open your mind, life becomes anything but boring.
Age: 9+


 

Frockodile – Jeanne Willis

How will Cliff the crocodile break it to his motorcycling dad that he likes to wear dresses and heels? This rhyming text gives a positive outcome for Cliff to be whatever he wants.
Age: 4+

LGBTQ+

A collection of helpful, celebrational and supportive books to explain LGBTQ+ to children, as well as teaching children that we are all different and to accept those differences. Useful for both children who may be part of the LGBTQ+ community and for children who are making new friends.


The Secrets of Sam & Sam
by Susie Day

Sam likes being a twin. He likes cheese sandwiches and his dog. His sister – Sam – likes being a twin, too. She thinks she is the Best Twin. Two Sams, two mums, one puppy. Meet the family where everybody has secrets.
Age: 8+


10,000 dresses
by Marcus Ewert

In her dreams, Bailey is a young girl. Every night she dreams about magical dresses. Unfortunately, when Bailey wakes up, nobody wants to hear about her beautiful dreams. This is because Bailey is a boy and shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all. However, Bailey meets an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s dreams and courage.
Age: 5+


George
by Alex Gino

A bright, bold debut about a girl who happens to have been born a boy but refuses to let that stand in the way of her dream, ‘George’ is a pertinent and poignant middle-grade read for kids of all backgrounds.
Age: 9+


Nothing Ever Happens Here
by Sarah Hagger-Holt

Izzy’s family is under the spotlight when her dad comes out as Danielle, a trans woman. Izzy is terrified her family will be torn apart. Will she lose her dad? Will her parents break up? And what will people at school say? Izzy’s always been shy, but now all eyes are on her. Can she face her fears, find her voice and stand up for what’s right?
Age: 9+


Red: a crayon’s story
by Michael Hall

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a play date with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heart-warming, colourful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone.
Age: 4+


I am Jazz
by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.
Age: 5+


Image result for The great big book of families / Mary Hoffman ; illustrated by Ros Asquith."

The Great Big Book of Families
by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith

There are almost as many kinds of families as colours of the rainbow and this book illustrates some of them: from a mum and dad or single parent to two mums or two dads, from a mixed-race family to children with different mums and dads, from families with a disabled member to those with a mum or dad in prison.
Age: 5+


Jacob’s new dress
by Sarah and Ian Hoffman

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can’t wear “girl” clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.
Age: 0+


My Princess Boy
by Cheryl Kilodavis

Dyson loves the colour pink and sparkly things. Sometimes he wears dresses and sometimes he wears jeans. He likes to wear his princess tiara, even when climbing trees. He’s a Princess Boy, and his family loves him exactly the way he is. This is a story about love and acceptance.
Age: 0+


My Dad thinks I’m a boy?!
by Sophie Labelle

This is a comic style children’s book that tells the story of Stephie, a 7-year-old transgender girl, whose Dad is still struggling to recognize and accept her gender. It portrays a powerful message for children aged 6-9, that no one else other than ourselves gets to decide who we are.
Age: 6+


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Julian is a Mermaid
by Jessica Love

Perfect for opening a discussion about gender and acceptance. Julian sees three women dressed as mermaids and wants to copy them.
Age: 5+


Dad David, Baba Chris and Me
by Ed Merchant

Ben’s two dads adopted him when he was four. This story encourages an understanding and appreciation of same-sex parents, as well as looking at the different sorts of families that there can be.
Age: 4+


Daddy, Papa, and Me
by Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson

Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its daddies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together.
Age: 2+


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Heather Has Two Mummies
by Leslea Newman and Laura Cornell

Heather’s favourite number is two – she has two arms, two legs, two pets and two mummies. On her first day at school, someone asks Heather about her daddy.  When everyone draws pictures of their families they see that families come in all shapes and sizes.
Age: 4+


And Tango makes three
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Roy and Silo are just like the other penguin couples at the zoo – they bow to each other, walk together and swim together. But Roy and Silo are a little bit different – they’re both boys. Then, one day, when Mr Gramzay the zookeeper finds them trying to hatch a stone, he realises that it may be time for Roy and Silo to become parents for real.
Age: 4+


The Boy in the Dress
by David Walliams

Dennis lives in a boring house in a boring street in a boring town. But he’s about to find out that when you open your mind, life becomes anything but boring.
Age: 9+


The Seaside Trip
by Jackie Walter

A fun day out at the seaside ending in a delicious ice-cream treat. Notes about how to use the book are contained at the back.
Age: 6+


Image result for Frockodile / by Jeanne Willis ; illustrated by Stephanie Laberis."

Frockodile
by Jeanne Willis

How will Cliff the crocodile break it to his motorcycling dad that he likes to wear dresses and heels? This rhyming text gives a positive outcome for Cliff to be whatever he wants.
Age: 4+


Useful Organisations

Action for children:
Information and support for parents, whether you’re already part of the LGBT+ community, or if your child is bringing you into the community.

Adoption UK:
Providing an online forum, support groups, family days and training for parents.

Barnardo’s:
Supporting LGBTQ children, young people and families in the UK

Care for the family:
Support and information for families.

FFLAG:
A national voluntary organisation and charity dedicated to supporting parents and their lesbian, gay, bisexual and Trans sons and daughters

LGBT Foundation:
LGBT Foundation exists to support the needs of the diverse range of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans.

Mermaids:
Supporting children, young people, and their families with gender nonconformity and gender dysphoria.
HELPLINE: 0808 801 0400 Monday – Friday; 9am – 9pm

Stonewall:
Coming out advice and guidance for parents.