Friday, July 27, 2012

Transgender Women in Lesbian Relationships in Fiction

This is a list of Lesbian-MtF Transgender relationships in fiction. If you are a transgender, transexual or generally genderqueer lesbian in love with another trans* or cis woman, it can be very difficult to find books about similar people to you - we hope this list will help!

This list includes novels and short stories that follow a relationship between a cis woman and a transgender woman, or an approximate genderqueer variant, including closeted FtM men still living as women and androgynous or intersexed characters. (It's probably easier to explain who isn't included! Specifically, MtF women + men, pre- & post-op FtM men + men, post-op FtM men + women)

We know there are quite a few good biographies out there, but this was a list to concentrate on fiction, which is much harder to find.

MtF woman + cis/MtF woman relationships

  • All About Eden by Christa Faust (two MtF women, not exactly a romance, addiction, short story)
  • Becoming Me by Ria Goff (two MtF women, romance)
  • The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan (lesbian protagonist with a transsexual bisexual girlfriend, protagonist is highly schizophrenic and spends her time trying to sort out fantasy from reality, surreal/fantasy)
  • Trans-Sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian (straight female protagonist falls for a pre-op transgender lesbian and tries to cope with the transition, romance/adult issues novel) [review]

Genderqueer person + cis woman/genderqueer relationships

  • Anomaly by Thea Atkinson (pre-op /bi-gendered person and a very close lesbian friend, drug addiction, psychological drama)
  • Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff (two people of unknown gender, YA )
  • Fool for Love by Lisa Lees (2005) (intersexed + genderqueer, YA )
  • The Moonbane Mage by Laurie J. Marks [review] (hermaphroditic fantasy race, protagonist is in both a herm-herm relationship and a herm-human female one, also a supporting herm-herm relationship) 
  • Short story in OMGQueer edited by Katherine E. Lynch and Radclyffe (androgynous "girl" and genderqueer presenting 'swop' (m, f, or androynous), YA) 
  • Pantomime by Laura Lam (intersexed person and a young woman, intersexed protagonist is bisexual)

Pre-op/closeted/transitioning FtM man + cis woman relationships 

(Essentially, a trans* man who is presenting as a woman during a relationship. While these are technically 'straight', a lot of them feature a character who thinks they may be lesbian and are treated as lesbian by those around them, whether they end up as a transgender male or just genderqueer somewhere in the middle).


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  1. Another great list! Thanks for this. I did want to say a few things though: Leslie Feinberg's Stone Butch Blues is definitely a novel, although it has a lot of autobiographical elements. Also, from what I know, intersex is the preferred term instead of hermaphrodite.

    1. Ha! I *knew* that if I didn't add it, someone would mention it, and if I did, I'd get it wrong. This list caught me flatfooted, as it was set to publish automatically, and I'd *meant* to doublecheck that book before it went live. But I did think it was an autobiography.

      Ah, thanks. I was actually using it quite literally this time as I was thinking of the fantasy book (The Moonbane Mage), but I probably should use 'intersex' in the intro where that isn't clear.

    2. Yeah, Stone Butch Blues is kind of an interesting hybrid fiction/biography, but it's officially a novel. Again, great list, especially if you put it together quickly!

  2. Trans man/cis woman is a HET relationship, not lesbian. Trans woman/cis woman, trans woman/trans woman, or cis woman/cis woman are lesbian relationships. I don't get why: a. This is so hard to understand and b. Why there are no books featuring trans guy/cis guy or trans guy/trans guy gay relationships. --from a bi trans guy in a long term relationship with a bi cis guy. P.s. also, it seems almost impossible to find books about bisexuals in committed same gender relationships. When my bf and I walk down the street, people don't see two bi guys, they see two boys in love and give us the same crap they'd give two gay guys who are together. It would be even worse if my transness was "read", then we wouldn't even have support from other couples in same-gender relationships.

    1. TLDR: It's a friggin lonely existence if not even your partner sees all of you.

      It is a heterosexual relationship. That's WHY it's a very lonely and difficult identity crisis/experience for a lesbian partner. One person voicing their true identity does not mean the lesbian partner's internal identity has suddenly changed and may not ever shift for them. That's personal to each person which identity feels most like home and true to them. While loving their trans partner through and after their transition, the lesbian now has an erased identity that the world has no way of seeing or acknowledging from the outside. You're suddenly not only seen as simply another straight person, but you are introducing your bf to others and actively validating his identity along the way while accepting years of who you are and still are inside will go unseen in silence moving forward. The alternative is potentially invalidating your partner's identity, unless the trans partner chooses to disclose their own journey and your relationship history with a particular person. Therefore, it needs to be a 2 way street of validating and accepting internal identities WITHIN the relationship that requires emotional safety and trusting each other to know that the other's identity does not cancel out your own.

      If the trans partner can acknowledge, accept, and validate their partner without insecurity, it makes it a whole lot easier for the lesbian partner to navigate feeling newly unseen and often outright rejected by the queer community while feeling and knowing no sense of belonging to the straight community either.

      Bottom line: it's a friggin lonely existence if not even your partner sees all of you and the relationship will likely suffer.

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