Crack That Egg

25 books every egg should read

Coming out is not easy—but once you do it, it’s undeniable that things get so much better. That said, we can all benefit from a helping hand, and who’s more helpful than someone who’s been through it before?

When thinking about coming out as trans or nonbinary, it’s not just books written by trans authors that can help make a difference. So many works of literature are about the importance of being honest with yourself and coming to terms with who you are. Self acceptance is a journey, and literature is here to help you with that journey.

So if you’re searching for a way to be who you are, take some of these classic works for a spin.

Lament for Julia

Susan Taubes didn’t have the happiest life—she walked into the sea shortly after the publication of her first novel Divorcing, in 1969—but what she left behind was a body of work that stands as one of the clearest, most heartbreaking testaments to dissociation and complex body feelings of all time. In Lament for Julia, a woman is inhabited by a masculine spirit who feels trapped in her body—and it only gets more relatable from there.

In Youth is Pleasure

Gay, disabled writer Denton Welch wrote somewhat openly about being the queer black sheep of a proper English family, but in his 1945 book In Youth is Pleasure, the egginess comes out. Welch’s narrator enjoys wearing lipstick and women’s clothes, and feels like he doesn’t belong in the boy’s school where he’s relentlessly bullied. Sound familiar? Of course it does!

Summer Fun

If you’ve ever wondered, “what if Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys was secretly a trans woman?” this is absolutely the book for you.

Little Women

Thanks to the scholarship of Peyton Thomas, we now know that Lou May Alcott was living as a trans man for most of his adult life. Little Women—and the “tomboy” character of Jo March in particular—hits quite differently with this knowledge.

Stone Butch Blues

Famously and disgracefully out of print, you can still get your hands on this classic of trans literature if you really try.

Hijab Butch Blues

Lamya H’s answer to Feinberg’s groundbreaking work was instantly destined for greatness. Using the Quran as her guide, H explores her relationship to gender, society, and queerness in necessarily subversive ways.

Monsieur Venus

The mononymous Rachilde created a frenzy when she published this late 19th-century oddity, the story of a masculine woman who loves to force-femme her male lovers.

No Longer Human

Dissociation never sounded so relatable than in Osamu Dazai’s painful, heartbreaking manifesto of isolation. And yes, there is a manga version!

Confessions of a Mask

We’ve spoken before about the controversial queer writer Yukio Mishima. While he was most likely bisexual, that doesn’t mean his works don’t read as trans as hell. Got body issues? Guess what: this guy gets it.


Nonbinary writer Akwaeke Emezi has given us so much wealth in the form of gripping trans novels that aren’t afraid to go there. In the universe of Pet, monsters don’t exist…or do they? Trans erasure never looked so terrifying.

A Year Without a Name

Finding a new name can be a trans rite of passage: but it can also come with unexpected consequences. In Cyrus Dunham’s memoir, the idea of branding or claiming gets completely deconstructed.

Last Words from Monmartre

Qiu Miaojin—most famous for her 1994 work Notes of a Crocodile—spelled out her feelings on death, love, and loss in this heartbreaking epistolary novel. For queers mourning the loss of a past self, this deeply sad book hits the spot.

Jonny Appleseed

This story of an Indigenous two-spirit sex worker forced to go back to the rez for a painful reckoning is raw, reeling, and unforgettable. Sometimes becoming who you are means leaving a lot of yourself behind.


It’s the ultimate “if you know, you know” book, and it’s being adapted for the screen by Jane Schoenbrun!

De Profundis

“Whatever realized is right” goes the refrain of Oscar Wilde’s long letter to his evil ex Bosie Douglas. Written from prison, Wilde’s treatise remains one of the most powerful arguments for living life out of the closet (or the eggshell) that we have to this day.

The Naked Civil Servant

Quentin Crisp came out as trans before they died, but anyone who’s read their groundbreaking memoir of life as a flaming queer before it was legal already knew. And the movie holds up just as well.

The Testosterone Files

While some aspects of Max Wolf Valerio’s tale of transmasculinity don’t hold up as well, the book as a whole still remains a clear-eyed, exciting memoir of starting on a T journey from a time when access to gender-confirming care was absolutely not a given.

Journal of a Sex Change

This was the book that brought readers inside a Trinidadian hospital (where trans women often had to go to access gender-confirming surgery in the 90s) to explore some of the more painful realities of physical transition. Claudine Griggs doesn’t hold back, and that’s what makes Sex Change such a gripping read.

People Change

They say that people never change, but as trans folks, we know that’s far from the truth. Vivek Shraya dives into the concept of change with sharpness, heart, and wit. Anyone who’s afraid of change even at the cost of self-transformation needs to read this immediately.

More than organs

Too often, trans folks are reduced to the parts of our bodies that are endlessly othered and speculated about. Poet Kay Ulanday Barrett puts the power back in readers’ hands with this deeply-felt “love letter” to Black and Brown trans folks.

Redefining Realness

Janet Mock has put herself on the frontlines for trans rights and visibility for years, and her bestselling book remains one of the best trans memoirs of our lifetimes.

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