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Resistance, Liberation, and Joy

By Skokie Staff Adult Services

Too often, we hear about trans experiences rooted in trauma, shame, and fear. It's important that those stories exist, but we argue it's equally (if not more) important that trans stories rooted in joy also exist. Trans people, as well as people of other genders, need to see that the trans community is a beautiful community "that has resistance, liberation, joy, and magic at its core" (Cosmopolitan UK).

  • Felix Ever After

    2020 by Callender, Kacen

    Both feel-good and inspiring, this book shines a light into the self-doubt, bullying, and harassment that many trans individuals face. School Library Journal says this book is "full of warmth, love, and support." Recommended by Paul.

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  • Una Mujer Fantástica: A Fantastic Woman

    2018

    This film from Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Lelio won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It centers on Marina, a transgender woman dealing with the sudden death of her partner, Orlando. Marina (played by Daniela Vega, a transgender actress and singer) faces suspicion, disrespect, hatred, and prejudice from hospital staff, the police, and some of Orlando’s family. Navigating her way through the sadness and turmoil, she picks up the pieces of her life, pursues her dreams, and shows the world that she is a fantastic woman. This is a tour de force, breakout performance from Vega. Lelio wrote the role for Vega. In turn, Vega contributed ideas to help shape the story and characters. The last scene really knocked me out because I think it is perfect. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • Future Feeling

    2021 by Lake, Joss

    Is this a book about an embittered dog walker who inadvertently puts a curse on a young man—and must adventure into a mysterious dimension in order to save him? Yes. It's also much more. Christina Orlando for Tor says, "Lake has constructed a wonderful world where trans identity is celebrated and centered, where trans characters are allowed to be messy and complicated and human. It’s, quite honestly, the kind of book I’ve been waiting for for a really long time. I’m so glad it’s finally here." Recommended by Allyson.

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  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch

    2001

    Film adaptation from the 1998 musical play about a genderqueer East German singer in a rock band. Much of the film is about Hedwig's gender identity. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • Coffee Boy

    2016 by Chant, Austin

    After graduation, Kieran expected to go straight into a career of flipping burgers—only to be offered the internship of his dreams in a political campaign. The pressure of being an out trans man in the workplace quickly sucks the joy out of things, as does Seth, the humorless campaign strategist who watches his every move. Soon, the only upside to the job is that Seth has a painful crush on their painfully straight boss, and Kieran has a front row seat to the drama. When Seth proves to be as respectful and supportive as he is prickly, Kieran develops an awkward crush of his own—one that Seth is far too prim and proper to ever reciprocate. Socially Scientific Romance, calls this "jam-packed with both romance and deep, emotive exploration of things that affect the characters.” Recommended by Mary.

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  • Paris Is Burning

    2005

    Phenomenal, groundbreaking documentary about the drag scene in New York. The film goes deeper than just a look at drag...it becomes a very insightful look at sexuality in America. In 2016, it was selected by the Library Congress for their National Film Registry list. Recommended by Cecilia.

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  • Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars

    by Thom, Kai Cheng

    GUTS calls this warmhearted fantasy-esque novel that overturns trans-tropes “A fairy tale, a love story, and a love letter from one trans woman of colour to other trans women and femmes of colour.” Recommended by Allyson.

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  • Cowboys

    2021

    Writer/director Anna Kerrigan delivers a touching drama about a father (Steve Zahn) with mental health issues who wants to help his 10-year-old transgender son live authentically, which Joe’s mother (Jillian Bell) does not accept. The two become modern-day outlaws on a western-inspired journey when they run away in the middle of the night and travel on horseback through the Montana wilderness toward Canada. At the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, Cowboys won Best Screenplay and Zahn won Best Actor. In his feature film debut, trans actor Sasha Knight as Joe is a natural in front of the camera and picked up the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Performance at the L.A. Outfest. Put this indie gem on your to-watch list. Also available on Hoopla. Recommended by Sharon.

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  • Stuck in the Middle with You

    2013 by Boylan, Jennifer Finney

    When her two children were young, author Jenny Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. Recommended by Mary.

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  • Boy Meets Girl

    2015

    In her first movie role, transgender actor Michelle Hendley turns in a terrific performance as Ricky, a 21-year-old transgender woman hoping to get into design school and also ready to be in love. When she finds herself attracted to Francesca, recently engaged to a marine serving overseas, they explore their new relationship and the choices ahead. At the same time, Ricky’s longtime best friend Robby realizes that he must sort out his own feelings for Ricky. It is a sweet, funny, and provocative story looking at issues often not seen in romantic dramedies. Also available on Kanopy. Recommended by Sharon.

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