It is always a delight to see more and more books written by genderqueer and nonbinary authors! Over the years, I’ve definitely seen more of their books out in the wild, especially in SFF. Despite that, their stories are still a bit hard to find, to be honest. This list wasn’t nearly as easy to compile as I wish it had been. Nevertheless, those stories are out there, and they’re absolutely worth putting in the hands of more readers. And hopefully, the number of books written by nonbinary authors will only increase from now on. So yes, you’ve surely guessed that today I’m talking about books written by nonbinary authors. But not just any books. We’re going to take a left onto nonfiction avenue and talk specifically about memoirs by nonbinary authors.
Why memoirs? Because they are tender and heartfelt. Because they are relatable and powerful. There’s nothing like reading a memoir and opening your eyes to the experiences of another person. To empathize with them and see yourself in their thoughts. To explore your own identity and your sense of self through their words. Memoirs are some of the most honest pieces of literature you’ll read. And while memoirs by nonbinary authors are hard to find, they most certainly do exist.
So without further ado, let’s talk about eight beautiful memoirs written by nonbinary authors!
Great Memoirs by Nonbinary Authors
Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
This is probably the best-known memoir on this list, especially since it was banned all over the country in 2021. Maia Kobabe wrote and illustrated eir graphic memoir as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual. Some of the things e explores in Gender Queer include eir journey of self-identity — from coming out in high school to doing it again as nonbinary years later. It also touches upon the classic angst of adolescent crushes, the genre dysphoria e felt at pap smears, and eir bonding over gay fan fiction.
Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir by Akwaeke Emezi
Akwaeke Emezi is best known for their fiction, but reading their memoir is an absolute must! Especially since Dear Senthuran is a memoir written in letters. They are addressed to Emezi’s friends, lovers, and family, and it touches upon subjects of success, identity, spirituality, and mental health. It also talks about what it means to be an Ogbanje, as well as how Akwaeke sees themself and how they experience the world around them.
In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life by Jamie Windust
Next comes In Their Shoes, a book which toes the line between memoir and essay collection. This book is full of Windust’s anecdotes and thoughts on being nonbinary and navigating the world with a non cishet identity. They focus especially on their early life — and one of the things it emphasizes is that there is no one way to be nonbinary. It still retains a universal nature that makes the whole thing easily relatable.
Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia
Jacob writes their gender odyssey in Sissy — from their Methodist childhood to Duke University and even the White House. The book particularly follows their childhood, when Jacob had to deal with the expectations of being “male.” At the same time, it makes you question the stereotypes of a gender binary, and invites you to rethink gender as a whole. Their style is playful, irreverent, and honest — which makes for a raw yet fun read.
The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood by Krys Malcolm Belc
This is a very special memoir written by a nonbinary author because it focuses on the topic of parenthood. It’s also told through essays, and even contains pictures to go along with Belc’s story. The Natural Mother of the Child explores the relation between parenthood and gender through his own experience as a transmasculine parent starting by his son Samson’s birth. It all comes together to create a record of Krys Malcolm Belc’s life.
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
All Boys Aren’t Blue is a memoir told through personal essays in which journalist and activist George M. Johnson explores their early life. This includes their experiences with bullying and sexual relationships. As well as their relationship with their family members. The book is geared towards young adults, and it puts Johnson in the position of a mentor as they talk directly to the reader. Overall, it’s a wonderful piece of writing that makes you question themes like gender identity, consent, Black joy, and toxic masculinity.
Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Leah Lakshmi is a criminally underrated poet and writer. Their memoir is told in non-linear order. It explores the “dirty river” of their past as she also “dreams her way home.” Dirty River is mainly their coming of age story as a disabled queer femme of color. It especially explores their abusive childhood, which led Leah Lakshmi to run away to Canada in 1996. There, she discovered a whole new world full of queer anarchopunk love and revolution.
Like a Boy But Not a Boy: Navigating Life, Mental Health, and Parenthood Outside the Gender Binary by Andrea Bennett
Last but not least comes andrea bennet’s beautiful memoir. It’s told through 14 essays that explore mental illness, creativity, mortality, faith, the gender binary, and parenthood — among other topics. In the end, it’s all a story about acceptance. Both from others and from ourselves. The cherry on top of the cake is that these essays are mixed with interviews of other queer millennials who also tell you their life story, making for a unique and intimate reading experience.
Looking for more LGBTQ+ reads? Head over to our archives to find all kinds of bookish content! You can also check out some amazing graphic memoirs by trans authors, or a list of great nonbinary and genderqueer writers.