Wednesday, March 4, 2015

27th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced

The 27th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists were announced to day. This is usually a day of celebration, where I go crazy buying up new titles to read but, to be perfectly honest, I'm finding myself a little underwhelmed. While there are some deserving titles on the list, there aren't a lot of new titles that really excite me.

Even worse, there are a ton of worthy titles that didn't make the cut - including literally every title I read for last year's Rainbow Awards, which is really quite shocking.

Not to take anything away from the finalists, I just think there were a lot of missed opportunities this year. Take a gander at the trans* titles that made the cut and see what catches your interest.


Everything Must Go by La JohnJoseph
In a future-queer world of magically changing locations, perversely transformed historical figures and oodles of spatter-violence, an intersexual teen mother describes her road trip with a cast of surreal travel buddies. The goal of her final destination: unleashing the Apocalypse.

♥ For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name juan chaun, meaning powerful king. He is the exalted only son in a family of daughters; the one who will finally fulfill his father’s dreams of western masculinity. But Peter has different dreams: he knows that he is a girl.

♥ Moving Forward Sideways like a Crab by Shani Mootoo
Jonathan Lewis-Adey was nine when his parents, who were raising him in a tree-lined Toronto neighbourhood, separated and his mother, Sid, vanished from his life. It was not until he was a grown man, and a promising writer with two books to his name, that Jonathan finally reconnected with his beloved parent—only to find, to his shock and dismay, that the woman he’d known as “Sid” had morphed into an elegant, courtly man named Sydney.

♥ Revolutionary: A Novel by Alex Myers
“A remarkable novel” (The New York Times) about America’s first female soldier, Deborah Sampson Gannett, who ran away from home in 1782, successfully disguised herself as a man, and fought valiantly in the Revolutionary War.

♥ A Safe Girl To Love by Casey Plett
- Eleven unique short stories that stretch from a rural Canadian Mennonite town to a hipster gay bar in Brooklyn, featuring young trans women stumbling through loss, sex, harassment, and love.

Everything Must Go is the one title here I will pick up, and I've had For Today I Am a Boy waiting for a review longer than I care to admit, but no Breaking Free by Cat Grant, no Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin, and no Blurred Lines edited by Kathleen Tudor? That's just criminal.


♥ Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man by Thomas Page
What does it really mean to be a man? 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 tells us how a brush with violence sent him on the quest to untangle a sinister past, and freed him to become the man he was meant to be.

♥ Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love and So Much More by Janet Mock
In this New York Times bestseller—the first transgender memoir written by an African American—an extraordinary young woman recounts her coming-of-age. “Undercurrents of strong emotion swirl throughout this well-written book…An enlightening, much-needed perspective on transgender identity”

♥ Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community by Laura Erickson-Schroth
There is no one way to be transgender. Transgender and gender non-conforming people have many different ways of understanding their gender identities. Only recently have sex and gender been thought of as separate concepts, and we have learned that sex (traditionally thought of as physical or biological) is as variable as gender (traditionally thought of as social).

I really hope Janet Mock wins this one, but where is Men Can Wear Dresses Too by Catie Maye?


♥ Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference

♥ Double Exposure by Bridget Birdsall
Fifteen-year-old Alyx Atlas was raised as a boy, yet she knows something others don’t. She’s a girl. And after her dad dies, it becomes painfully obvious that she must prove it now—to herself and to the world. Born with ambiguous genitalia, Alyx has always felt a little different. But it’s after she sustains a terrible beating behind a 7-Eleven that she and her mother pack up their belongings and move from California to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to start a new life—and Alyx begins over again, this time as a girl.

A couple of interesting trans* titles in the mix here, and I'm really curious about Double Exposure, but I can't believe Cevin's Deadly Sin by Sally Bosco didn't make the list.


♥ Queen for a Day: Transformistas, Beauty Queens, and the Performance of Femininity in Venezuela by Marcia Ochoa (LGBT STUDIES)
- Queen for a Day connects the logic of Venezuelan modernity with the production of a national femininity. In this ethnography, Marcia Ochoa considers how femininities are produced, performed, and consumed in the mass-media spectacles of international beauty pageants, on the runways of the Miss Venezuela contest, on the well-traveled Caracas avenue where transgender women (transformistas) project themselves into the urban imaginary, and on the bodies of both transformistas and beauty pageant contestants (misses). Placing transformistas and misses in the same analytic frame enables Ochoa to delve deeply into complex questions of media and spectacle, gender and sexuality, race and class, and self-fashioning and identity in Venezuela.

♥ The Transgender Archives: Foundations for the Future by Aaron H. Devor (LGBT NONFICTION)
The University of Victoria has committed itself to the preservation of the history of pioneering activists, community leaders, and researchers who have contributed to the betterment of transgender people. The UVic Archives have been actively acquiring documents, rare publications, and memorabilia of persons and organizations associated with transgender activism since 2007.

♥ Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone (LGBT SF/F/HORROR)
On the island of Kavekana, Kai builds gods to order, then hands them to others to maintain. Her creations aren’t conscious and lack their own wills and voices, but they accept sacrifices, and protect their worshippers from other gods—perfect vehicles for Craftsmen and Craftswomen operating in the divinely controlled Old World.

I'll admit, I am fascinated by Queen for a Day, and Full Fathom Five has been on my radar ever since I was told it had a significant transgender character, but it's a shame Transgender Lives: Complex Stories, Complex Voices by Kirstin Cronn-Mills didn't make it into Studies or Nonfiction.


  1. I submitted my trans* novel to the Rainbow Awards and got zilch. *shrug* Maybe I'm not as good a writer as I thought, eh?

    1. That's a shame, hon. I read a dozen submissions for last year's Rainbow Awards in the bisexual and transgender categories, but yours wasn't one of them. If you're ever looking for a review, just let us know. :)