I’ve been kicking around a new writing project for a while now, and tracking down reference material about all aspects of MTF crossdressing. I’m casting the net wide, looking for sources of information that could be useful to all members of our community, whatever their age or situation and regardless of whether they’re a casual crossdresser who’s just starting out, someone who’s actively transitioning, or any point in between.

I began by looking for books on Amazon. As an approach, it wasn’t especially fruitful. Most of what’s there falls under the umbrella of what I’ll politely call “titillating fiction.” Hardly any of it helps the public perception of who we are.

I wasn’t really getting very far, so at the beginning of October 2023 I wrote a CDH forum post asking for help with unearthing suitable material. There was a good response, with members directing me towards a whole heap of stuff that I might not otherwise have found. Some books were still in print, or at least available second-hand through Amazon Marketplace. With others, I had to dig a bit deeper and search out copies on specialist book sites. And, of course, as so often happens when you start researching, each book pointed me towards other references, which pointed me towards even more…

I’ll cut to the chase: I now have a small library of books about crossdressing.

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I know that there’s a lot more out there still to find, but I thought that I should collate some of the most useful sources for others to browse through. I’ve grouped these into sections, partly because a straightforward list would be overwhelming but also to direct readers to things of more specific interest to them and their circumstances. I’ve excluded a few titles which, when they arrived, proved to be truly awful.

I’ve also excluded ALL fiction. There’s a tremendous amount of that out there, and it would fill many, many bookshelves. Some of it is awful; some of it is rather good. All of it is easy to find without my help. If that’s your thing (and why not?), you have many happy hours of reading ahead of you. 

Personal crossdressing stories 

A surprising number of books fall into this category. I’ve chosen those that are particularly well-written and/or those that offer especially good insights. If you want something that you can dip into, “Head over Heels” is a collection of 30 separate accounts by the wives of crossdressers. If you’re after something to connect with on a personal level then “What It Feels Like for a Girl” and “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl” are both totally wonderful.

If you’ve come out to your wife, then having “Living with Crossdressing” and “My Husband Betty” available for her could be helpful. Both were written specifically to help couples. The first is by an MTF crossdresser and the second is by the wife of one. Taken together, they cover most of the bases. They’re ‘warts and all’ though, so make sure that you read them yourself first. Although Heidi Hansen’s book is often touted as recommended reading for SO’s, I personally would avoid it for that purpose. It doesn’t always present the husband in a particularly favourable light.

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Boyd, Helen (2003). My Husband Betty: Love, Sex and Life with a Crossdresser. Seal Press. 

Boyd, Helen (2007). She’s Not the Man I Married: My Life With A Transgender Husband. Seal Press. 

Erhardt, Virginia (2007). Head Over Heels: Wives who stay with cross-dressers and transexuals. Routledge.

Hansen, Heidi (2023). Alice in Genderland: one wife’s journey with her transgendered husband. H3 Press.

Hauk, Savannah (2017). Living with Crossdressing: Defining a New Normal. Self-published.

Jones, Wendy (2006). Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl. Vintage Books.

Lees, Paris (2021). What it feels like for a girl. Particular Books.

Novic, Richard J. (2005). Alice in Genderland. iUniverse.

Wylde, Vera (2018). Skirting gender. Nathaniel Wayne.

 General advice for crossdressers 

I was keen to discover whether there were any books of general advice for crossdressers – the kind that would cover the most commonly asked queries posted on the CDH Forums. You know the sort of thing: “What’s the best way to shave my legs?” “Where can I buy big shoes?” and, at the more serious end, “How do I come out to friends and family?”

Several such books have been written. The best, in my opinion, is “The Lazy Crossdresser.” It’s genuinely helpful, and it’s laugh-out-loud funny. It’s wonderful at giving advice on makeup, clothes, and body image. “Out & About—The Emancipated Crossdresser” is also well worth a read, as is “Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want To Be Girls” and its sequel “Miss Vera’s Cross-Dress for Success.”. With the advent of online publishing, a few other short books have appeared on Kindle (e.g. Olson, 2012, 2014, and 2015).

EnFemme Style

However, all of these cover much the same ground and none of them answer all the questions that a crossdresser might have. Crossdresser Heaven is excellent for that of course, but if the powers that be allow it, I’d also like to write a separate article that directs people to the best websites and blogs available. There’s a huge amount of incredibly useful information out there … but it can be difficult to know where to start.

Anders, Charles (2002). The Lazy Crossdresser. Greenery Press.

Hauk, Savannah (2019). Living with Crossdressing: Discovering Your True Identity. Self-published.

Leigh, Lacey (2001). Out and About—The Emancipated Crossdresser. Binary Star Press.

Olson, Carollyn (2012). Tricks of the Trade—A Beginner’s Guide to Crossdressing. Kindle eBook.

Olson, Carollyn (2014). More Tricks of the Trade—A Beginner’s Guide to Crossdressing. Kindle eBook.

Olson, Carollyn (2015). Even More Tricks of the Trade—A Beginner’s Guide to Crossdressing. Kindle eBook.

Vera, Veronica (1997). Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want To Be Girls. Main Street Books.

Vera, Veronica (2002). Miss Vera’s Cross-Dress For Success. Villard.

Specifically for teens 

This section covers advice books for teenagers, but that shouldn’t be a barrier to adult readers. Because of the audience, the authors explain complex ideas in a very straightforward and understandable way. The “Trans Teen Survival Guide” is actually breathtakingly good. Whatever your age, if you’re trans (or even think that you might be) then I recommend that you buy a copy. The chapters on Telling the World (or Not), Being You (Whoever That Is), and Dysphoria: The Monster is worth the purchase price alone. 

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Dawson, Juno (2017). The Gender Games. Two Roads.

Dawson, Juno (2021). What’s the T? Wren and Rook.

Fisher, Owl & Fox (2019). Trans Teen Survival Guide. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Gender identity 

Published information about gender identity is becoming increasingly easy to find, but the books aren’t always an easy read. Kate Bornstein’s book is an exception… and I managed to find a signed copy! The others are worth persevering with if you have an interest in this area. 

Bornstein, Kate (1995). Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us. Vintage.

Bullough, Bonnie, Bullough, Vern L & Elias, James (1997). Gender Blending. Prometheus Books.

Iantaffi, Ale & Barker, Meg-John (2018). How to Understand Your Gender. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Transitioning 

I couldn’t put a booklist together without including some on MTF transitioning. There are many, and the number is growing. All of them are welcome. These are among the best. 

Boedecker, Anne L. (2011). The Transgender Guidebook; Keys to a Successful Transition. Self-published.

Celentano, Jillian (2021). Transitioning later in Life: A Personal Guide. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Koch, Anne L. (2019). It Never Goes Away: Gender Transition at a Mature Age. Rutgers University Press.

Zhikhareva, Natalia P. (2023). On Your Terms: Gender Transition Redefined for Adults. Self-published.

Transgender history 

Transgender rights and attitudes to crossdressers are very much in the news. If you want to understand where we are now, it’s important to know where we’ve come from. This selection of titles will help with that. UK readers shouldn’t be put off by the fact that Susan Stryker’s book covers only the US. It’s still essential reading. 

Faye, Shon (2021). The Transgender Issue: An Argument for Justice. Penguin.

Feinberg, Leslie (1996). Transgender Warriors. Beacon Press.

Heyam, Kit (2022). Before We Were Trans: A History of Gender. Basic Books.

Stryker, Susan (2017). Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution (second edition). Seal Press. 

General academic texts

If you want to do some more in-depth reading, there’s a great deal of material available. Some of it is SUCH heavy going that it isn’t really suitable for a general audience, but I’ve found much of interest in the following selections. None is the sort of book to relax on the beach with, but each of them is fascinating.

Bullough, Vern L. & Bullough, Bonnie (1993). Cross Dressing, Sex and Gender. PENN (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Cremin, Ciara (2017). Man-made Woman: The Dialectics of Cross-dressing. Pluto Press.

Cremin, Ciara (2021). The Future is Feminine: Capitalism and the Masculine Disorder. Bloomsbury Academic.

 

So, there you have it!

This represents just a small selection of what’s available. Believe me, I have a LOT of other stuff now, but I’ve been selective in order to keep the article short. I hope that I‘ve included something for everyone, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who responded to my original forum post; honestly, it was so helpful.

Please contact me if you want more information about anything I’ve mentioned. And … happy reading!

Ellie

EnFemme

 

 

More Articles by Ellie Davis

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    Lea Foster
    Lady
    Member
    22 days ago

    Thank you for compiling these lists Ellie. I haven’t read many books on cross dressing, only psychological articles which tend toward the pathological. 😃. I will get some of the books you recommended. One book missing is a rare one to find which is maybe why it was not included is called A year Among the Girls, by a NY MD who is mentioned in Casa Suzanna. Speaking of films, I’ve been watching films about trans and cross dressers in the past year. There seem to be hundreds of them, not all great, but maybe a list of films will… Read more »

    Clarissa Cross
    Lady
    Active Member
    21 days ago
    Reply to  Ellie Davis

    @Ellie Davis Just found it on amazon, alas no pricing.

    Clarissa Cross
    Lady
    Active Member
    21 days ago
    Reply to  Ellie Davis

    the book: Casa Susanna are available at amazon, used but almost like new for $70

    Judy Bootz
    Lady
    22 days ago

    Hi any ladies from California, Los Angeles, Hollywood?

    Nikki Just Nikki
    Lady
    Member
    19 days ago

    @Ellie Davis I just got a Kindle as an early Valentine’s present and loaded it up with a bunch of these… well, the ones I haven’t read yet!
    Thanks for putting this amazing resource together, Ellie! You’re the best!

    Chelly S.
    Lady
    Member
    19 days ago

    @Ellie Davis
    Savannah Hauk  Living with Crossdressing
    I thought this was a great book. I’ve also watched her TED talks and a few interviews she has on YouTube. I’ll have to check some of the others out.

    Helene van der Tee
    Lady
    Active Member
    5 days ago

    Thanks for compiling this list. My local library has whats called the ‘Pink Section’. Its full of books for the LGB and Transexual part of the community but was missing anything informative for crossdressers, their partners or others who identify on that wavelength. I selected quite a few titles on you list and submitted them to the libraries buyers and have been informed that a budget has been allocated and the books will be ordered. I am absolutely wrapped. I need them for educational purposes as I will be giving short talks in high Schools about discrimination within the TS/TG/CD… Read more »

    Missy Mathiasen
    Lady
    Member
    5 days ago

    @Ellie Davis – Thank you for putting in the time to write this.
     
    Missy

    Alli Katz
    Lady
    Active Member
    5 days ago

    @Ellie Davis What a wonderful piece of research Ellie! Impeccably referenced as well! I shall have to dig into some of these. I also enjoy reading Grayson Perry’s musings on his transvestism and a couple of his books and interviews address those. I’m also interested in the academic literature on the subject – Ray Blanchard’s thoughts chime with many of my feelings, although I’m aware they are controversial in some quarters. I came across a study of Australian women who’d lived with cross-dressing partners although it didn’t make encouraging reading. However, this, I’m sure, is an area of research with… Read more »

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