Celebrating Pride Month

Highlighting a collection of books on gender theory and transgender experiences for Pride Month

2023 has marked yet another year of growing attacks against trangender people and trans rights—from infringements on gender-affirming care to protests against trans visibility in the media

At the MIT Press, a critical part of our mission is providing wide access to scholarship and combatting disinformation, especially in times of uncertainty and inequity. For Pride Month 2023, we are spotlighting transgender experiences, gender theory, and stories of trans joy. Read our collection below, and discover more books on and by the LGBTQIA+ community from the MIT Press.

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The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist by Ben Barres

Ben Barres was known for his groundbreaking scientific work and for his groundbreaking advocacy for gender equality in science. In this book, completed shortly before his death from pancreatic cancer in December 2017, Barres (born in 1954) describes a life full of remarkable accomplishments—from his childhood as a precocious math and science whiz to his experiences as a female student at MIT in the 1970s to his female-to-male transition in his forties, to his scientific work and role as teacher and mentor at Stanford.

“His candor and love for science transform the ensuing story into a portrait of a singular personality that was shaped by his status as an outsider.” —Science

Gender(s) by Kathryn Bond Stockton

In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Kathryn Bond Stockton explores the fascinating, fraught, intimate, morphing matter of gender. Stockton argues for gender’s strangeness, no matter how “normal” the concept seems; gender is queer for everyone, she claims, even when it’s played quite straight. And she explains how race and money dramatically shape everybody’s gender, even in sometimes surprising ways. Playful but serious, erudite and witty, Stockton marshals an impressive array of exhibits to consider, including dolls and their new gendering, the thrust of Jane Austen and Lil Nas X, gender identities according to women’s colleges, gay and transgender ballroom scenes, and much more.

“Stockton presents an accessible, witty and contemporary examination of the true queerness of genders and gendering.” —Ms.

Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

Queer, cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, androgynous, maverique, intergender, genderfluid. Louie and their cat (a.k.a. “Cat”) take you on a journey through the world of gender—without claiming to have it all figured out or knowing the perfect definition for this widely complex subject. Gender is tricky to understand because it’s a social construct intersecting with many other parts of our identity, including class, race, age, religion. For a long time, people thought of gender as binary: male/female, pirate/princess, sports/shopping. Now, we’re starting to understand it’s not that simple. That’s what this book is about: figuring out what gender means, one human being at a time, and giving us new ways to let the world know who we are.

“Rethinking Gender is a simple, friendly introduction that demystifies gender with real-world illustrations from a wide range of people. A perfect book for anybody who wants to explore their own gender, or to explain gender to others.” —Meg-John Barker, author of Gender: A Graphic Guide

Forthcoming: Dis…Miss Gender? edited by Anne Bray

Discuss. Discover. Disrupt. We dis- a lot in English, particularly with regard to women and queer people. Our understanding of gender is changing, and with it, so are our questions. Dis…Miss Gender? provides thoughtfully considered contributions from an intrepid group of a hundred artists and writers who explore contemporary concepts of gender. Anchored by lavish illustrations and original essays from prominent gender theorists, including Karen Tongson, Amelia Jones, and Tiffany E. Barber, plus commentary from artists, viewers, and organizations committed to equity and justice, this provocative book is the culmination of a five-year initiative by Anne Bray.

“If you wonder what today’s gender bending is all about, this mix of art, activism, manifesto, confrontation, and celebration will keep you spellbound with every gorgeous page.” —Suzanne Lacy, Roski School of Art and Design, University of Southern California

Explore more LGBTQIA+ books from the MIT Press