Trans Reads is an ambitious project created by and for transgender people to openly access writing related to our communities. We believe education should be free and writing shouldn’t be behind a paywall. Transreads.org provides the opportunity to access, discuss, and distribute texts for free.
If you’re looking for books, chapters, texts, essays, or articles by, for, or about people who transverse or transcend western gender norms, you’re in the right place!
Trans Reads was formed through the work, consulting, and creativity of an anonymous group of trans people of various genders and races around the U.S. involved in organizing, academia, and trans liberation efforts. Trans Reads was launched in 2019 following increasing violence against trans people alongside the lack of accessible resources for trans people to learn about our own community.
There is a serious barrier for most trans people accessing content from our community. Trans people on average have less disposable income, time to read and purchase literature, and knowledge of the available texts. We created Trans Reads to address this problem directly. We offer the largest collection of free trans texts on the internet.
Trans Reads is almost entirely generated through user content. By uploading, you can help a trans teen in a rural area learn about other girls like her. You could help a trans student who can’t afford a textbook easily pass their class. You can even share your own writing with the world on an easy-to-use platform exclusively for trans content. You can help grow our collection on our upload page. If you are interested in helping us upload texts for our collection, you can reach out on our contact page.
We are faced with the common ethical question about hurting the sales of trans authors. However, the largest ever study on piracy actually found that the piracy of copyrighted books, music, video games, and movies has no effect on sales. In the case of video games, piracy actually helped sales. As far back as 2002, we can see piracy boosting sales of media. Trans Reads strongly encourages you to purchase the books that you enjoy here or find other ways to support the author.
Academic authors rarely – if ever – see income from sales of their books, articles, or chapters. Most want to remove the paywalls withholding their content. Trans Reads is open to collaborating with authors, publishers, and journals on making this a possibility through our website.
In 2014, Leslie Feinberg published the 20th-anniversary edition of Stone Butch Blues, one of the most influential works of transgender literature. The novel was a way for trans, gender nonconforming, and queer people to realize ourselves. It told us we aren’t alone. However, when the publisher went bankrupt, Leslie had to struggle to regain ownership over hir own novel.
“I had to work to recover my rights to Stone Butch Blues. When the first publisher went into Chapter 11 court, I had to spend thousands of dollars of my wages on legal fees to recover the right to this novel… While very ill in Spring 2012, I recovered my rights again.”
Ze didn’t want the book to be released as a film adaptation exploiting hir story for straight fantasies. Ze also used the opportunity to make the book more accessible. First editions shot up into hundreds of dollars. The least expensive print versions are still over $30 on Amazon. This simply isn’t affordable to most queer and trans people. The fight ended with Leslie publishing hir novel on hir website as a PDF, a strategy of reclaiming transgender narratives from greedy publishes by collective ownership of the text.
Trans Reads is dedicated to the memory of Leslie and all those who feel alone. Most individuals don’t have institutional access and cannot afford to pay for texts. Transreads.org allows visitors to effortlessly read texts by, for, or related to trans people online for free as PDFs. Trans Reads is the space where anyone can easily discuss, add, or download trans content.
This project is intended to foster discussion around the current state of learning. We refuse paywalls and withholding education. Trans Reads provides the opportunity to access, discuss, and distribute texts related to our community on its website in a matter of seconds.
Knowledge, learning, and community must be de-commodified for our collective liberation. Take it from Leslie:
“And on the day those paper deeds of ownership are torn up, it won’t matter about protecting Stone Butch Blues anymore from commercial exploitation.”
Authors shouldn’t live in fear of their work being exploited or inaccessible. Trans Reads is just one small part of trans autonomy from corporate publishers. However, it is a necessary step toward engaging with our radical history, politics, and futures.
Click here to upload a text.