Further Fiction Reading: Gender Fluidity & Varied Sexual Identities (books like The 5th Gender)

Today I tackle my failings for you.

First an important statement:

Dearest Gentle Reader,

If you see yourself in one of my characters, that character is for you. Whether explicitly stated or not. Whether described that way or not. I don’t write my books for me, I write them for you. You should take from them whatever solace you need. I don’t feel like they are trivialized or diminished by this, I feel like this is what makes fiction magic.

And now…

Miss Gail where are your Ace or Grey or Demi or Other Queer Characters?

How about a disabled characters?

What about Pan or Poly?

How about neurodiversity ?

Where is your OCD lesbian gender-fluid butch jaguar gynecologist from Peru, on a motorcycle?

I’m doing my best but even I can’t catch them all, as it were. (Although that jaguar sounds fun.)

I will keep writing lots of queer characters, I promise, but in the meantime…

Here’s a sample some fun romantic or sexy (not too serious) books with main characters that straddle the divides that I do not – so to speak. Oh and happy endings. ALWAYS.

I’m specifically going for a lighter tone, since that’s what I like to read (although a few of these are a touch dark they always end happily). For Your Enjoyment!

13 Contemporary Romances

  1. Squared Away by Annabeth Albert (ace, gay)
  2. Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews (hearing impaired, May/December, gay)
  3. Only See You by JD Chambers (nonbinary/they)
  4. For Better or Worse by R. Cooper (grey, gay)
  5. The Mating of Michael by Eli Easton (physically disabled, sexwork, gay)
  6. The Trouble with Tony by Eli Easton (demi, gay)
  7. That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert (het woman in her 40s + younger demi man)
  8. The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye (blind, gay)
  9. A Touch of Love by Sheryl Lister (hearing loss, het)
  10. Under His Stiletto by KA Merikan (crossdresser BDSM gay)
  11. Tea by Matthew J. Metzger (disability, self esteem body pos, gay) (Jay’s Review)
  12. Mud & Lace by Jay Northcote (discovery bi meets discovery gender fluid)
  13. Upside Down by N.R. Walker (ace/ace, gay) (Jay’s Review)

2 Historical Romances

  1. The Doctor’s Discretion by EE Ottoman (bit of everything)
  2. Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian (gender fluid)

11 Fantasy/PNR/UF

  1. A Dance of Water and Air by Antonia Aquilante (trans, demi, fantasy)
  2. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (political fantasy, BDSM, pan, poly) trigger warnings, rape & abuse
  3. My Man Godric and A Little Familiar by R Cooper (paranormal romance & fantasy, cross dressing, gender fluid, ) lots of Cooper’s stuff could appear in this blog post
  4. Bearly A Lady by Cassandra Khaw (paranormal, bi)
  5. A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows by Mercedes Lackey (urban fantasy, sweet, bi, poly) off screen triggers, no digital edition (my review)
  6. Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane (fairy tale, disfigurement, gay) trigger warning, rape (my review)
  7. Sundown, Holiday, Beacon by K.L. Noone features 3 superheroes in lurve plus lots of comfort sex & lasagna after missions (poly, gay)
  8. Sea Lover by J.K. Pendragon (trans meets merman)

And lists from others on this one:

Won’t Someone Think of the Children!?

  1. The Bride Was a Boy by Chii, an almost memoir manga of love and transition that manages to be entertaining, happy, and sweet but ALSO extremely informative. Highly recommended for those who might be questioning their own gender identity, but also family and friends of anyone transitioning who need a window of understanding.
  2. Dreadnaught by April Daniels (YA) – Superhero featuring a trans main character. Everyone keeps telling me how brilliant it is and the reviews confirm.
  3. Claire Kann writes LBGTQ+ rom com for the YA audience, try Let’s Talk About Love featuring and ace main character obsessed with pop culture.
  4. Having Her Back by Ann Gallagher (YA sweet romance, trans) – A sweet first love YA about a boy whose best friend cuts him off unexpectedly for years, and when they meet again that friend is now a girl. They fall in love. It’s adorable and complex and gentle but also quintessentially YA in that it is the adults who often make mistakes, and the kids must learn to see their parents as fallible. No major triggers and yet it deals deftly with some very complex issues.
  5. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe (graphic novel)
  6. Not Your Sidekick and other books in CB Lee’s series (YA queer superheroes), own voices author. Not Your Backup features and ace/aero character!
  7. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (YA)
    This is a fantastical atmospheric fable featuring varied sexual identity, own voices author.
  8. Cinderella Boy by Kristina Meister – I stayed up WAY too late reading this one. It reminded me not so much of Cinderella as it did Pump Up the Volume. The charming story of a young teen who goes to a party dressed as a girl and the boy who falls in love with him. It’s touching and sweet, high angst, kick butt, and utterly adorable. Deals gently with themes of honesty and identity in terms of both gender fluidity and bisexuality as well as standing up to bullies and fighting for queer rights.
  9. It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn (children’s picture book)

Since I read a lot of gay romance, and I vetted these myself, you can tell my recommendations are skewed. Please feel free to submit your own in comments but remember I’m PICKY. I don’t read: Hero’s Journey, rape, abusive/stalker Alphas, explicit violence, sad endings, etc…

Gail Carriger’s Reading Wheelhouse: What I Hate, What Turns Me Off, What I Won’t Read in BOOKS!

Resource Articles

More resources from when I was researching gender fluidity for The 5th Gender:

Researching Gender Fluidity & Representing it in Fiction

Resource Books

More Queer Goodness Reading Lists

Queer fantasy & sci-fi lists from me:

10+ Great Queer Cozy SciFi (books similar to the Tinkered Stars)

9 Favorite Queer Fantasy Books


Finally I am going to throw this AMAZING movie into the mix. I just love it so much…

Boy Meets Girl is a sweet charming contemporary romance, adorable and fun and so lovely. And yes one of the characters is trans but that’s only part of it. If you hesitate about anything around trans identity, please watch this movie.

Honestly it’s so good, it will leave you with warm fuzzies, I promise. And here’s :

13 Fascinating Movies That Celebrate the Richness of the Transgender Experience

Yours, bathed in alternatives,

Miss Gail

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Inspiration for this post!

The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

Preorder on Amazon | Elsewhere | Direct from Gail
Audio is coming. 

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Cat Rescued From Garbage Disposal – one of the funniest stories ever.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.” 

~ Madeleine L’Engle

Quote of the Day:

Gail: I think I put too much garlic in the mashed potatoes.
AB: No such thing.
G: It’s like 1/3 potato, 1/3 butter, 1/3 garlic
AB: Nothing is wrong with this.

~ Self on Twitter

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