Sometimes, even I forget that I can do something.
On Monday, the Trans Rights Readathon came to a close. I’m over the moon to report that we raised $3,050 for Trans Lifeline, a trans-led nonprofit that provides peer support and microgrants for trans people.
30 donors, plus myself, pledged to either pay per book I read during that week or made a flat donation to my campaign. I read a total of 7 books by trans authors.
My book list:
❤️ The Unbalancing by RB Lemberg (fantasy)
🧡 Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier and Val Wise (YA romance comic)
💛 Heartwood: Non-binary Tales of Sylvan Fantasy, edited by Joamette Gil (YA fantasy comics)
💚 Your Body is Not Your Body: An Anthology, edited by Alex Woodroe and Matt Blairstone (horror short stories)
💙 Chef’s Kiss by TJ Alexander (contemporary romance)
💜 The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (literary fiction)
🖤 Whipping Girl by Julia Serano (nonfiction gender/queer studies)
The Trans Rights Readathon was a decentralized campaign kicked off by author Sim Kern, and anyone could join to read books by/about trans people and donate money to trans causes. Some people did campaigns like I did, and others just used it as a challenge to themselves to read more books by trans authors. Over 2,000 people signed up to participate as readers.
Kern then sent out a wrap-up survey, which accounted for 70% of the participants. The results: more than 7,000 trans books read, more than $200,000 raised for trans orgs, and ample traction on TikTok and Instagram.
Unfortunately, publishing sales data is locked away in a proprietary system called BookScan that publishers and retailers pay big money to access, and journalists and academics are barred from access. There’s no way to see how book sales were impacted beyond anecdotes by individual trans authors noting an increase in sales.
Many readers reported filling up their to-read lists with books by trans authors to read all year round!
This campaign couldn’t have come at a better time. There are 435 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in US state legislation, and most of them target trans people directly. I dread daily to see what heinousness has come to pass. These bills are all being pushed by the same lobbying groups, wealthy people, “Christian” white supremacists, and GOP politicians nationwide.
Living in Seattle and in Washington state insulates me personally from these attacks. We have laws enforcing health insurers to cover gender-affirming care and recently passed legislation to make name changing easier in WA (still needs Governor Inslee’s signature). Another bill to protect out-of-state people coming to WA state for reproductive and gender-affirming care is being debated as I write this. You can add your support.
The two anti-trans bills failed with zero fanfare in our current WA legislation session. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen book ban attempts and a drag story hour attack in towns less than 30 minutes from Seattle.
I still worry about the future, especially as I seek the care I need as a trans nonbinary person (and someone with a uterus). Sometimes, I forget that I can do something. Sometimes, the hateful voices seem louder, and I feel the panic I’ve carried since childhood when I was too often surrounded by those same hateful voices.
But the Trans Rights Readathon reminded me that people care and want to do something to support trans people. Thank you to everyone who helped restore a little of my hope.