The Chrysalis and the Lantanas: Diary of a Cisgender Man

Original title: La Crisalide e le Lantane: Diario di un uomo cisgender

By: Caracò A.

First published in Italy: PM Editions, 2021

Genere: Photography

Overview: An intimate journey of a cisgender photographer, motivated to get to know some individual, daily life aspects of eleven people, five transgender women, five transgender men and one non-binary person. The only thing they have in common is Sicily, where they live, otherwise they are profoundly different from one another. Avarino Caracò recounts the details of his meeting with these people, without hiding the difficulties and the deep emotions that are triggered within the relationships created. Against every stereotype, against every morbidly sexualized vision of gender identity, the visual path of this book emphasizes the elements of everyday life, accompanying us towards a deep reflection on “normality” and existence. The story is brought out by the delicacy of the images, which discretely support the beauty of the protagonists.


Original title: Cinzia

By: Ortolani L. 

First published in Italy: Bao Publishing, 2018

Genere: Comic Book and Graphic Novel

Overview: Cinzia Otherside is perhaps the most beloved character of the “Rat-Man” saga, a comic strip created and drawn by Leo Ortolani. Cinzia, a platinum blond transgender mail carrier, is madly in unrequited love with Rat-Man, the superhero of the “city with no name”.
Thanks to his creation’s popularity, Ortolani gave Cinzia a story of her own. This time Cinzia has a crush on Thomas, an activist of a fundamentalist association, sworn enemy of gender ideology and homosexuality. Another of Cinzia's dead-end stories. But in the end, love triumphs, even if only for a few moments, and it is Cinzia who comes out the winner, with her desire to always remain herself, strong in her irrepressible feelings. “Cinzia”, after all, is an excuse to reflect on differences, on a normality no one has ever been able to define unequivocally. Readers are faced with two different visions of the transgender world: the one of those directly involved, the other of those who have only seen it from the outside, never getting to know its often complex and delicate implications. It is Cinzia herself who explains this to the reader, with facts and words. During the narration we find her looking for a job, for love, for her place in the world. Hers are difficult circumstances, between rejections and a sense of inadequacy in everyday life and in her relationships with people.


Original title: Clean

By: Dawson J.

First published in Italy: Newton Compton Publishers, 2018 

Genere: Romance

Overview: The subtitle on the cover sums up the book perfectly: “It’s a dirty business getting clean”. The plot, in fact, centers on a love story in a luxurious rehabilitation facility. 

The Countess. The scandalous Life of Giò Stajano

Original title: La Contessa. La scandalosa vita di Giò Stajano

By: Ciacci G.

First published in Italy: Salani, 2018

Genere: Biography

Overview: The book is a fictional reconstruction of the life story of Giò Stajano, aka “the Countess”, a censored writer, actor, painter, star of spicy photo novels, and lay nun. Stajano was one of the first gays to come out in Italian history, and one of the first transgender persons known to gossip columns. Her life was characterized by the search for both scandals and freedom. The novel recounts her extraordinary life, drawing from true anecdotes, and inventing some very probable ones. In the background is the history of Italian customs in the second half of the 20th century.

The Courage to Be a Butterfly

Original title: Il coraggio di essere una farfalla

By: Luxuria V., Genovese S.

First published in Italy: Edizioni Piemme, 2017

Genere: Biography, non-fiction

Overview: A subtle and provocative text that invites the reader to expand the meaning of “transition” making all of us trans persons: “You'll be a Trans too! We all transition in this world, we're just passing through. We are born, we die, maybe we are reincarnated… who knows? The only certainty is that we are not immortal and what we call life is nothing but a transit within the time of a dream”. 


Original title: Crossing

By: Statovci P.

First published in Italy: Sellerio, 2020

Genere: Novel

Overview: A boy who knows how to become a woman: his name is Bujar, and he can be a young Sarajevo girl courted by men of all ages or a charming Spaniard who makes girls fall in love with him without giving himself away. Bujar continually invents himself and his story. He is like an impostor who owns the fragments he steals from others, the past of the people he has loved, their names. He can choose who he wants to be, the country he comes from, the details of his existence, simply while talking about himself to a friend or a stranger. It is the narration of a life spent traveling and fleeing, from Albania to America, passing through Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Helsinki. In his words, “Nobody has to remain the person they were born; we can put ourselves together like a jigsaw”.

Notes: “Crossing” was translated into many languages and won the Toisinkoinen Literature Prize in 2016, as well as the Helsinki Writer of the Year Award in 2018.