Dad, Mom and Gender

Original title:Papà, mamma e gender

By: Marzano M.

First published in Italy: UTET, 2015

Genere: Non-fiction

Overview: The author explains the genesis and implications of the idea of gender and, without ever denying her Catholic roots, deconstructs the readings that many religious associations give it today. At the center of the fierce debate is the so-called “gender theory”. On the one hand, supporters feel all the injustice of a society in which a person can still be considered inferior because of differences in sexual orientation, sex, gender identity. On the other hand, opponents see the theory as a dangerous moral drift, an attempt to undermine fundamental values of human living. It is an issue on which there is, as Cardinal Martini used to say, a “conflict of interpretations” because it has to do with “the dark caverns, the impenetrable labyrinths” within each one of us.

The Danish Girl

Original title: The Danish Girl

By: Ebershoff D.

First published in Italy: Guanda, 2001

Genere: Novel

Overview: Based on a true story, the novel tells of two artists: Greta and Einar, her teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts. The two get married and devote their lives to painting, against the backdrop of Copenhagen in the 1920s. When Einar poses for his wife dressed as a woman to help her finish a portrait of a friend, an identity crisis ensues. It will lead him to want to undergo gender-affirming surgery to eventually become a woman.

Notes: The novel inspired the movie The Danish Girl (2015).

In the Darkroom

Original title: Nella camera oscura

By: Faludi S.

First published in Italy: La nave di Teseo, 2019

Genere: Fiction

Overview: The author's investigation into the subject of identity in the modern world takes on personal overtones when she discovers that her 76 years old father — now a stranger living in Hungary — has had sex reassignment surgery. How was this new parent who claimed to be “a true woman” connected to the abusive, silent, angry father she had known, the photographer who had built an entire career on photo forgery? In a journey back into the recesses of her childhood and a whole generation, through Hungary and a labyrinth of obscure stories, Susan Faludi pursues an identity quest that frames a century: across historical, political, religious, and gender boundaries, it poses the question of an era: is identity chosen or is it something from which one cannot escape?

Notes: The author is a Pulitzer Prize winner for Nonfiction.

The Dawn of the Bad Transgender Women. Stories, Gazes, and Experiences of my Transgender Generation

Original title: L'aurora delle trans cattive. Storie, sguardi e vissuti della mia generazione transgender 

By: Marcasciano P.

First published in Italy: Alegre, 2018

Genere: Biography

Overview: Around forty years of Italian history, with its profound sociopolitical changes, is narrated through the stories of legendary transgender figures. Porpora is both a protagonist and a witness. She sheds light on the reasons for a world whose dramatic style seemed, sometimes, an obliged choice since transgender people have long been excluded from a real life. Theirs is a hard life, characterized by the absence of recognition or rights, which favors illegality and prostitution. The anecdotes, myths, and “scandalous” stories that Porpora ironically narrates as if they were fairy tales, are intertwined with reflections on collective consciousness, the birth of MIT (Movement for Trans Identity) and legal recognition with law 164 of 1982. Porpora recovers the original transgender epic to claim the extraordinary journey of people who, though persecuted and wounded in their human dignity, have had the strength to change things, demand their rights, and do so without hiding.

Daytime. Transsexuality as an Object of Discrimination

Original title: Diurna. La transessualità come oggetto di discriminazione 

By: Romano M.

First published in Italy: Costa & Nolan, 2008

Genere: Non-fiction

Overview: Transgender people live a condition of marginalization in all social environments up to total exclusion in family, school, work, and social relationships. Written by someone with personal experience, this essay analyzes the causes of this process and proposes solutions to promote emancipation and integration in Italy. The book contains a series of direct testimonies, from the present and the past (the classical era, the Renaissance, Native Americans, Nazi Germany…), underlining the historical dimension of the process. A phenomenon that has unfortunately been “discouraged” and hindered by Westernization and modernization. In particular, Monica Romano dwells on marginalization in the world of labour, and the anti-discriminatory regulations that are often absent from national labour agreements.

Different from Whom?

Original title: Diverso da chi?

By: Lamedica L.

First published in Italy: Gruppo Albatros Il Filo, 2020

Genere: Novel

Overview: When he finds out about his daughter's transgenderism, Luigi feels lost, robbed of all his beliefs. He doesn't know how to handle the situation or how to help Roberta deal with it. The first great difficulty is getting used to his name - “Giorgio”- and resetting pronouns and adjectives to the masculine. A hindrance linked to form, which appears trifle, but is the prelude to other vicissitudes. Yes, because the problems do not lie so much in the small family unit as in the outside world, full of prejudices, futile moralizing and hypocrisy, separating the “normal” from the “different”. Luigi lays himself bare, confessing his limits and his difficulties, and in doing so, also exposing the inconsistencies and ugliness of society and the Church. The law does not contemplate words like “normal” and “different” and neither does a father’s heart.

Disrupted. Journey into Transgender Reality

Original title:Sconvolti. Viaggio nella realtà transgender

By: Dalle Luche C., Rosin R.

First published in Italy: Alpes Italia, 2017

Genere: Biography

Overview: Two stories, those of Andrea and Sara, to explain Gender Dysphoria. In addition to their biographies and a sort of “handbook”, the book also includes an educational path in line with the model of Functional Psychology and the ONIG (Italian National Observatory on Gender Identity) protocol.


Original title: Disforia

By: Belgrade V.

First published in Italy: Ensemble, 2020

Genere: Fiction

Overview: She is a girl like any other, but she doesn't have her period or a hint of breasts. Her name is Manfredi. Trying to find the causes for their gender dysphoria, Manfredi, 25 years old, goes back to his youth, adolescence, and childhood to observe the development of his sexual envelope. It is a sort of self-inquiry on his own biological conception, when, envelope within an envelope, birth seems to impose a given path on every life.