Book Review Commentaries: ‘Proud’, Edited by Juno Dawson

I found this young adult book in a charity shop:

I decided to buy it out of curiousity because I like punishing myself. The possibility of doing a review of the themes in the book was in my mind when I purchased it, doing a kind of ‘The Lies They Tell’ thing (who does a good job attending these bizarre transgender Zoom/in person events and discussing them – check out her blog if you are interested in that kind of thing).

I am only going to comment on the introduction and on a couple of the stories in here. Some of them are actually just about homosexuality/bisexuality so we’re not going to do those, we are only going to comment a couple of the stories with transgender themes.


The introduction is written by young adult author Juno Dawson.

If you’re not aware, Juno Dawson is a trans-identified male who claimed that gay men just want to be women:

A lot of gay men are gay men as a consolation prize, because they couldn’t be women.

Juno Dawson

Why someone who makes such homophobic statements is editing a book about ‘pride’, of course, is rather odd.

Dawson claims that he had gender dysphoria at a young age, which as he is a gay man, could be true as this is true of many gay men who ‘transition’ (‘homosexual transsexuals’ in Blanchard’s terminology). That said, his claim to ‘continually’ be asking his parents when he would become a girl seems like retconning as his parents don’t seem to recall that, his mother bringing to mind only one instance:

They had assumed I was gay before I told them, whereas they didn’t expect this at all. Although, once my mum had dealt with the shock, she did say she probably should have seen it coming after I’d asked her, aged three, ‘Am I a girl?’


Dawson was subjected to homophobic bullying at school, I don’t know if this played into his obvious self-hatred as a gay man. It seems that Dawson is very interested in dating ‘straight’ men, so perhaps ‘transition’ is a mixture of self-hatred and sexual strategy for him:

But I couldn’t stop the “what if” thoughts. “If I was a girl I could do this, or go out with him.” 


The man he married also claims to be only interested in women.

Other than that there isn’t a lot else to say about it. He does, however, compare the media’s coverage of AIDS with the media criticising sterilising children at the Tavistock. What do you even do with that?

The Other Team

The first story I wanted to comment on was ‘The Other Team’ about the topical issue of ‘trans people in sport’ i.e. men dominating in women’s events such as Lia Thomas.

This story attempts to address this whole debate, but in such a way that makes it seem as if the whole issue is non threatening to women. Rather than making the story about a trans-identified male on the women’s sports teams, the story is instead about a trans-identified female playing on a men’s football [soccer] team. The story is also written by a trans-identified female, I am not sure if she identifies as a ‘gay man’ or not, although the main character of the story does.

Of course, as women are smaller and less athletic than men, this framing diffuses the entire aspect of threat to women (for example, that women playing rugby against men is inherently unsafe due to the high risk of injury). Men don’t face the same physical threat from women.

The plot of this short story goes as follows. A trans-identified female joins a male (gay and bisexual) football team that are a bit useless. One of the men on that team is an over the top caricature of an effeminate gay man. The TIF used to play on the women’s football team but after ‘coming out as trans’ joined the men’s team. It’s casually mentioned that she plays football in a binder, as if this is no big deal, and not, you know, unsafe.

The gay/bi football team with added TIF goes on a road trip to go and play at another team’s ground. Camp gay guy camps it up on the team bus. TIF calls herself ‘gay as hell’ because she is attracted to men.

The team of gay and bisexual men plus TIF arrives at the ground of other football team. Our resident TIF usually has a different place to change from the men, and she worries she won’t have a separate place to change at the other team’s club. Interesting as to why a female doesn’t want to change with the men. Reality being of course that women were forced to see Lia Thomas’ cock in the changing rooms.

Anyway, Big Mean Transphobic Coach says that the game can’t go ahead, because the TIF is, well, a TIF. Big Mean Transphobic Coach states that it’s ‘against league rules’ for women to play in the men’s team (which makes perfect sense). And then we get the climax of the story, aka The Great Misgendering. The Big Mean Transphobic Coach says that the other (actually male) players can play, but that she can’t, referring to our TIF.

The gay and bisexual men in question of course all jump in and defend our TIF by calling her he. They agree to play a friendly fixture but they lose because they are a bit useless. That’s pretty much it.

The Courage of Dragons

The way this story is written, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I’m pretty sure it’s about some they/them identified people but that’s about it. They are all obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons and talk weird so I don’t know if they are meant to be autists or something (note to author: I’m not obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons).

Anyway our male they/them doesn’t want to go for a wee because transphobia, or something, and it is ‘or something’ because nothing really happens except a mean comment that doesn’t even appear to be made in a bathroom.

So the they/them then gets their parents to complain to the school and Evil Transphobic Principal. Wokie Dope parents suggest that they make the bathrooms all genders because woke. They complain about being offered the accommodation of using the staff toilets. Principal points out that not everything is about a they/them identified student and that other students need boundaries. They/Them understands the implication immediately, i.e. that girls don’t want boys peeing in the bathroom with them, but obviously thinks his own identity is more important.

They/Them’s name is then put down across both columns of Prom King and Queen and this makes They/Them very upset. Seems like a bit of an overreaction to me. They/Them seems more upset about this than I was about being shoved in the dirt on the way home from school and having to go to hospital to check for concussion because I banged my head. Anyway, because of this he eggs the principal’s car because this is Canis Canem Edit or something.

The solution to this problem is to sabotage the entire school’s gender system and delete everyone’s gender. Wait, isn’t this pretty transphobic? Trans women work so hard to be recognised as real women and now you are going to delete their identity? And then stick all gender signs everywhere, but then how are people going to get the ‘validation’ of going in the women’s/men’s bathroom? And of course the media turns up and thinks that the whole thing is great. This is the only believable part of the whole story as of course the media loves a bit of wokery.


The book is now going back to the charity shop.

As a more substantive comment, it’s worth noting how these two stories contradict each other, and represent – as Exulansic puts it – different branches of the Church of Trans. The Other Team throws some sops to Biological Reality and Common Sense, i.e. by recognising that women don’t want to occupy changing rooms with men. Whereas The Courage of Dragons wants to dispense with biology entirely as well as even any notion of a binary (even binary trans-identification). The conflict between the ‘We just want to fit in as the opposite sex’ Blaire White-style transgenderism and the ‘We want to destroy the binary’ non-binary argument is one of the reasons that the demands of this ideology are so incoherent.

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