YA author James Dawson has praised the “lovely and supportive” book industry, as well as his fans and the transgender community, following the announcement that he is transitioning to being a woman.
In a statement released 23rd October, Dawson said: “About 18 months ago I started what will be a very long journey into living as a woman. It was while writing This Book Is Gay (Hot Key Books) that I realised I had far more in common with trans women than I did with gay men and started speaking to a gender therapist. I am now on a waiting list to receive treatment from specialist doctors and nurses.
“People have already noticed me physically changing and I will continue to do so over the coming months. It’s a slow and complicated process and, with regret, I may have to take a step back from some events, and focus on writing.”
Dawson, who wishes to be known as ‘he’/‘his’ until he is further on in the transition, told The Bookseller that the reaction from the book world had been "wonderful".
“The book world has been lovely and almost every author I’ve ever met has contacted me to congratulate me,” he said. “When the announcement came out I was at DeptCon [an Irish YA festival, organised by retailer Easons] so I was surrounded by some of my favourite YA authors, like Patrick Ness and Non Pratt, and they were all fantastic.
“One thing I really liked was that on Saturday I was on a panel with Derek Landy and Darren Shan and we just talked about horror films. Yes I am a trans woman but I was there to talk about horror films. Life goes on.”
He also said his publisher, Hot Key Books, had been fully supportive, as had his readers and World Book Day. Dawson is the author of Spot the Difference, one of the World Book Day 2016 titles.
“Ever since This Book Is Gay came out, most of the letters I get are from young people who used the book to help them come out, so they are also very supportive of me transitioning” he said. “I’ve also received emails from transgender people all over the world either welcoming me to the community or thanking me.”
From next year, all books written by Dawson, including Spot the Difference and the upcoming guide to mental health Mind Your Head, will be published under his new name, which he will announce in due course. “I’m 98% sure about what my new name but I’m going to hold off saying anything until I’m 100% sure.”
Several authors lent their support to Dawson on social media over the weekend. Ness offered his “love, support and huge imagination” on twitter, whilst Matt Haig tweeted: “This is amazing… brilliant and brave. Much love.”