Content warning transphobia
tl;dr version of this review: it’s really good, and lots of people should read it.
Slightly longer version: Shortly before my pre-order arrived, I caught a YT review that argued, pretty well I thought, that the target audience for the book was people whose sole ‘knowledge’ about trans people would have come from the media (which, being the UK, is obviously a dumpster fire). Faye’s book should act as a good corrective for all this misinformation and so, as I read it, I had in the back of my mind, “Could I give this book to my parents?”
Having reached the end, I think the answer is “Yes, but with reservations”.
First, the positive: it does, as you might expect, an excellent job of laying out the facts and countering all of the, well, let’s call a spade a spade, and call them “media lies”. There’s a really effective mixture of facts and personal narratives that humanize the issue. While it’s not intended to be a memoir, Faye does let some of her own experiences shine through, but primarily she allows the people she interviewed to be heard.
The main reservation I have, is that it feels like the book rather uncomfortably straddles two incompatible readerships. There’s people who are somewhere centre/centre-right, who urgently need a better understanding of the reality for trans people in the UK than they’re currently getting from the media. A second group are people who would gain from the subtitle of the book: “Trans justice is justice for all”. I think the book does a good job of showing how many of the actions that would make society better for trans people, would be better for pretty much everyone. That’s a big step, though, for people who aren’t already somewhere on the left. TBH, I don’t see how you go from reading the Mail to believing in prison abolition in a single step, and I worry that including both sets of arguments in a single book runs the risk of reducing its usefulness for the needed task of countering right-wing press narratives.