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28 February 2021

Diana Thomas (1959 - ) journalist, editor, novelist

David Thomas Senior, UK diplomat, was posted in Moscow when his son was born.  The boy partly grew up in Havana and Washington, DC on later postings, and then had an elite education at Eton (paid for by the Foreign Office) and Cambridge (where he first spoke to psychiatrists about gender incongruity).  He married and they had three children. In his twenties he wrote young-adult books under the name David Churchill, while establishing himself as a journalist as David Thomas. He was Young Journalist of the Year at age 24, a magazine editor at 25 and in 1989 the youngest ever editor of the 150-year-old Punch magazine where he stayed for three years.  While there he edited a best-of anthology from the magazine. 

In 1993 he published Not Guilty - The Case in Defense of Men, which he regarded it as an examination of masculinity, and how men are oppressed thereby - however some took it as an attack on feminism.  After discussing machismo and the rise in plastic surgery for men, he writes

“This should come as no surprise. Homosexuals are pioneers for the male sex. They experiment with attitudes and lifestyles that may take decades to reach the straight community. Gays are to straights as California is to Arkansas.”  

It moves on to a section called “Frocks Away” (p104-8) in which he discusses drag parties at Mick Jagger’s house, Bohemian Grove drag events for the super elite, Paris is Burning, drag star Lypsinka being featured in Vanity Fair in November 1992 and in Esquire magazine, Wigstock, and a survey that showed that only 2% of women accept cross-dressing from their male partner, while female cross-dressing is repeatedly common in fashion.  

 “A woman has to retain only one or two visible elements of femininity in order to keep her gender identity intact. … For men, the opposite is true. It takes only one or two non-masculine elements to intrude upon a man's appearance for his whole identity to fall apart. He may be six feet six, bearded, and wearing combat boots on his feet, but if he's got a skirt around his waist, he's no longer a man in the eyes of the world. Once again one should note the extreme fragility of masculinity in the face of any threat to its conventions.”  


“Transvestism is an unlikely mast upon which to fly the banner of men's liberation. The right to put on a dress is not one for which most of us would man the barricades. But it illustrates two typical processes in society's treatment of men. The first is that we drastically limit male freedom of action by drawing rigidly defined boundaries around the perimeters of acceptably masculine behaviour. The second is that we then classify any action outside these boundaries as either criminal or, in this case, perverse. Neither of those processes applies to women, whose femininity is in no way compromised by the clothes they choose to wear, any more than it is by the job in which they choose to be employed.”   

“Why are inappropriate clothes such a threat to male self-image? Perhaps our response is a sort of metaphor for the limitations that are placed upon male behavior as a whole. In the reasons why transvestism should be feared by the many, and desired by the few, lie many of masculinity's most delicate hidden secrets—secrets that relate to all men, even if they've never, in their wildest nightmares, dreamed of wearing a dress.”   

He follows this with a report on a visit to the Manchester branch of Stephanie Lloyd’s Transformations where married man “Samantha” says “I’d like to bonk” while being dressed in a tartish fashion.

Two years later he published Girl, a forced femininity novel about a man in hospital for a minor operation who awakes to find that there has been some confusion and he has had a vaginoplasty.

From 2007, as if he had never written Not Guilty,  Thomas wrote a series of masculine thriller novels under the name Tom Cain featuring Samuel Carver, an assassin who makes his killings look like accidents.  In 2015 he revived the David Churchill name and wrote a trilogy about William the Conqueror, as well as two other thrillers as David Thomas.  From 2016 he has written three Wilbur Smith novels using Smith’s characters and situations.  One of these as Tom Cain and two as David Churchill.  

In 2019 Thomas announced that she was now Diana, and has written a column in the Daily Telegraph about her experiences in transition.  She was due to have completion surgery in 2020 but of course this was delayed because of the Covid pandemic. Her 87-year-old father succumbed to Covid.  In 2021 she went to a private hospital for an enucleation of the prostate.  She estimates that transition (including facial surgery) has cost £40,000 funded by a house sale and cashing in a pension.   

Books by Tom Cain

  • The Accident Man. Bantam/Corgi, 2007.
  • The Survivor (US title: No Survivors).  Bantam/Corgi, 2008.
  • Assassin.  Bantam/Corgi, 2009.
  • Dictator.  Bantam/Corgi, 2010.
  • Carver.  Bantam, 2011.
  • Revenger.  Corgi, 2012.
  • Wilbur Smith with Tom Caine.  Predator.  Harper Collins, 2016.  

Books by David Churchill

  • Its Us and the Others. HarperCollins Juvenile Books, 1979.
  • The Silbury Triangle.Heinemann, 1979.
  • A Focus for Writing. Heinemann, 1980.
  • Fishing Forever. Merlin Unwin, 1999.
  • Devil (Leopards of Normandy 1).Headline, 2015.
  • Duke (Leopards of Normandy 2).  Headline, 2017.
  • Conquerer (Leopards of Normandy 3).  Headline, 2018.
  • Wilbur Smith with David Churchill. War Cry. Harper Collins, 2017.
  • Wilbur Smith with David Churchill. Courtney’s War. Zaffre, 2019.

Books by David Thomas

  • David Thomas with Ian Irvine. Bilko: The Fort Baxter Story.  Vermilion/Hutchinson, 1985.
  • Pick of Punch. HarperCollins, 1991.
  • Not Guilty - The Case in Defense of Men.  William morrow & Co, 1993.
  • Girl.  Penguin, 1995.
  • Beggars, Cheats and Forgers: A history of frauds through the ages. Pen & Sword History, 2014.
  • Blood Relative. Quercus, 2011.
  • Ostland. Quercus, 2013.


  • “Punch Editor David Thomas”.  In Pictures,01-06-1989.  Online.
  • "Tim Dowling talks to David Thomas".BBC. 24 November 2014.Online.
  • Manuela Svoboda & Petra Zagar-Sostaric. “How much Artistic Freedom is permitted when it comes to Language? - Analysis of a Crime Novel”.  European Journal of Social Science Education and Research, 5,2, 2018,  Online.
  • David Thomas.Media: “The dirty world of Mr Punch: Punch is fighting back by hitting below the belt. It may be hurting, but is it working?”.  The Independent, 23 October 2011.   Online.
  • Julie Bindel.   “What women really want? You’ve got no idea”.  UnHerd, August 6, 2021.  Online.  
  • Jane Gordon.  “ ‘Call me Diana’: Our columnist David Thomas reveals her new life and look”.  The Telegraph, 14 March 2020.  Online.  
  • “David Thomas obituary”.  The Times, May 04, 2020. Online,
  • Charlotte Metcalf.  “Conversations At Scarfes Bar: Diana Thomas”  Country & Town House,  Online.
  • Diana Thomas.  “Ex-Cambridge University rower and married dad DIANA THOMAS spent six decades as a man... So why does she say trans militants are only stoking intolerance?”.  Daily Mail, 19 February 2021.  Online.  

EN.Wikipedia     LoveReading    Linkedin    Daily Mail articles     Diana Thomas at the Telegraph   Muck Rack    Amazon Author Page (Thomas)    Amazon Author Page (Cain)     Amazon Author Page(Churchill)    


'David Thomas' is a rather common name, and there are several who have written books.  There is no definitive list of Thomas's writings and so the list above is tentative. 

I have added the non-fiction books to my Writings on other Topics.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to Diana's next thriller, hopefully with a female (cis or trans) protagonist.


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