Self-Made Woman (Hardcover)

A Memoir (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiog)

By Denise Chanterelle DuBois

University of Wisconsin Press, 9780299313906, 224pp.

Publication Date: August 22, 2017

List Price: 26.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Denise Chanterelle DuBois's transformation into a woman wasn't easy. Born as a boy into a working-class Polish American Milwaukee family, she faced daunting hurdles: a domineering father, a gritty 1960s neighborhood with no understanding of gender nonconformity, trouble in school, and a childhood so haunted by deprivation that neckbone soup was a staple. Terrified of revealing her inner self, DuBois lurched through alcoholism, drug dealing and addiction, car crashes, dangerous sex, and prison time. Dennis barreled from Wisconsin to California, Oregon, Canada, Costa Rica, New York, Bangkok, and Hawaii on a joyless ride.

Defying all expectations, DuBois didn't crash and burn. Embracing her identity as a woman, she remade herself. Writing with resolute honesty and humor, she confronts both her past and her present to tell an American story of self-discovery.

About the Author

Denise Chanterelle DuBois is an actress, environmentalist, and businesswoman. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Praise For Self-Made Woman: A Memoir (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiog)

"An astonishing saga of survival and transformation." —Will Fellows, author of Farm Boys

"DuBois's searing, brutally honest memoir of her emotional journey from male to female is a page-turner, occasionally shocking but ultimately joyful. Though the decisions she's made have been a mixed bag, she finds that, waking up each day solidly a woman, she is fortune's favorite daughter." —Rebecca Coffey, author of Hysterical: Anna Freud's Story

"A story full of heartache and hope. By the end we are a lot more compassionate and smarter about the radical grace required to be transgendered in a relentlessly heterosexual society." —Cassandra Langer, author of Romaine Brooks

"Denise's colorful life has covered it all in spades: sex, drugs, and a journey of self-discovery that takes her around the world. Buckle up for a wild ride!" —Andrea James, filmmaker and transgender rights activist

"A compelling addition to the historical body of trans stories. Denise bravely shares herself with us in this eminently readable book." —Calpernia Addams, actress, author, and musician