"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
“A gripping account of the author's experience as a trans woman, a life lived in the shadows of abuse, alcoholism, drugs, and gender identity. Painful to read and yet so very important.”
– Michael Powell, founder, Powell's City of Books
“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
Reviews & interviews
“In 1953, Denis Dubis was born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee. After decades of struggling with his identity, Denis was reborn as Denise Chanterelle DuBois and is the author of the new memoir Self-Made Woman.
The book explores her life growing up in suburban Greendale, struggling with her identity, an unstable home life, and ultimately, drug and alcohol abuse.
Her early years in Milwaukee shaped her images of gender, and what it means to be on the outside of the supposed norm. She admits that "transgender" wasn't a word she heard until she was older. "
This Way Out: The International Lesbian & Gay Radio Magazine. Dixie Treichel’s (KFAI FM Minneapolis-St. Paul) interview with author Denise Chanterelle DuBois airs this week on “This Way Out.” Check the station listing to see when the interview will air in your area. October 18, 2017
“This Way Out” is the award-winning internationally distributed weekly LGBT radio program, currently airing on over 200 local community radio stations around the world.
“Meet Denise Chanterelle Dubois. (Yes. That is her real middle name.) Her recent book Self-Made Woman is currently on tour, sharing wild stories James Westby is hoping to make into a movie someday. We can’t wait.”
“Milwaukee-born transgender actress and businesswoman Denise Chanterelle DuBois has penned a frank and fearless new memoir entitled, Self-Made Woman about her long journey to self-acceptance and her eventual gender confirmation surgery in 2003 at age 50. . . .
“In her absorbing new autobiography, DuBois holds nothing back. Self-Made Woman is written with an unflinching honesty which successfully conveys the damage and self-destructive impulse that consistently emerged from Denise's inability to address her gender issues for so many years.”
Midwest Book Review reviews Self-Made Woman by Denise Chanterelle DuBois, October 2017
“An impressively informative, exceptionally well written, deeply engaging, and ultimately inspiring personal story, Self-Made Woman: A Memoir is an unreservedly recommended addition to the growing library of LGBTQ literature. It should be noted that this simply outstanding autobiography is also available for personal reading lists in both paper and digital book formats.”
“Feast of Fun”: Fortune’s Favorite Daughter, FOF # 2532. “Feast of Fun” host Marc Felion and his co-host, Fausto Fernós, interview author Denise Chanterelle DuBois in this in-depth interview, September 24, 2017
Denise Chanterelle DuBois has lived an outrageous life right out of a TV show like Narcos or Orange is the New Black. A closeted trans woman in the 80s, Denise was a cocaine dealer in Southern California until she got caught with a kilo, went to prison, and then managed to get out after serving only four and a half months.
In her new memoir Self-Made Woman, Denise takes us on a roller coaster ride through her adventures as a transgender gal surviving drug addiction, alcoholism, car crashes, risky sex and life behind bars.
Listen as Denise Chanterelle DuBois joins us to talk about her life as a cocaine dealer, being a tour guide in Costa Rica and why she handed out donut holes to the public to celebrate a major trans victory.
Fresh Fruit is the longest running weekly Queer radio show in the country, has been live on KFAI Fresh Air Radio since May 11, 1978.
Q&A with Monika Kowalska: Interview with Denise Chanterelle Dubois, September 13, 2017
“[The Heroines of My Life] blog is about women that are my everyday inspirations. I interviewed 427 women that radiate with wisdom, beauty, intelligence and love. The blog is about women that proved to me that there is hope for me and it is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.
“Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Denise Chanterelle DuBois, an American actress, environmentalist, and businesswoman from Portland, Oregon, the author of the biographical memoir book titled Self-Made Woman (2017).”
XRAY FM 91.1 | “XRAY in the Morning” host, Jefferson Smith, interviews author Denise Chanterelle DuBois, September 11, 2017. Listen online or download an MP3 of the interview.
“Memoirs allow readers to view life through someone else’s eyes. There are few eyes as interesting as Ms. DuBois’. Self-Made Woman is recommended for those who have gender dysphoria and their loved ones. However, it is also an interesting read for anyone who wants to get out of their own skin for awhile.”
Q&A with a Self-Made Woman, University of Wisconsin Press Blog, August 22, 2017
Today, the University of Wisconsin Press publishes Self-Made Woman, the story of one individual’s intense struggle to accept her true self. In this post, Denise DuBois (who grew up as Dennis Dubis in 1960s Milwaukee) answers some questions about her book and gender today.
Book Q&A with Deborah Kalb: Q&A with Denise Chanterelle DuBois, August 12, 2017
Denise Chanterelle DuBois is the author of the new memoir Self-Made Woman, which tells the story of her gender transition. She is an actress, environmentalist, and businesswoman, and she lives in Portland, Oregon.
“One thing I will never tire of is transgender biographies and memoirs. We all have a life story to tell, and I love seeing how the experience is unique for each.”
“. . . look for Self-Made Woman by Denise Chanterelle DuBois (August). It’s the story of a little boy growing up in the 1960s, at a time when people didn’t have words for the girl inside the boy. That leads to a lifetime of fighting past the pain with a dangerous mix of outside methods and, for the book, an ultimate triumph.”
A transgender actress and businesswoman tells the no-holds-barred story of her transition from male to female.
DuBois experienced her transgender awakening at age 4. Her parents put her in a dress—the only dry garment available—after they rescued her from drowning, and she realized, "I was a girl and the dress would always be part of me." . . . Dressing up in women's clothes in secret and taking her sister's birth control pills to help her look more feminine, she hid her sexuality from her parents, especially her cruel, alcoholic father. . . . Her life became increasing erratic when she moved to San Diego. Now a drug addict, she started selling and was eventually arrested for dealing. At the same time, she began efforts to transition, but her history of drug abuse made her ineligible for hormone replacement therapy. Desperate to put her messy past behind her, DuBois married a woman . . . and the pair moved to Oregon where they lived the straight life DuBois thought would save her, but only drove her to drink and do drugs in secret. A family crisis tore the fragile bonds that held them together. Unmoored but realizing she needed to finish the therapy she had begun in San Diego, DuBois began the painful but ultimately liberating process of coming out in midlife. . . . The author's resilience and ability to come to terms with her difficult, sometimes-bizarre past are both inspiring and life-affirming.
A fierce, unsparing memoir.
The Oregon Health & Science University, Department of Surgery, quarterly newsletter gave a nice nod to OSHU patient and author, Denise DuBois, and Self-Made Woman. Read about the care OHSU surgeons Jens Berli, M.D., Juliana Hansen, M.D. and the multidisciplinary gender affirming surgery team at OHSU offer in the department's Spring 2017 newsletter, On the Cutting Edge.
KKCR-FM Kaua'i Community Radio's interview of author Denise DuBois, January 2017
Book trailer for Self-Made Woman posted on Shelf Awareness featured as the Book Trailer of the Day, August 14, 2017
The New York Times, Transgender Lives: Your Stories - Denise Chanterelle DuBois, businesswoman from Hanelie, Hawaii. NOTE: James Westby's short film used in the article is no longer available on The Time's website. Watch Mr. Westby's book trailer created for A Self-Made Woman: A Memoir for a similar short film featuring author Denise DuBois.