"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
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.