UW Press




FaceBook Twitter Tumblr GoodReads UW Press Newsletter

UW Press Blog







UW Madison

American Association of University Presses




Self-Made Woman
A Memoir

Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies

For decades I kept Denise in the closet. Then I kept Dennis in the closet.

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.

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

Author’s website: https://selfmadewomanbook.com/




“Compelling. . . . A fierce, unsparing memoir.”
Kirkus Reviews

“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

“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


Publicity and Press Kit Resources

Click here for current & upcoming UW Press events

Download high resolution cover, color

Download high resolution cover, b/w

Download high resolution author photo, color

Download high resolution author photo, b/w

All images are at least 2.25 inches at 300 dpi wide; current title covers are a minimum of 1500 px wide/6 inches wide at 300 dpi. Please contact us if you need a custom size.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at publicity@uwpress.wisc.edu or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)



Of Related Interest


Through the Door of Life
A Jewish Journey between Genders
Joy Ladin


My Son Wears Heels
One Mom’s Journey from Clueless to Kickass
Julie Tarney

Self-Made Woman
Larger images

August 2017
LC: 2017010425 HC
224 pp. 5.5 x 8.5
Book icon
Cloth $26.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-31390-6
Shopping cart

Review Cart