Read The Last Time I Wore a Dress by Daphne Scholinski Jane Meredith Adams Online


At fifteen years old, Daphne Scholinski was committed to a mental institution and awarded the dubious diagnosis of "Gender Identity Disorder." She spent three years--and over a million dollars of insurance--"treating" the problem...with makeup lessons and instructions in how to walk like a girl.Daphne's story--which is, sadly, not that unusual--has already received attentiAt fifteen years old, Daphne Scholinski was committed to a mental institution and awarded the dubious diagnosis of "Gender Identity Disorder." She spent three years--and over a million dollars of insurance--"treating" the problem...with makeup lessons and instructions in how to walk like a girl.Daphne's story--which is, sadly, not that unusual--has already received attention from such shows as 20/20, Dateline, Today, and Leeza. But her memoir, bound to become a classic, tells the story in a funny, ironic, unforgettable voice that "isn't all grim; Scholinski tells her story in beautifully evocative prose and mines her experiences for every last drop of ironic humor, determined to have the last laugh." (Time Out New York)...

Title : The Last Time I Wore a Dress
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781573226967
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Last Time I Wore a Dress Reviews

  • Fabiana Kubke
    2019-02-03 11:22

    Daphne (now Dylan) Scholinski relates his experiences (and some medical records) from when he was a teenager in a mental hospital in the USA. Dylan’s story is a heartbreaking warning about families, society and a broken psychiatric profession and their inability to accept (and love) people for who they are. What is more frightening is that his story did not happen that long ago. Dylan describes his life before, during and after being institutionalised, but most of the book relates his life in the psychiatric wards, although the reasons why he was institutionalised in the first place are not made clear. I wonder what my parents imagined would happen to me in a mental hospital. They wanted the doctors to tame me but they didn't ask, and the doctors didn't say, exactly what this process entailed. It was the doctors who came up wit the idea that I was "an inappropriate female" - that my mouthy ways were a sign of a deep unease in my female nature and that if I learned tips about eyeliner and foundation, I'd be better off. While Dylan’s story is heartbreaking it is narrated in a way that, to me, seemed to lack the anger that such an experience might be expected to elicit. In his final reflexion Dylan writes:Even though I’ve made tons of hospital paintings I can’t change what happened. I still wonder why I wasn’t treated for depression, why no one noticed I’d been sexually abused, why the doctors didn’t seem to believe that I came from a home with physical violence. Why the thing they cared the most about was whether I acted the part of a feminine young lady. The shame is that the effects of depression, sexual abuse, violence: all treatable. But where I stood on the feminine/masculine scale: unchangeable. It’s who I am.His voice is filled with authenticity, humour, understanding and forgiveness. I read the book before going to see its stage adaptation. The cast showed up in my local pub after the play, and that is how I met Dylan, and how we became friends. Dylan is now an artist in Denver CO where he works with at risk youth.

  • Antoinette
    2019-02-15 17:22

    An almost unbelievable memoir of a young woman that grows up in an abusive household and ends up institutionalized at the age of 15. Rather than treating her depression, the doctors at the institute do everything they can to "feminize" her. Some of her daily goals include wearing makeup, trying on a blouse, taking an interest in boys, and walking in a more feminine manner. Despite enduring three years of intense therapy she comes to the conclusion that she has Gender Identity Disorder after she is released and in college. I loved Daphne's voice. The story is not triggering for survivors of sexual abuse, and she had a unique perspective on life that is enjoyable to read. Though Daphne can be hilarious, it is tragic to realize her story occurred in the late '80's. Teachers, social workers, therapists, and her own parents failed to give her the love and encouragement she needed. A definite wake-up call to those of us that don't believe in the power of friendship. Daphne is most touched by the bonds she makes with fellow peers, a few of which she still keeps in touch with. What kept me from truly enjoying this book is I never felt like it ended. The reader is left to wonder about many loose ends; mostly her relationship with her family and how she was able to forgive them. Hopefully, Daphne will write another book on that subject, because her criticism of the mental health field has been enlightening.

  • Lewis
    2019-01-21 13:31

    This book is some scary $#*@. It's a lot like Girl, Interrupted, where the "patient" isn't really crazy, but their "treatment" is. In 1981, for a girl who didn't look or act "feminine", the treatment was eye shadow, girly blouses, and feigning crushes on boys. Oh, and hospitalization and anti-psychotics. The book is engaging and a quick read, alternating between life in the mental ward, actual notes from the author's psychiatric records, and flashbacks to the author's life pre-institutionalization. It's alternately absurd and appalling. In the genre of "psychiatric memoirs" that might seem like a standard recipe, but the gender identity issue makes it unique, and the book is significant as an historical record of queer/genderqueer/transgender experience. I'm almost the same age as the author, and this book makes me feel so lucky that I didn't get into the mental health system as a teen. My mom gave me an autographed copy of this when it was published. Years later she said she felt she should have done something when I was growing up to address my gender issues. I told her, "Thank god you didn't!" If this is how they treated gender identity disorder in the 1980s, I feel like I dodged a bullet. Granted, the author had some other issues with abuse and substance abuse. FYI, Daphne is now Dylan. He's an artist, speaker, and LBGTQ and mental health activist.

  • Jillyn
    2019-02-06 14:09

    I'm not sure how to feel about this book. On one hand, this book was really interesting. It was a nice insight into the life that someone in an institution has. I felt a bit personally attached to it on some level, for one because I'm from Chicago & know of these hospitals, & then again because my girlfriend, in the past, has struggled with some gender issues of her own.With that being said, in the book, Daphne lies. All the time. About everything. It makes her stay far worse, plus, it makes me question the memoir. If she lied so easily about everything else, then why am I expected to believe that the events in her hospitalization happened the way they did.I think this book is worth it, since it was an easy read & interesting at the very least. But if I were you, I'd take it all with a grain of salt. I recommend it for people with gender identity problems & those interested in psychology.

  • Ty
    2019-02-11 11:06

    It is important to note that since publishing this book, the author has legally changed his name to Dylan.Prior to knowing that, this book confused me as I was trying to sort out differences between a masculing/butch woman and a trans man. This book made it seem like masculing/butch women could experience dysphoria the way trans men do.It is the moving story of a psychiatrict survivor who shows it is not a lack of will or effort on a trans person's part to be unable to be cis. The book goes back and forth between memories from the home he grew up until the age of 15 to memories from his years in an asylum. He takes it a step further by showing the ongoing prices of being locked into a psychiatrict institution, decades after the fact and the results of inhumane treatment.

  • jo
    2019-01-31 15:14

    just reread this for my class. there are so many issues this book brings up, it's hard to do justice to all of them. first of all, the devastating consequences of parental neglect and parental abuse. secondly, how abused kids can and often do develop an amazing tenderness and capacity for love that makes them treasures of comfort and light to others. then, how abuse breeds abuse, how trauma forces itself into daily life and exacts endless repetition. fourth, the role of lying in the book and outside the book (is a narrator who owns up to being a habitual liar ipso facto an unreliable narrator? if not, why should we believe her?). fifth, the appalling treatment people get in mental institutions, across the board, all the time, at all ages, with all diagnoses, period. narrative after narrative testifies to this. our mental health system is so broken you want to put your face in your hands and cry. yet, the "mentally ill" are one of the weakest constituencies in the population. they have no in-built credibility, they are frightened and traumatized, they are held captive against their will, they are tremendously needy, they are often poor and resourceless, so there isn't much hope for reform. sixth, gender identity disorder and all the bullshit mistique of gender norms as represented, among other bullshit places, in the DSM. seventh, what are we to do with kids whose parents are unable to manage them? see the slew of dropped-off kids in nebraska once the legislature passed its safe-haven law, which it hastened to modify). eighth: transgender kids. ninth: sexual abuse in mental facilities and how it is overlooked and even to some extent condoned. ninth, how the psychiatric community has given up on talking to patients and truly "treating" (i.e. helping) them. tenth, how there is little viable treatment for anyone suffering from mental pain anywhere in this country unless they are rolling in dough and lucky enough to find a professional and compassionate therapist. ten neat points. this book is written beautifully, lyrically, and effectively. it's a short book, and daphne will enchant you. (don't forget, at the end, to check her out on the net.)

  • Lindy Loo
    2019-02-05 16:27

    This book is a quick and easy read, but I was kinda disappointed with it. When I first started reading it, I thought: Wait. Have I read this before? It seemed strangely familiar. But I think it's because it feels and reads like every other book written by someone who spent time in a mental institution. This review is not intended to slight the experiences of Daphne Scholinski, as they *were* awful and ridiculous and she shouldn't have had to deal with any of them. But honestly, this book offers up nothing interesting and fresh on the topic of gender, transgender issues, or sexuality issues. If I were to sum up what I thought this book was trying to say in one sentence, it would be "People shouldn't be hospitalized for not fitting gender "norms"," and that almost seems so self-evident as to not warrant someone writing a whole book to tell me that. I mean, I didn't expect crazy new revelations, but I at least expected it to open up my eyes to the issue (or this *message*) in a different kind of way. Instead, all it did was make me go, Ho hum--Yeah, you shouldn't've been hospitalized for gender "issues" and yeah it was a damn crime, but is that all I'm supposed to get out of reading this?

  • Micaela
    2019-02-12 16:33

    I have to agree with some of the other reviews I have read here. The author constantly lies and exagerates to get what she wants. Also, she exaggerates because she wants acceptance so she tells them what she thinks they want to hear. And this book has a co-author. How much of it has been changed just by the simple fact that someone else is writing down the story? I just wasn't compelled to believe her, and it wasn't until the VERY end that she finally admits that she likes girls and that her sexuality was a question in her life. Up until then, she kept trying to tell us that she was normal, why didn't people think she was normal, why did they keep fixating on her looking like a boy? Maybe because they knew something she didn't. Which is not to say that they treated her with respect or kindness or knowledge. And her parents were unbelieveably shitty. Which is my point. Unbelieveable.

  • Justine Stojowski
    2019-02-12 15:19

    I was hoping for more insight pertaining to the gender issues Daphne was facing. I thought the book lacked significance and missed an opportunity to really dive in to bring me into the world that I'm relatively unfamiliar but open to learning about. Clearly she has gone through some horrid experiences in her life but somehow the style of her writing made it feel a bit impersonal-and I suppose I could see why, however considering it is a memoir I would expect more to be put on the line. I had much higher expectations for this book but the book did not quite deliver .... it had potential to inform me and really open up my eyes about a topic that I don't see many people read or talk about but it did not. The book was OK.

  • Vin
    2019-02-14 11:13

    When I first saw the publicity for this book in1997, I rushed right out & bought it. I couldn't wait to read the true account of someone who felt just like I did. Unfortunately I did not find much on the author's feelings about gender, and in '97, I don't even think I finished the book. I did finish it this year and though I enjoyed it more as an 'Institutional Memoir' I do hope the later editions include more of the gender identity aspect of the story. We have advanced leaps & bounds in our understanding of Gender Dysphoria, whereas this book ends with Daphne, post-treatment, researching Gender Dysphoria in the library by herself. Her insight: Boy, does that sound crazy! Unless it describes you.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2019-02-01 14:28

    This shocking true memoir tells the story of Daphne, one of tons of people (mostly teens and young adults) across North America who was mistakenly diagnosed with "gender identity disorder" in the 20th century. Committed to an insane asylum and forced to do "girly" things like wearing skirts and putting on makeup, she was also made to feel guilty for who she was, and was given psychiatric drugs and outdated forms of therapy. However, this memoir is original in that the author addresses this past of hers with humor and inspiring words, and The Last Time I Wore A Dress is one of the most unforgettable in its genre.

  • Bucket
    2019-01-18 16:06

    this book would get 3 stars for topic, 1.6 stars for content, and half a star for style. daphne scholinski tells about the three years she spent in mental institutions in her adolescence in the 80s for not conforming to standards of femininity, aka 'gender identity disorder.' I'm unclear about the role of each of the authors in compiling this book. I suspect that the hand of jane meredith adams andor editors and marketers are to blame for the less-than-exciting writing style, but still definitely worth reading.

  • Helen Yee
    2019-01-24 09:34

    Taken to a mental institution at age 15 for "being a tomboy" with a treatment plan that included makeup and hairstyling, it's hard to fathom this happened in the early 1980s, not the early 1900s. This reminded me of Girl, Interrupted, as Daphne reconciles her belief in her own sanity against the clearly disturbed states of her colleagues. A sad indictment of Western mental hospitals. Now known as Dylan, his work for the LGBT community, and his art, is inspirational and impressive.

  • Megan
    2019-01-31 13:09

    I can't stand books by self proclaimed pathological liars. Oh, most of what's about to follow is probably bullshit? What's the point? I'm glad Daphne was able to become Dylan and is doing a lot better these days, but he used to be such a little shit with a bad case of Conduct Disorder. It's hard to empathize with someone like that.Hated this book.

  • Rick
    2019-01-28 16:33

    Hard to give a rating to this one. On the one hand, it reveals just how messed up the medical community--and society at large--is when it comes to issues of gender; on the other hand, there's not much depth to it--it lacks the level of observation and insight that some other memoir-style books on this subject have provided.

  • Alice
    2019-01-25 15:33

    I didn't feel like this book had any flow. There were interesting anecdotes (at best), but there wasn't a story. Yes, it raises important issues (or raised them, in the 1990s), but there are better ways to discuss those.

  • Noemi
    2019-02-06 17:09

    My friend lent me this book because I was interested in reading some good gender-studies books. This read more like a voyeuristic book about a very unhappy adolescence. I'd rather have just re-read Middlesex.

  • book reviews
    2019-02-06 10:06

    So this 1997 book is marketed as the memoir of Daphne Scholinski's experience getting committed to a mental institution at age 15 due to "Gender Identity Disorder." Yet one of the first things I noticed when reading this book is that her reasons for being committed are unclear and murky... purposely so, I think. It opens with Daddy driving her to the hospital and nothing is ever clearly stated as to why they're going.Facts: Daphne Scholinski was institutionalized for three years at three different hospitals from 1981 to 1984. Over a million dollars of her father's medical insurance funded her stay. When she turned 18 and graduated through a school system at the institution, the insurance ended and she was released. Beyond this, I would question everything in this book.Based on the information we get as we continue reading, she clearly had a whole slew of issues that amounted to "Conduct Disorder" (drugs, alcohol, violence, truancy, stealing, pathological lying) and her gender issues were just a part of it all in the eyes of her doctors. Her different doctors seemed to focus on different things. Her gender issues are not portrayed as the central issue or the central treatment in the book-- or the cause of all her other issues (even if they may have been)... so in this way, the blurb is misleading and those wanting an in depth look into the 1980s treatment of Gender Identity Disorder in American psychiatric hospitals are going to be sorely disappointed.Apparently, her behavior had gotten so out of control that her parents could no longer handle her and this led to her commitment... but we don't get the specifics on that. Instead we get opening chapters that focus on the fatal flaws of her parents as people. They aren't depicted as the most responsible parents and are discredited in the opening chapters for being abusive and absent on a number of levels. Fair enough. But it's really hard to say what's true and what isn't in this memoir when Scholinkski portrays herself as such a victim and doesn't come clean that she probably drove them as crazy as they drove her. Harsh, I know, but consider the fact that she brags endlessly about lying to everyone, and lying BIG (like telling doctors she's a major addict while giving us asides that she really wasn't and then sharing stories of getting drunk while committed... or saying nothing is wrong with her and then saying she's been sexually abused and is depressed and has learning disabilities etc etc... WHAT?... this is like Holden Caulfield 101). I just pegged her as an unreliable narrator and question the role and her relationship to her co-author, Jane Meredith Adams.It's an "institution story," to be sure. But one you'll feel like you've heard before, unfortunately. I was thinking I might have enjoyed this more as a teenager or if I hadn't seen/read Girl, Interrupted and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. There was something trite about it all, despite the engaging narrative voice that sounds a lot like the rebellious 15 year old she was in those times... which is rather interesting as it was published about 13 years after her release. I wondered how much of this was just cleaned up journal excerpts she might have maintained while there. Because mostly this book is organized as a laundry list of quirky scenes and memories and "good times" with her buds while being committed. All the things an immature 15 yr old would journal and care about. The other odd patients with their odd nicknames are part of the whole landscape, of course, along with all the doctors who she never fails to depict as complete idiots-- doctors who didn't have a clue as to what might be truly wrong with her. And how could they when she didn't tell them certain things and lied about everything else? Like the omission of being sexually abused by an older male neighbor... "a hitman," no less. It's hard to say where her embellishments begin or end and what is an outright lie. How can anyone know or help her with her actual problems if she doesn't come clean? And why blame them years later for it when she spent most of her time sabotaging things? Why should I believe anything she's telling us?I don't entirely mean to invalidate whatever trauma she might have actually experienced in these hospitals (mostly it seemed like she was having a good ol' time). But I really have a hard time sympathizing with a person who tells her whole story mostly like it's a big joke and no one deserves the truth. Everyone is at fault and to blame... except her. She doesn't apply herself in any way, misleads everyone about the real issues she claims to have, and she's even kicked out of her first hospital (for failing in school). She doesn't take any kind of responsibility to get herself out of the mess she's in.There really just isn't enough reflection to be had here. And for something published so long after the fact, I expect more adult reflections. And more honesty. More emotions. Nope. This book is missing that adult-level, looking back with wisdom tie-in that might have given the stories here unity and focus. If you wanna sell this as a book about being institutionalized for gender or that all your problems stemmed from gender dysphoria... then reflect how these childhood and teen experiences shaped the Daphne that would one day become Dylan. We never get that cohesion here. This book is not much more than a meandering memoir of the life and times of one very immature and irresponsible mental patient who either can't or won't face that she had some real problems.I also want to point out that there are some things never confirmed by her doctors-- then or when she published. We get what appears to be excerpts from her patient files interspersed throughout the book about what her doctors conclude about her. But after 3 years no one has ever figured out she's been sexually abused or might be depressed, among other things. And after 3 years of schooling with these places, no teacher ever figures out she has dyslexia and ADHD (or SOME kind of reading/attention issues)... both of which Scholinkski claims to have in the end when she starts applying herself in school and begins to struggle. These are reasons children act out. Big reasons. Why isn't this covered? Seriously. I wanted to hear more from her schooling. The co-author even has 5 years K-8 teaching experience and is currently the senior reporter covering student health at Edsource Today. Her academic background and writing accomplishments are very credible. Her values are education-oriented... granted, I don't know what her experiences and credibility were 20+ years ago when she was helping with this book... but it seems she might have pointed these things out if they existed as she's an intelligent, educated person who went the path of teaching and reporting. Just sayin'...Then again, authors don't always listen lol. Maybe Daphne was impossible to work with. Maybe co-author was just a ghostwriter who got a pile of loose pages and was told to just do the best she could-- and don't change anything!! lol.I think the holes in this memoir, her unreliability as a narrator, and the style in which it was written speak a lot about the author. To me, she winds up sort of making the case for why she had mental health issues... rather than not.Final words about her doctor upon her release: "Dr. Madison said everything was in remission except my gender thing." Yet the only treatment plan for her future is to move on acting like a responsible adult and enroll in a junior college. Why isn't there any emphasis on her gender issues being key to a healthier future if that's what she was in for? Again, who can be sure. Seems like the gender focus is played up mostly as a marketing ploy. We just don't get enough information or depth to say. Maybe they'd just gotten all the insurance money they could and wiped their hands of her... a product of the system and of the times when "problem kids" could be put away like that.I also thought it would have been interesting to see pictures in her memoir, perhaps even some of her artwork, but there were none. The cover of the book is something she did create.This made for some interesting discussion but failed to be the book I thought I would be reading. Obviously it shows a different understanding of gender issues and sexual orientation in the information we are given on the topic when it does come up.... it's the early 80s. Just not enough.The real problem with this book is that there are just too many holes and one-sided information and a general lack of focus here. And the things you want it to show and talk about... just don't get much attention. I slogged through many of the meandering and juvenile stories and didn't like or sympathize with this author... and seriously, I feel just a little bit had by some sociopathic 15 yr old who gets off on lying through her teeth and manipulating people. I will leave it to the mental health professionals to offer more sympathy and further interest.Don't waste your money on this one. It's an easy find at your public library or get it used.

  • Layan
    2019-01-29 16:24

    This memoir wrecked me. I appreciate the thought that came to it, but I really disliked the writing style. It was disjointed and incoherent. I also wasn't very impressed by the content. I was expecting to read about her "Gender identity disorder", but after finishing the book I still knew the same things as what I had initially read on the back. I am very certain that this raw recount of Daphne's past was not easy to narrate. It includes and extensive description of the mental institutes that she was in and the people there. It contains abuse, rape, violence, and being constantly neglected. so heads upMy favorite and perhaps the only part that I liked was the final chapter. (view spoiler)[ "if I hadn't been from a middle-class white family, I could have ended up in jail instead of psych ward. If I had been a young kid of color no one would have thought I was worth fixing... But I didn't want to be locked up... I wanted to go where people liked me the way I was. I wanted to matter.""I still wonder why I wasn't treated for my depression, why no one noticed I'd been sexually abused, why the doctors didn't seem to believe that I came from a home with physical violence. Why the thing they cared the most about was whether I acted the part of a feminine young lady. The shame is that the effects of depression, sexual abuse, violence: all treatable. But where I stood on the feminine/ masculine scale: unchangeable. It's who I am."(hide spoiler)]

  • Jeni
    2019-01-20 10:23

    This is an indictment of a broken mental health system. A friend recommended it and said it would break my heart. Eli Godwin was right. It did break my heart.

  • Rehan Abd Jamil
    2019-02-03 13:18

    Sometimes you just have to accept that you are here to stay. No matter how bad the experiences, just take a small step at a time. And you will survive, eventually.

  • Cassie
    2019-01-20 10:13

    "The shame is that the effects of depression, sexual abuse, violence: all treatable. But where I stood on the feminine/masculine scale: unchangeable. It's who I am."

  • Victoria
    2019-02-02 15:17

    My thoughts on this book are all over the place but I will try to get them together to write this. There are many ways in which you can interpret the book. After I finished I noticed that she doesn’t really tell us much about her life after the treatments in the mental institution, so I decided to actually learn more about her life and how she is doing today. She has now changed to Dylan Scholinski and has been in many television programs such as 60 minutes and 20/20. The book starts out with a basic story of her life, While she introduces her family, her mother, her father and her sister, Jean. The book goes back and forth with the stories of her at home/her family life, her stories at the clinic, actual documents the doctors wrote about her (whose names are crossed out) and the things she falls witness to during her time at the asylum. She meets many people in the insane asylum, people who believe they are somebody else like Jesus and Jimi Hendrix, the anorexics which are two girls who she literally calls “the anorexics”, and they are always calling her. Daphne gets institutionalized at the age of 15 about two hours away from her parents. In the institution the teens compete to see who can get the psychiatrists to put more problems in their chart. They would each get $10 if they promised to successfully get the conditions written on her chart. Scholinski is institutionalized firstly for “Gender Identity Disorder”, but her chart also explicitly says “substance abuse” (which she was, but she would exaggerate just to have ‘fun’) and anorexia, which she was faking as part of a dare by the other patients. She eventually gets kicked out of the institution, because they said her parent didn’t care about her. She eventually gets out of that institution and is moved to a sanitarium in Northern California. She moves to California, Jean graduates and her parents stay the same. After $1,000,000 in insurance and three years in the asylum it all went to waste. She still has gender identity disorder, for which she underwent surgery and says it can never be fixed. “The insurance wasted all of their money, and I wasted my childhood in an asylum, that is why I am against them”. She was born that way and can’t change, watching people get shocked, and being in seclusion did nothing to her or the other people in the clinic.

  • Julie Hayes
    2019-01-25 10:30

    Imagine that you're a girl and someone tells you you aren't girly enough because you don't care for dresses or make-up or dolls? No big deal, right? Doesn't matter what other people think, it's how you feel, right? But what if those people have the power to put you away because they think you aren't girly enough, because they can convince other people that your behavior is indicative of something being wrong with you? Sound scary? Sound like a scenario from the middle ages? Well, it's not - it's what happened to Daphne Scholinski when she was just 15, and the year was 1981! She writes about it in her book,The Last Time I Wore A Dress.Daphne is a typical teenager in that she acts up a bit, smokes, runs a little wild, gets into a little trouble, but those aren't the behaviors she is called to account for, it's her lack of alleged outward femininity. Her home life isn't the best, her mother left the family and moved away, leaving her daughters behind. Neither parent seemed to be there, and her dad was a belt-wielding disciplinarian. At 15, he sent Daphne away to her first mental hospital, where she spent her formative high school years, feeling lost and shunned, and trying to find herself in a world filled with other "crazies".This book will move you to tears at Daphne's plight, you will want to take in the trouble teen and make it all better for her. Sexually abused by various people, this issue was never addressed or dealt with. But not wearing a dress was harped on all the time. As a girl, her so-called friends held her down a few times, forced make-up on her against her will. But she never liked it. Of course, who would, under the circumstances? At one hospital, she received points for her make-up and her attitude and words, and points were necessary for such basics as leaving her room, or determining how far down the hall she could actually go.To think that this sort of thing actually happened in the 1980's is scary, and appalling. Makes you think twice about those in charge of mental health - they can make anyone look crazy with just a word. And they have the power to do so. I highly recommend this book, it's a good read.

  • Ruth
    2019-02-08 17:11

    I'd been wanting to read this book for a while. It's an autobiographical story of a troubled teenager who spends a couple years during the 80's in mental health facilities being treated for, among other things, a so-called gender identity disorder. I thought when I picked it up that she had been hospitalized only for this but then I figured out that the book is also about the mental health system in general, and what happens to young people who are abused/troubled/ "wild". The thing that seemed the most wrong (besides the obvious problem with the idea of pathologizing a person's gender-identity) was that almost all the people who were supposed to be helping her were people she didn't trust- how could this ever work? I didn't give it too many stars b/c it didn't have much depth in terms of reflection/ analysis/ perspective on the events, and also b/c some parts were a bit repetitive. The story itself is worth a read.

  • Artnoose McMoose
    2019-02-13 15:20

    When this book first came out, I was in the habit of attending readings at Black Oak Books in Berkeley on a semi-regular basis, if the book seemed interesting at all. This was one of them. I had never heard of the book or its author but went anyway. Seeing the author read excerpts aloud to you is often a compelling way to be introduced to a book--- I recommend it. I was moved enough by the reading that I bought a hardcover copy right then, something that I rarely do. I also kept it in my personal library for a long time although I never read it more than once. I've now conceded it to my house's semi-public lending library.Having never been institutionalized, I don't have a certain level of experience that might create a different relationship with the story. That being said, I can remember the last time I wore a dress. It was for a friend's wedding and when I took it off I realized that it would in fact be the last time.

  • K
    2019-01-26 13:21

    Like so many people have said, this is a rather quick read and the material is interesting enough and it's an important book, which should be for obvious reasons. It's like Stone Butch Blues, where I didn't really care for the style, but I realize how important the story is for people to be able to find and connect with, and perhaps change from. So, that being said, although it is a quick read I wouldn't necessarily call it "light", as I felt pretty devastated several times, and maybe my heartstrings are easy to pull, but I like them that way. And I guess whether or not it is true seems silly to me, because these things do happen and this planet, in general, is oftentimes a horrible and a seemingly inhabitable place. I think it's just important while reading this that you don't see this as some extreme fluke of happenstance, because there are systems of power in place that make it easy for these things to happen more often than not.

  • Carrie Clevenger
    2019-01-17 15:20

    The Last Time I Wore A Dress is much more than a stark look at society's response to GID, it's an account of a person that spent years locked up for no particular reason. I found the book incredibly compelling and eye-opening as an unforgettable memoir, a document on the state of mental wards in that era, and internal thoughts that the author really needed to purge all along. There's nothing to change about this book. At the end of it are lists of resources, although possibly dated by now that reach out to the curious or affected reader and encourage them to continue their journey with a supportive community. This book is truly an asset to the GID community and is highly readable, setting one on a journey with Daphne, now Dylan and seeing the pieces fall into place in a relatively brief yet educational manner. My heart goes out to Dylan and his continued burden and loss.

  • Ellen
    2019-01-26 11:08

    First, read the review by Osho - it pretty much sums up how I felt about the book as well, only in a way that is worded much better (and in greater detail) that I care to commit to my goodreads reviews. Overall, I feel like this novel was popular at one point because of the subject - the shocking subject that someone would be committed to a mental hospital b/c they weren't "girl" enough. However if you were to rate the novel on overall writing, as well as the self-reflections and revelations made by Daphne, it wouldn't fair so well. I didn't think the story telling was that great and felt that she could've done much more in terms of looking back on her experiences and seeing her faults as well and how she has grown through them. Again - ready Osho's review - she elaborates on this in more detail. Overall, the novel was just ok.

  • Bryan Davis
    2019-01-21 15:10

    I had to read this for a Multicultural Counseling class, but I found it to be a really interesting memoir. The one thing that is frustrating about it, is that the book seems to focus a great deal on the idea that Daphne (the author and main character) was institutionalized for not being feminine enough, yet the author mentions (and proves multiple times throughout) that she had a conduct disorder. Conduct disorders can be fairly serious, and it's not unusual that she'd need some assistance. Regardless of using a "hot ticket" issue to market the book, it was a great, true story, full of injustice and shock at the history of psychiatric hospitals in America. It's a great insight as to how far we've come in the mental health field.