The Last Time I Wore A Dress

The Last Time I Wore A Dress

Book - 1997
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At the age of fifteen, Daphne Scholinski was put in a mental hospital for what her psychiatrist called ?failure to identity as a sexual female.' The hospital gave her a diagnosis that was brand-new to the medical books: Gender Identity Disorder. The years that should have been Daphne's typical high school experience instead consisted of periods of seclusion and physical restraint, frequent does of sedatives, and the close company of people who were truly crazy.It's hard to believe that doctors, circa 1981, described Daphne's treatment goals as becoming more obsessive about boys, learning about makeup, dressing more like a girl, curling and styling hair, and spending quality time learning about girl things with peers. Even now, after a decade and a half of our culture's coming to grips with homosexuality, approximately fifty thousand teenagers are institutionalized in the U.S. each year for being too sissy or too much of a tomboy.Though the facts are truly frightening, Jane Meredith Adams has captured Daphne's fresh, funny, triumphant voice so vividly that The Last Time I Wore a Dress is impossible to put down. The result is a book is reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as well as an expose of a shameful medical sham that has destroyed countless childhoods.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 1997
ISBN: 9781573220774
1573220779
9781573226967
1573226963
Branch Call Number: 616.8583 SCH
Characteristics: xi, 211 p. ;,25 cm
Additional Contributors: Adams, Jane Meredith

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bell5133
Jan 08, 2019

The true story of a 15 year old girl named Daphne who was put in a mental institution for delinquent behavior. It's like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, only this story is real. Daphne was diagnosed with gender identity disorder just because she was a tomboy.

A good book showing how sane people get locked up, while real violent people are free. And the doctors that are supposed to help the patients just label them and don't believe their honesty or take them seriously. But the patients can easily fake diagnoses and the doctors believe that. Sad.

Her father was violent and messed up mentally due to traumatic experiences in the Vietnam War. Her mother never loved him and resented her life as a mother to kids she got stuck with. So Daphne grew up without love and attention.

Daphne had to be tough in her environment, because otherwise she'd crumble. She made herself tough to survive. It's a natural response. When depressing things happen in your life, what's your response? You gonna curl up in depression and defeat? Or are you gonna stand tall and strong and fight whatever's coming?

Daphne didn't want to be a boy, just liked doing boy things (rough play, clothing, dream careers). "I wanted to be free to run" (30). She doesn't like looking girly because it makes her look like a dork (110) or an idiot (124). Obviously when you have a low opinion of how girls look, you're not going to want to look like one.

There are hints that Daphne might be intersex. She said she had a mustache and hairs on her chin (182) and didn't have rounded hips (123).

She says several times in the book that so-and-so boy is cute. Later she says she likes girls and got a tingle in her stomach while roller skating with them. And in adulthood she claims to be a lesbian.

Makes perfect sense why she wouldn't wanna get close to any men when so many men have sexually abused her. On p. 199, she describes a painting she did of herself looking out the window at Michael Reese, dressed in a "hospital gown with 3 ties in the back and a snap at the top. Fred the lech hasn't yet snuck into my room and rubbed his hands over my body while i'm tied in restraints, but he will. . . . Often i have to think hard to find a title for a drawing but not this time. The name just came to me. I wrote across the bottom: the last time i wore a dress." Guys abuse her for the simple fact that she is a woman. It's not even that she's an attractive woman. Just that she's a woman. Why would she wanna dress like a woman when clearly being a woman has brought her nothing but abuse? I don't blame her for not trusting men, and not wanting to look like a woman. I think if she grew up in a more loving home, she would've been a completely different person. Probably straight and at least a little more feminine. Her personality is almost completely a product of her upbringing.

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bell5133
Jan 08, 2019

bell5133 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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