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The Last Time I Wore a Dress by Daphne Scholinski
The Last Time I Wore a Dress

siren, December 6, 2008

Scholinski's memoir is one that causes an irrepressible lump to form in one's throat and an emergence of a feeling that lingers between anger, sadness, empathy, and horror. It chronicles his 4 years confined within 3 different mental health facilities after being diagnosed with "Gender Identity Disorder" and "homosexual tendencies", essentially, not acting as a "normal heterosexual" girl.

His writing captures the confusion and rage of traumatically spending the majority of his teen years under the "care" of the American psychiatric medical community, surviving sexual, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse, and existing in the world as an ex-mental patient. He is able to create an exposé of the homophobic, transphobic, and violent nature of psychiatric wards without losing the raw individual experiences in the process. It is jarring to think that his experiences took place in the early 1980s in and around Chicago, Illinois.

This is a great read for those interested in Transgender and queer h[is/her/ze]tories and struggles, questioning what it means to be 'normal', the violence of the psychiatric system, and surviving.

This Book Can be Triggering!: Discusses sexual and physical abuse, rape, dysfunctional families, psychological abuse, eating disorders, and suicide.
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