In 1981, at the age of 15, Daphne Scholinski was put in a mental hospital for what her psychiatrist called "failure to identify as a sexual female." Though the facts are truly frightening, The Last Time I Wore a Dress is an expose of a shameful medical sham that destroyed countless childhoods.
This terrifying memoir recounts author Daphne Scholinski's three years spent in mental institutions for, among other things, Gender Identity Disorder. Daphne came from a busted home: Mom left to go to college and become a feminist and an artist; Dad stayed home with two daughters, the elder of whom, Daphne, he often beat. When Daphne started acting up at school, her shrinks decided to put her away. Her family, not knowing how to handle her, agreed. Because she was a tomboy who wore jeans and T-shirts and didn't act enough like a girl, her treatment, in addition to talk therapy, isolation, and drugs, required her to wear makeup, walk with a swing in her hips, and pretend to be obsessed with boys. This sounds awful enough, but when you realize that the confinement and treatment took place from 1981 to 1984, it's absolutely chilling. This book is both a powerful indictment of Gender Identity Disorder treatment and an inspiring testament of one person's survival.