Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family
by Amy Ellis Nut
New York: Random House, 2015. 279 pp. Non-fiction
In 1997, Wayne and Kelly Maines, after several years of struggling to become parents, adopt twin boys from a distant young relative unable to care for them properly. As Wyatt and Jonas grow up, it became rapidly and clearly evident that the two children were very different people. Wyatt, as soon as he was able to speak, made it clear he felt himself to be a girl and became increasingly frustrated in the body assigned to him at birth. Thus began a difficult journey for a family to adapt to this new and surprising reality, struggling not only with their unfamiliarity with the very notion of being transgender but also with the difficulties in getting school administrators, teachers and others to recognize and accept transgender as a real issue and provide the necessary resources and assistance so that people like Nicole can thrive in their communities. The book alternates between Nicole's personal and legal battles and concise summaries of current scientific research explaining how gender and sexuality develop prenatally. This is a very interesting and thought provoking examination of one person's struggle to live according her true self as a transgender girl.