Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt
I picked this book for my office’s Equity and Social Justice book club this month; my husband got it for Christmas and read it in about a day. Given the shit shows we’ve seen in a few state legislatures this year, it’s extremely relevant.
This book artfully tells the story of how Wyatt’s family supported him on his journey to become Nicole, a transgender girl. Wyatt and Jonas were identical twins assigned the gender male at birth, adopted as babies by Kelly and Wayne Maines. From early on, Wyatt identified with more stereotypically feminine things: he played with dolls and liked the color pink. Both kids had great imaginations and liked to tell stories; when Wyatt would dress up, he would choose to wear things like tutus and sparkles. It was clear before Wyatt even entered preschool that he was gender non-conforming.
From a supportive elementary school to an non-supportive middle school, through a move where they kept Nicole’s history a secret, to a lawsuit about appropriate accommodation. Through Kelly doing most of the heavy lifting of educating community members while Wayne tried to come to terms with the reality that he had a son and a daughter, not two sons, the family pushed on, finding that they at times had to fight just for Nicole to have the same basic access to things that all students have. Like a toilet.
Bathroom access is a very serious issue for transgender individuals. We’re seeing this bullshit in places like North Carolina, where they are couching their bigotry and hatred in the ‘protection of women.’ Those legislators should all have to read this book, which explains in really great detail how gender identity, sexual orientation, and genitals are all different things. Just because most of us find our gender matches the one assigned us at birth doesn’t mean that’s always the case, or that there is anything wrong with those where that isn’t the case. We all just REALLY need to stop being so concerned with what is in peoples’ pants.