By Alex Temblador
Wayne and Kelly Maines adopted two twin boys, but soon after the parents noticed that Wyatt was different than Jonas. Wyatt it turned out was transgender and later transitioned to the woman that she is today—Nicole. The story of this family is being told in a book that will be released on October 20, 2015. Called Becoming Nicole, it chronicles the life of one family, the Maines, and the experiences that they went through during Nicole’s transition.
Amy Ellis Nutt , a Pulitzer Prize winner, actually wrote the book thanks to access to “personal diaries, home videos, clinical journals, legal documents, medical records, and the Maineses themselves.” It doesn’t appear that Nutt holds back during this story but captures the true emotions of each person in the family. The book depicts the parent’s reactions to seeing Jonas as a young boy enjoying playing with “sports and trucks and many of the things little boys were “supposed” to like; but Wyatt [Nicole] liked princess dolls and dress-up and playing Little Mermaid.” As a child, Nicole asked her parents when her penis would fall off.
The book details the parents’ struggle. Though Kelly was more easily accepting of Nicole’s transgender identity, Wayne, a Republican Air Force veteran, struggled to come to terms with his views about gender identity. Eventually he did and has become a voice for transgender rights. Nicole’s parents legally changed Wyatt’s name to Nicole before she entered fifth grade, but unfortunately it didn’t prevent bullying that occurred in school. Jonas, her twin brother, stood up for her many times against the harassers. The bullying became so bad that the family moved three hours away so that Nicole and Jonas could attend a middle school in a more liberal and large city in Maine where Nicole went “stealth,” and told no one of her transgender identity in fear of her safety. It appears that she came out in high school.
You may remember Nicole Maines and her family from a groundbreaking civil suit in Maine. Before moving three hours away, the Maines sued the Orono school district for making 5th grade Nicole use a staff bathroom instead of the girl’s bathroom, after a classmate’s grandfather complained. Maine’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Maines which was the “first time a state high court concluded that a transgender person should use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.” During the trial, Nicole’s father was right by her side. Wayne Maines told reporters after the ruling: “[The ruling] sends a message to my kids that you can believe in the system and that it can work I’m just going to hug my kids and enjoy the moment, and do some healing.”
Of course, the book has other happy endings, such as how Nicole received gender reassignment surgery before entering college. And who was by her side the whole time? Her best friend and twin brother, Jonas. Nicole told a friend during that time that the great thing about having an identical twin is that, “I can see I would have looked awesome as a man, too!”
Becoming Nicole which releases next week is a beautiful story of an all-American family that grew with love and acceptance as Nicole grew into herself. The summary on Amazon said that this book is for anyone “who’s ever raised a child, felt at odds with society’s conventions and norms, or had to embrace life when it plays out unexpectedly. It’s a story of standing up for your beliefs and yourself—and it will inspire all of us to do the same.”
Today, Nicole seems to be doing well in college. She’s speaking to schools and she has met some pretty famous trans stars. Check it out below.