Becoming Nicole


Amy Ellis Nutt

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Becoming Nicole: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

In April 2007, Wayne and Kelly sit down with Wyatt one night to watch a 20/20 special on transgender children. The special profiles Jazz, a transgender girl about the same age as Wyatt and Jonas. Like Wyatt, she was born biologically male but identified as female from a very early age. And, like Wayne and Kelly, her parents encouraged a gender-neutral look, but gradually her parents realized that all she wanted to do was fit in with other girls. On Jazz’s fifth birthday, they had a kind of coming out for her as a girl.
Like Jennifer Finney Boylan, Jazz provides a different kind of role model for Wyatt. He recognizes someone who has the same problems as himself, and Jazz’s journey allows him to see that he, too, can be accepted as a girl by his family and friends. Kelly recognizes the value in finding these kinds of role models for Wyatt so that he can be proud of who he is.
Discrimination, Advocacy, and Pride Theme Icon
Watching the special, Wyatt is “flooded with relief,” knowing that there is someone else out there like him. Wayne is also shocked at the parents’ willingness to talk openly about their child and the problems with which they’ve struggled.
Similarly, and perhaps unexpectedly, Jazz’s parents become a kind of role model for Wayne and Kelly. In seeing Jazz’s parents’ pride in their child, they set an example for Wayne to advocate for Wyatt.
Discrimination, Advocacy, and Pride Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Wyatt continues to see Dr. Holmes and confesses that he sometimes feels like sticking his fingers down his throat (though not to throw up). He admits he is often angry and feels misunderstood. He even writes Kelly a letter after fighting with Jonas about how he feels that she constantly treats him like the “bad guy.” He writes, “I feel like you think that he’s the perfect child and I’m just the ‘other’ one.”
As Nutt writes in the opening chapter, Wyatt’s sense of himself is only part of what forms him: it is also others’ sense of him. When he feels misunderstood due to the conflict between his sex and gender identity, this is so upsetting to him that he feels that he is mistreated and thinks about self-harm.
Gender Identity, Expression, and Transformation Theme Icon
Wyatt undergoes a psychological evaluation in May 2007. The results are clear, and unsurprising to the family. He identifies deeply as female and his fears and frustrations about growing up male are likely fodder for his violence and thoughts of self-harm. Kelly decides that it is time to find a doctor to help continue Wyatt’s transition.
As a result of Wyatt’s violent impulses, Kelly recognizes that the only way to support her son is to help him achieve the identity that he truly wants.
Gender Identity, Expression, and Transformation Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Social Expectations Theme Icon
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