Becoming Nicole


Amy Ellis Nutt

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Becoming Nicole: Chapter 29 Summary & Analysis

Wayne helps Kelly, Nicole, and Jonas move into their new home in Portland, which is only two blocks from the University of Southern Maine. The neighborhood has a worn feel from the students using it as off-campus housing, and it takes a while to get used to the noise. Wayne finds himself panicked and depressed at having to break up the family.
Even though the Maineses have made their move in order to help support Nicole, it comes at a cost to their family, too. With Wayne forced to be apart from Kelly, Jonas, and Nicole during the week, he feels that he can’t support Kelly in the way he wants to.
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Nicole isn’t feeling much better. A few weeks after the move, she tells Wayne that transgender kids either “commit suicide or they’re killed.” She had seen a documentary about a transgender Native American teenager, who had been murdered by an 18-year-old using a rock to bash in his skull. Wayne tries to comfort her, but also warns her that she has to be careful about who she lets into her circle of trust and where she goes.
Nicole feels the burden of discrimination more and more acutely as she continues to see examples of violence against transgender people. This also highlights the importance of positive visibility for transgender youth—the ability to see someone like themselves lead a normal, healthy, safe life like Jennifer Finney Boylan is extremely beneficial in counterbalancing other heartbreaking stories of discrimination and violence against trans people.
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On November 25, 2009, Kelly and Wayne file a civil lawsuit against the school, arguing that its policy had intentionally and negligently inflicted emotional distress and had created a hostile educational environment that forced them to leave.
The lawsuit that the Maineses file against the school becomes incredibly important, as winning the case could mean preventing discrimination not only in Nicole’s elementary school, but in schools across Maine.
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