Becoming Nicole


Amy Ellis Nutt

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Becoming Nicole: Chapter 31 Summary & Analysis

In early January 2009, Dr. Spack notices signs that Nicole is beginning puberty, and so she immediately starts injections of a puberty-suppressing drug. Meanwhile, Nicole pleads with her parents for a bra and small false breasts. Kelly finally relents, and she finds silicone breasts and bras with pockets for women who have had mastectomies. She finds the smallest ones available and gets them from Nicole, who thinks that they are perfect. Wearing them is “transformative,” and Nicole walks around with a new confidence.
Nicole’s false breasts are yet another way for her to feel more authentically female. It is not that they physically transform her body, considering that Kelly makes sure they are as small as possible. Instead, they transform the way in which Nicole thinks about herself gives her a newfound confidence in the fact that she can more easily fit in with other girls.
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About a year after moving to Portland, Wayne sells the Orono house and moves into graduate student housing at the university there, while Kelly and the kids move into a better neighborhood in Portland. Meanwhile, on the next visit to Dr. Spack in Boston, he tells Nicole that she can start estrogen immediately—sooner than they’d planned. Nicole is thrilled.
Nicole is desperate to start female hormones so that she can continue to transform her body, and finally have it match her understanding of her own gender.
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On the same trip to Boston, the family also meets with the lawyers from GLAD, who tell the Maineses how strongly they feel about the importance of the case. They hold a reception for the family at a home of a GLAD board member, and the Maineses start to realize that the lawsuit has meaning and significance for many others as well.
Even though Nicole can’t be out in Portland, she starts to understand the power of advocating for others in response to the discrimination she has faced. This is what ultimately becomes the conduit for her to be out and proud when she enters high school.
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