A few weeks after eighth grade begins, Lady Gaga comes to Portland to speak out against the “don’t ask don’t tell policy” in the military, and Nicole and Wayne attend her rally together. Wayne had been proud to serve in the military, but he is angry that the military has dismissed so many honorable men and women because of sexual orientation. He knows how “corrosive” it is to live in hiding.
Nutt explores another arena in which people, like Nicole in school, feel the same shame because they cannot be open and honest. Wayne even understands this as a form of discrimination in and of itself, because it does not afford the same rights to LGBT people as it does to straight people in terms of being able to speak freely about one’s life.
The Maineses had all stayed quiet about Nicole’s identity in Portland through most of eighth grade. But in April, the Maine Legislature considers a new bill, LD 1046. This act would allow the owners of any business to decide who could use their restrooms, and if someone was denied access to the facility of their gender identification, they would be unable to claim discrimination. The whole family is disgusted by this development.
The LD 1046 bill clearly targets transgender people specifically. The family is so upset by this that they decide they can no longer hide from the issues. Nicole recognizes the power she has to speak up on the issue, and how necessary her voice might be in helping to change the minds of these lawmakers.