Wayne appears before the House Judiciary Committee of the Maine legislature. He reads a statement, explaining that he has a transgender daughter and how Nicole’s experiences have transformed how he thinks about these issues. He explains that this bill would mean that Nicole would not have the same rights as her classmates. He asks them passionately, through tears, not to pass the bill. A lawyer from GLAD also speaks, explaining why a biological sex accommodation rule won’t work because a business could only enforce LD 1046 through physical inspections, which invade privacy.
Wayne shows his own transformation in this moment. Not only is he supporting Nicole and her rights, but he is also advocating for the rights of other transgender students like Nicole. Even if these lawmakers can’t fully understand Nicole’s experiences, they can empathize with the sincere experiences of a father who has grown to understand what it means to have a transgender daughter.
Wayne also notes how little information there is online for fathers of transgender children. Every few months he writes a piece for a blog on the Huffington Post. He takes the responses as opportunities for further discussion and education. Someone suggests that perhaps Nicole is transgender because they’d given her dolls at a young age, but Wayne and Kelly know that nothing they did would have affected Nicole’s identity. Kelly also quips privately, “What you’re saying is, every man is just one doll away from being a woman?”
Wayne also helps to educate other fathers and parents on online forums, knowing that there is so little information out there for people like him who initially struggle with their child’s transition. He aims to educate people on the idea that being transgender is just as innate as being cisgender, and that it is a core and unchangeable part of a person’s identity.
Nicole and Wayne do more campaigning against the bill. For two days, they walk around the statehouse to talk to representatives about defeating the bill. She speaks with 60 or 70 of the 151 representatives. Wayne, for his own part, hands out leaflets about Nicole and how children like her deserve better treatment by lawmakers. Kelly is exceptionally proud of both Wayne and Nicole.
Nicole and Wayne advocate even further, going directly to the lawmakers in order to try to win their support—something that Nicole is only able to do by being open about her experience and proud of her identity.
Jonas and Nicole are also soon to begin ninth grade at a new school called Waynflete, a private pre-K through 12th grade school which has fewer than 600 students. Nicole and Jonas make friends during Wilderness Week, an outing for incoming students. Jonas and Nicole are shocked by the kindness of the students at Waynflete as compared to those at King Middle School.
The Maineses recognize how key love and support is in all aspects of life, not only in one’s family. For whatever reason, Nicole and Jonas were considered outsiders at King Middle School, and they are thrilled to find a community that cares more about kindness than tearing others down.
The whole family decides that they have had to stay quiet for too long about Nicole’s identity, and so she decides to be “out” at school. She bonds with another girl during Wilderness Week, and on the way home, the girl admits to Nicole that she is pansexual. Nicole smiles and says that she is transgender. “Cool,” the girl replies. Nicole is relieved and comes out to someone nearly every day the following week. No one has an issue.
Nicole’s acceptance at school is not only a testament to her journey to want to be out, but also society’s transformation as a whole on these issues. Different genders and sexualities are much more accepted when Nicole is in high school than when she was in elementary school, signifying a general trend toward social progress.