Becoming Nicole


Amy Ellis Nutt

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Nicole/Wyatt Maines

The protagonist of the book. Nicole is a transgender young woman who was born a biological male named Wyatt. As an infant, Wyatt is adopted by Kelly and Wayne Maines at birth, along with his… read analysis of Nicole/Wyatt Maines

Kelly Maines

Nicole and Jonas’s mother, and Wayne’s wife. Kelly grows up in a somewhat unconventional family, as she is raised by the sister of her biological mother. She also finds herself unable to have… read analysis of Kelly Maines

Wayne Maines

Nicole and Jonas’s father, and Kelly’s husband. Unlike Kelly, Wayne has a very traditional upbringing in upstate New York. This is why, when Nicole (then Wyatt) starts to show a more feminine gender… read analysis of Wayne Maines

Jonas Maines

Nicole’s identical twin brother. In contrast to his parents Kelly and Wayne, Jonas recognizes early on that Nicole (then Wyatt) is a girl, not a boy. He admits that he sometimes feels that… read analysis of Jonas Maines

Brian/Bonnie/Cheryl Chase

An individual whom Nutt references as an example of an intersex person. At birth, doctors were unsure of the sex of this baby, but they counseled the parents to assign the infant a male identity… read analysis of Brian/Bonnie/Cheryl Chase
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Bruce/David Reimer

An individual whom Nutt references as an example of what can happen when a person is forced to embody a different gender identity than the one they feel is right for them. Bruce was a… read analysis of Bruce/David Reimer

Jacob Melanson

A student in Nicole and Jonas’s class at elementary school. Prompted by his grandfather Paul’s disapproval of Nicole using the girls’ bathroom at school, Jacob thinks it’s wrong that Nicole (who he views… read analysis of Jacob Melanson

Christine Daniels/Mike Penner

A trans woman who lived most of her life as a man by the name of Mike Penner. Penner was a veteran sports journalist at the Los Angeles Times when he announced that he was… read analysis of Christine Daniels/Mike Penner

Paul Melanson

The grandfather of Jacob, another student at Nicole and Jonas’s elementary school. He is extremely prejudiced against gay and transgender people, and when he hears that Nicole is using the girls’ bathroom, he… read analysis of Paul Melanson

Bob Lucy

The principal of Orono Middle School and the acting principal of Asa C. Adams Elementary School when Jonas and Nicole are attending school there. It is partially Lucy’s decision to not punish Jacob for his… read analysis of Bob Lucy

Dr. John Money

A doctor who believed that gender was a social construct, and that parents could simply choose the sex for their baby. He touted the case of David Reimer as an example of this strategy’s success… read analysis of Dr. John Money
Minor Characters
Jennifer Finney Boylan
A transgender woman and a professor at Colby College who gives an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show about being transgender. Kelly watches the special and sees Jennifer as a “pretty and normal-seeming woman,” and thinks that she could be a good role model for Wyatt.
Michael Heath
The executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, who supports Paul and Jacob Melanson’s actions. He writes several editorials against the Maines family, calling advocates of LGBT rights “children of the devil.”
Jazz Jennings
A transgender girl featured on a 20/20 special who is about the same age as Wyatt when he watches the special with Kelly and Wayne at 10 years old. Seeing Jazz tell her story, Wyatt is relieved to find another child who shares his experience.
Lisa Erhardt
The school counselor at Asa C. Adams Elementary School. Erhardt helps Kelly understand more about Wyatt’s identity and tries to help create policies that will allow Wyatt to use the girls’ facilities in the school.
Eric Buffong
A transgender man who was fired from his job as a cook when his gender identity was discovered in 2006. He won a $3 million suit against the restaurant for discrimination based on his gender identity.
Dr. Norman Spack
A pediatric endocrinologist who specializes in transgender children, and who helps Nicole transition.
Gwen Araujo
A transgender teenager who was tortured and beaten to death by a group of men in 2002 because of her gender identity.
Virginia Holmes
Wyatt’s first therapist, who helps him understand his transgender identity.
Dr. Kathy Rumer
The specialist who performs Nicole’s sex reassignment surgery.
Kelly Clenchy
The school administrator at Asa C. Adams Elementary School.
Kelly’s biological mother, who gives her to her sister Donna to raise.
Roxanne’s sister, who raises Kelly.
Kelly’s 16-year-old cousin and Nicole and Jonas’s biological mother.
Wyatt’s best friend growing up.
Bill Maines
Wayne’s father.
Betty Maines
Wayne’s mother.
Sarah’s mother.