Becoming Nicole

by

Amy Ellis Nutt

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Brian/Bonnie/Cheryl Chase Character Analysis

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. The parents complied and named the baby Brian. At 18 months old, however, doctors discovered that Brian had a uterus and ovotestes. They removed the baby’s micropenis and suggested that the parents rename the child Bonnie and raise her as a girl. Bonnie underwent surgery to remove the testicular part of her gonads at eight years old under the false pretense that the procedure would help her stomachaches. When Bonnie was eventually told the truth, she was deeply disturbed by the doctor’s decision. When she grew up, she took on the alias Cheryl Chase and formed the Intersex Society of North America, advocating that doctors not perform surgery on intersex babies but instead let children make a decision themselves when they reach an appropriate age.

Brian/Bonnie/Cheryl Chase Quotes in Becoming Nicole

The Becoming Nicole quotes below are all either spoken by Brian/Bonnie/Cheryl Chase or refer to Brian/Bonnie/Cheryl Chase. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gender Identity, Expression, and Transformation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Becoming Nicole published in 2015.
Chapter 14 Quotes

The plea to hold off on surgery is based on the belief that sex assignment is a cultural pressure, not a biological one. Being intersex. Chase said, shouldn’t be likened to being malformed or abnormal or freakish, and so surgical remedy shouldn’t be the first thing doctors recommend.

Related Characters: Brian/Bonnie/Cheryl Chase
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
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Brian/Bonnie/Cheryl Chase Character Timeline in Becoming Nicole

The timeline below shows where the character Brian/Bonnie/Cheryl Chase appears in Becoming Nicole. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 14: The Xs and Ys of Sex
Knowledge vs. Ignorance Theme Icon
Discrimination, Advocacy, and Pride Theme Icon
...parents assign the infant a male identity. The parents did so and named the baby Brian. Eighteen months later, however, doctors discovered that Brian had a uterus and ovotestes (containing both... (full context)
Knowledge vs. Ignorance Theme Icon
Discrimination, Advocacy, and Pride Theme Icon
When Bonnie turned eight, she underwent surgery to (unbeknownst to her) remove the testicular part of her... (full context)
Knowledge vs. Ignorance Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and the Scientific Community Theme Icon
Chase stood in opposition to proponents of behaviorism like Dr. John Money, who believed that gender... (full context)