Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review: Becoming Nicole

Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt was released in late October of 2015 with some media appearances and interviews.  The New York Times and Time Magazine gave the book a good review, and hopefully it has experienced some sales.  The author won a Pulitzer Prize with the Washington Post, and had complete access to the Maines family for the book.

In this book, the Journey is the story.

Here we have a contemporary microcosm of the Trans movement.  A child knows she is trans.  Her identical twin brother is first to acknowledge her.  her father, a right wing republican doesn't wish to accept this, but the mother does.  Compromises are made.  The father has a dream of raising two boys to be Men like he is, and can't let that go, despite all evidence to the contrary.  However, Nicole's classmates accept her as a girl.  Children are taught hate- they don't experience it naturally.

And there IS hate.  A "Christian" group gets involved and battle lines are drawn.  The family is forced to leave town.  But, justice eventually prevails in a small arena, which may help nationally.

This story has played over and over, with small variation, throughout the country.  The only difference is that this time, the Transperson won.  Her father came around to accepting his child as a daughter, and fought FOR her... hard.

Nicole was able to get hormone treatment early, so she doesn't look like many transwomen of earlier generations.  She looks like a young woman.  She has had her surgery (from a doctor near me, actually.)  If it weren't for all of the media circus, she could easily go stealth.

But what does it mean to a TG?

It means that we ARE winning, if slowly.  It means that the sacrifices of my generation and earlier are bearing fruit.  Nicole is one of the lucky ones.  She will never have the agony of growing up male.  And she is Strong, as are her whole family.

I'll admit- I'm a bit jealous.  She had resources at her disposal that I didn't, and is a beautiful young woman.  She was socialized female.  But in the end, that's all spilt milk.  Our lives are what we make them.  Lemonade and all that.

I've had the pleasure of meeting both Nicole and her father at two different Keystone Conferences.  They are both incredible speakers.  I remember that after Keystone 2014, I was scared out of my wits by the possibility of a right winger keeping me from my daughter for "her sake."

So.  The book.  It's well written, and due to the access that the author had, one really feels like they are part of the story.  The reader sees the conflict in the father, and rejoices when he defends his daughter.  I was so angry at the bully grandfather that I wanted to send him hate mail.

How good is this book?  I going to bring them a copy of it so they can understand just a little more.

With Nicole Maines at Keystone 2015

So.  If you are trans, I'd say that this is a must read.  Same if someone you love is trans.

Yes, it's that good.

Maybe we should send copies to the GOP candidates?

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