One day during lunch time at work, I was bored, and restless, and felt quiet disconnected from the office. I walked into Barnes and Nobles in midtown and picked up “Becoming Nicole.”
Becoming Nicole depicts a family where one of the two identical twins decides he is a girl, not a boy. The rest is history. The mother supports him relentlessly in his desire to be “herself” and supports him to be the best version of herself. The father takes a little longer to come around, but eventually supports Nicole be Nicole and fights for her rights to use women’s bathroom according to her desire. The brother protects his sister’s right to be herself. And the family’s support for Nicole to be herself wins over the world.
Transformation is an interesting thing. It may happen so naturally that you may not even notice. Yet there is always a step that you have to take to make everything official and then there is the change and everyone acts surprised, congratulatory, sad, happy, or whatever.
I came over to the US when I was fifteen and yes, I am Korean, and a green card holder, soon to be an American citizen. I have been away from Korea for longer than I lived in Korea, so I would say my change has been gradual. Living in the US also makes it easier for me to then apply for the US citizenship. I mean, why not? The only different would be that I will be able to vote, and work for the Federal Government, and also go work overseas any time I want without worrying about keeping my citizenship/green card.
My current exploration of Judaism is done with the intent of “becoming Jewish” or whatever other Hebrew name I will choose in time. My mother told me I should consider Esther? and my mother-in-law’s name also comes from Esther, so it may not be a bad choice. And I will say that the process is similar to becoming an American citizen, but different at the same time…
While Aaron and I have come to an agreement that conversion is not a prerequisite to marriage, there is external influence in my exploration of Judaism. My exploration for American citizenship has been a 19 year long process, whereby it just got to a point that it makes sense for me to get the citizenship. Judaism- I would argue is more of an abrupt choice for me right now.
Reading Becoming Nicole also opened my eyes to what it means for one to feel that he/she is the opposite sex. Wyatt, who eventually becomes Nicole, is a boy who truly feels female, looks female, and acts female. He has been best friends with girls forever, and in no way feels that he belongs to the boys’ crowd. For him to go to the women’s bathroom with his girlfriends is the most natural thing. He cannot pretend. There is no room for a random boy to pretend to me a girl. And this speaks to me as someone who is looking to convert to Judaism.
I cannot pretend to accept Judaism into my life and join the Jewish community just because I decide to pretend for half an hour. There is the sense of “we” that starts with my bond with Aaron, then with Aaron’s family. And that level of familiarity with the Jewish culture, and identification with Jewish beliefs. That I am a member of the community.
After the session, Homes wrote in her notes: “Then I talked about how much I appreciate the way in which he is different: how special it is that he knows he is in spite of all evidence. I don’t think he took that in, but we will work more on that. Really dealing with the true pain: not harrassment, REALITY. Great.” – Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt