that's about it. this is easier but very hard to recreate. i said to an archivist, what would the houses smell like? he said go to someone's plantation. brilliant. i hasn't thought of it. i said to the women, what were the worst months of the year and every single one of them said january and february, which is precisely when the witchcraft broke out. just saying. >> thank you very much. [applause] thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> this is a booktv on c-span2. television for serious readers. here's our primetime lineup for this sunday evening.
"becoming nicole." who is nicole? >> guest: nicole was born and identical twin boys in 1997. born and given the name why it. this is a child from the age of two, two-and-a-half, identifiedn as a girl. when i say identified as a girl, didn't say to her parents i think i'm the girl. said window i get to be a girl? you know, when do i get to look like a girl? believed she was a girl. to middle-class ordinary parents living in the state of maine need to figure out what that was about. >> host: how do they figure it out, or did they? >> guest: they did. they who of the book is really l the mother, kelly. these twins were adopted at birth.ke kelly new it what you things that most to her as a mother.
make sure that her children were safe and happy. and she knew she could control to safeguard. she had to understand the happy part because she knew this child was unhappy when she didn't get to play with the toys that she wanted or a father who was conservative, republican, veteran, you know, was really unsure about who this child was and resisted it. but kelly was determined. and so she did very early what a lot of us do, she googled the words boys who like girls. and that became the beginning of her odyssey to understand that you never heard the word transgender. so she began to become a student of the and to understand it to try to bring husband into it. it took her longer to do that. it took him longer by the spotted one who undergoes the most transformation in the book.
he is now somebody goes out andt gives talks to people about transgender kids and children of being transgender and especially of helping to work with others to understand their children post but what about the otherr twin boy? >> guest: jonas is a remarkable remarkable kid. they are both now entering their sophomore year in college at two different branches of the university of maine.onas was wonderful about jonas is that joe is really probably kne before anyone. kids would come up to him and sometimes they turn, what is alike to have a transgenderr sister? and he didn't know. he just knew he had a twin that was really a girl, not a boy. when they were both very young, basically said to his father,, t dad, face it, you have a son an. a daughter. and it was kind of a wakeup call
for wayne to realize out of the, mouth of babes, it was much out telling me that his brothers really his sister. said jonas had to go on a journey, too, helping other people understand, to be protective of his sister when she was discriminated against in the fifth grade and bullied, and then told by staff at their middle school that she would have to use the teachers rested anand not the girls revered shia already changed her name, dressing as a girl for all intents and purposes was nicole and it was tough on jonas. he had to be sort of big brother, and at the same time he said to me very profoundly, you know, i'm a kid and a sixth grade vocabulary so it's hard tr talk to people to try to make them understand. so he struggled with it, but they are very close. they are both very different in a lot of ways, and they are each
one of his best friends and hosw protectors. >> host: what was the first step in becoming nicole? wants it clothes? wants it name? >> guest: i think about it was, the first evidence to the parents certainly worth a close. nicole, born wyatt, she would pull her shirt over her head to make it look like it was long hair. she wanted to wear her mother's jewelry.end, you she wanted pashtun these are obviously the first signs and a lot of kids go through these bases but this was consistent and this was constant. and then there were things saying, you know, should actually say that he, windows my fall off? so this was a child who wasn't saying i feel like i am a girl. this was a child who knew she
was a girl. but couldn't understand being a child why people were treating her like a boy. >> host: winded surgeryy happen?su >> guest: -- when did ? >> guest: surgery happen last summer after she graduates from high school. local was one of the first cases of an american child at the children's gender clinic in boston, the first one in this country establishing 2007 under dr. norman spock, her doctor. was one of the first to have puberty suppressed associate time to go through all the psychological test, had the time to dress and act and be a girl in order to know for certain that this was who she was. and then when puberty was going to start for they could see in a twin brother when it was starting, that was when they started her on estrogen. and so she was going to have the
surgery until high school. she wanted to do it before college. this is a different important step. so many people go through puberty and when they decide to make a transition, don't make it until they are adults.he it is especially difficult for female transgender people because they've got through male puberty. and surgically on has to be done. she didn't have to taste thatat problem. she went through female puberty at the right time. so she's been able to have the right development and at the right time as other young women. she's a beautiful young woman. she's happy and thrilled and has a boyfriend and is about as normal a kid as you come across. it's the beauty of this film is because they are ordinary in so many ways. they are extraordinary in how they dealt with the situation.
but they are ordinary in being an every man family. they are your mother and fathero your sister and your brother. it would be hard not to identify with his family. to the degree that that could normalize for people what it means to be transgender and what it means to be transgender nimbler -- member in a family, then i think it spreads the message and dedicates people just by the presence. >> host: you're a science writer at the "washington post" the how did you find this storyd >> guest: the story actually found me honestly. it was first published in the newspaper, in "the boston globe," page one, in to, t december 2011. marty baron, executive editor of the "washington post," has been executive editor of "the boston globe," very farseeing editor who promoted this story. i was fascinated by it. and i was contacted. i did know that they were being represented at the time, i
summon i don't 30 years earlier in boston. she reached out to me because the family was getting a lot ofp publicity requests. a were uncomfortable with doing anything more than that. they wanted to protect their kids and have them grow up, have them a normal teenage life, but they knew that down the line after they graduate high schoolh they would want this story to bc told. she contacted me because she knew i'd written a book, and so this story came to me but i remember saying to my agent, this is fascinating. the fact they were identical twins is an important aspect conducts when the science and what we know about the brain and gender. th i said, but you think anyone is going to want to read a book about a transgender kid? that was five years ago and the world has changed dramatically since then. honestly it's a serendipitous publication of this. >> host: what's the estimated population of transgender in the u.s.? >> guest: honestly the best estimates are grossly inadequa
inadequate. the ones you've read most legally by between seven and 800,000. those figures are based on 10 year old surveys of three states. it's impossible to know. it really is, and i'm waiting for the next sort of stage where we can get a better estimate of that. but, of course, we face the same problems in people not identifying as transgender, or no one to identify. so honestly i think we really,t we don't know.w. what i learned from doing this book is i always about the phrase gender spectrum was very nice, politically correct, lovely phrase.y but it really is true that this is not exceedingly rare, that one in 200 kids are born with a typical -- are born with atypical genitalia. there are many, many different kinds of variations of
chromosomal dna, people can be born ask y. y., x. x. y. come insensitive to enter jenin, to testosterone or not. so there is no average male or female. we really are expected in many ways. so i learned as we're beginning to learn the science of this, your anatomy is set in you grow at six weeks. scientists believe your gender identity process in the brain does not occur until six months in utero. so think of all the things that can happen between six weeks and six months that affect the brain, this is why identical twins can have the exact same dna but they get different chemical messages from the get f mother even where their position in the world. pedigree -- womb. the degree of facts the
distribution of hormones, the variability in how our brains are set is nearly infinite. >> host: so what kind of testing did wyatt had to go through to become the call may in some before even surgery happen for anything like that? >> guest: back then it wasonestl before really genetic testing. what she went through was mostly was psychological tests. and also physiological tests, you know, to understand her anatomy. but it was mostly a series of psychological test and this is one thing why they delay puberty and suppress puberty so that the child can live as the gender that they believe they are for as long as possible, to be fully confident that that's who they are. look, there are a lot of kids
who test the boundaries, and boys to like to dress up as girls and girls that were tomboys, and these are temporary. these are things that are experimented. not all children who do that or transgender, but a child who sits at the age of two when do i get to be a girl, and has a constantly and consistently, that's a transgender child. >> host: amy ellis nutt is the author of "becoming nicole: the transformation of an american family." she's also a co-author of the teenage brain, she won the pulitzer prize while working at the ledger for what? >> guest: it was for a series called the wreck of the lady mary. it was a story, true story based on the sinking of a boat off the coast of cape made in 2009. six of the seven crew died.
the seventh survived. the accident happened so quickly that he didn't know what happened. so the story was, on the one hand and narrative about what happened to these men and their families, but also an investigation. i basically make the case, i think it's a strong case, that they were the victims of the high seas hit and run by a container ship, a german is were containership that didn't stop. and its industry and it's anery investigation. it's a story about people. >> host: amy ellis nutt also spent nine years as a fact checker at "sports illustrated." a little bit of her career. "becoming nicole" is the bookg which we've been talking with her about. here is. ..