Identical Twin Boys Become Brother and Sister


For quite some time, people have argued that the idea of gender identity is a cultural phenomenon.  This is especially true in Westernized thinking, in which your gender defines you as an individual and within society.

Gender identity disorder has cast some suspicion on the entire concept of social gender roles.  Some individuals have become famous since their stories were made into movies or documentaries.  Classic examples include Teena Brandon (Boys Don’t Cry), Robert Eads (Southern Comfort) and Mi Vie En Rose.  In these cases, strength, violence and aggression are still defined as masculine and intuition, nurture and and softness as feminine.

And, in all of them, the focus is on an adult who has made the “decision” to change gender identities based on a widespread number of variables.

But now, a family in Orono, Maine has a story that contradicts the adult decisions and the idea that biology does not play a part in gender identity.  Wayne and Kelly Maines gave birth 14 years ago to identical twin boys, named Wyatt and Jonas.  By the age of four, Wyatt was playing with dolls and asking for skirts, while his brother was playing with Buzz Lightyear and pirate costumes.

At one point, according to the Boston Globe, after playing dress up in his mother’s sequins and heels, Jonas simply told his dad to “face it, he had a son AND a daughter.”

Wyatt has known since she was small that her gender identity is female.  She now goes by the name of Nicole and has never questioned her gender identity.  Nicole’s parents are another story.  Many parents question their children when they “come out” as having a different gender, claiming it as a phase, or an attention-seeking behavior.  Indeed, up until recently, many experts did not believe a child could know such a thing.

But now, the Children’s Hospital in Boston has a clinic called the Gender Management Clinic or GeMS. Norman Spack, an endocrinologist specializing in gender disorders, founded it as the first clinic in the Western Hemisphere that treats and evaluates transgender children or pubescents. Nicole Maines and her family are clients.

In the past, many children with a disorder of sexual differentiation (DSD) were seen as medical emergencies and their families were often not consulted in the treatment of the child.  This was often due to the lack of sensitivity and societal misunderstandings about gender assignment and the transgendered world.  Indeed, the Maines have had to move due to bullying and insensitivity issues. This has led to a lawsuit that Wayne has used as a teaching tool, telling his children “you can’t create change if you don’t get involved.”

Amen, Wayne.

Watch this and more of his remarks at a GLAD Spirit of Justice Award Dinner

Photo credit: k's glimpses


Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog5 years ago

I think that we still know very little about gender and gender identity, and sometimes nature surprises us! I'm just glad that the parents are supportive in what makes the child comfortable and happy, so that he/she can make good decisions for him/herself later on in life.

Sarah W.
Sarah W.6 years ago

Amber B. I agree with you 100%. God made you what you're supposed to be. Be happy with that and quit trying to change things!!!!!!

Jane R.
Jane R6 years ago

If twins are identical it means they are the same in every way. I don't get this. One may have amore femine side but that doesn't mean the child is or was meant to be female. Many little boys like to play with dolls. Many little girls like to play with cars but that doesn't alter their birth sex. It just shows an interest in something different than most people consider normal.

Brian M.
Past Member 6 years ago

What a beautiful story! If we really are the freest country on this planet, then why can't we just let everyone be who they are and live who they are and love whomever they will. Life is short. It could be a beautiful life if everyone were just allowed to be who they are. Why is that so hard?

Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

Well, I was a tomboy who hated pink, and my mother tried to push the girly clothes on me as a young child... I hated it. I think it's great when parents can support who their kids are. I discovered many things at a young age too. Kudos for being comfortable in your own skin!

gary k.
gary k.6 years ago

to James C. As I understand your position it is from a clinical and stutistical view point mine is from [excuse the phrase] up close and interactive view point. in my labors i have much as you have[stutistical] but in another line of work,i would say i have two points of a young boys [from birth] "gender influance"from a mother,grandmother and aunts.the fathers and any male influances were kept at a distance.[the young boy is a family member] from these and observations, friends and my own mistakes of fifty odd years, i have come to a conclusion that, the medical profesion could use more observations in the [so called ] real world ,and iam NOT belittling your profession nor your observations.
thank you

James Campbell
James Campbell6 years ago

gary K.

"one will never know the "help" that may have been given this young boy in making up his mind as to his gender"

I doubt that you, or anyone else, "made up" your mind as to your gender identity due to parental pressure. Almost 15 years of medical practice, with most of this time spent assessing and treating children and young people, has taught me that no amount of 'help', punishment, bribery, threats or attempts at brain washing will change an individual's gender identity. No one 'soaks up' the core of their gender identity from external influences. Gender dysphoria is an accepted medical condition in which the brain develops along a different pathway to the physical anatomy. Hypothetically speaking, however much the parents of this child may have wished that the situation was otherwise, attempting to either change the child's mind or persuade their 'son' that 'he' had to change to meet their preference for a daughter would have worked.They are to be applauded for the approach that they did take.
It always puzzles me how people acknowledge the existence of physical differences which they can see, but greet with skepticism any suggestion that the way in which the brain functions can differ from the rest of a person's anatomy.

James Campbell
James Campbell6 years ago

Pamela S.

"I'm not sure they do surgical proceedures that young".

It may interest you to know that 'reassignment' surgery is still performed on intersex infants soon after birth to 'normalise' them to match the chosen (by medical professionals and with parental agreement) gender role of rearing. The child in this story is not physically intersex, but was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. However, as she grows older the stress of not identifying with her virilised body may result in severe psychological trauma. In such cases, although surgery is not usually performed until the patient reaches maturity (18years in Europe). However, to delay the changes that will occur in puberty the youngster is often prescribed what is generally referred to as 'puberty blockers'.

Lindy E.
Belinda E6 years ago

Lori H - thanks for pointing out the link to the detailed story. There were so many links, that I didn't follow up any of them. For anyone else interested, the link in question is Jonas' quote, "you have a son AND a daughter."

It is perfectly obvious from the complete story, that Wyatt was a girl born in a boy's body. That happens sometimes, just like club feet or spina bifida. Now she has a chance to be happy.

Anne F.
Anne F6 years ago

We have so much to learn from our children. Thank you for the post.