CW's 'Supergirl' Casts Transgender Rights Activist as First Trans TV Superhero
Jul 23 2018
'I haven't really wrapped my head around it, ' she said during Variety's panel. In January 2014, a ME court ruled in her favour that her elementary school violated state anti-discrimination law after it determined she should use the staff restroom instead of the girls' bathroom.
Maines reveals her character's storyline doesn't necessarily revolve around her being trans. "Nia is so much more than 'the trans superhero, '" she explains, calling out television's habit of focusing exclusively on a trans character's trans experience.
Maines came out to her parents in the late '90s/early 2000s when trans women were being portrayed by cisgender men as either sex workers or drugs addicts, an image Maines is hoping to break with her new role. "I wish there was a trans superhero when I was little".
LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD in 2017 identified only 17 regular and recurring trans characters on television. "We can be anybody, we can be who we want, we can be superheroes - because in many ways we are". "We've seen that. But trans people have lives outside of our gender identity and our transness".
She added: "I think that cis gender actors don't take roles out of malice, it's just a failure to realize the context of having cis gender people play trans gender characters".
Maines appeared in the HBO documentary The Trans List, and guest starred on the USA Network series Royal Pains in 2015. David Ajala (Nightflyers, Doctor Who) is also on board, albeit in a recurring role rather than a series regular one, as the devilishly charming and witty Manchester Black, described as the kind of man who can best his enemies in any situation - even when he "brings a knife to a gunfight".
Melissa Benoist plays the superheroine of the title in "Supergirl", which premiered on the CW in 2015 and has aired 65 episodes across its first three seasons.