Supergirl’s Nicole Maines opens up about being TV’s first transgender superhero

"It's validating"

In a new interview with The New York TimesNicole Maines has spoken out about being televisions first transgender superhero.

Ahead of her debut as Nia Nal, aka ‘Dreamer’ in Supergirl, Maines described her excitement at the casting and spoke about what her casting means for trans representation in the future.

Maines said it is “a phenomenal time to be a queer nerd” and spoke about the importance of children meeting her character for the first time.

“I think kids need to watch Supergirl for Nia, because there are more and more trans people coming out younger and younger…I think it is necessary to educate folks on trans issues and to make them aware of trans identities and normalise it, because it is normal.”

Maines added: “But when you’re shielded from something and it’s actively censored, it takes a negative connotation. If people are more educated and they’re more aware of these issues and [are] more familiar, they won’t feel so foreign.”

Maines also spoke about the importance of having a trans person playing a trans character, saying “it’s validating.” She went on: “When we have a trans woman playing a trans woman, then you see, ‘Oh wait, this is what trans really is. This is what it looks like: a person.’ That sends a message to trans kids that they are valid in their identities that they are allowed to exist.”

Maines continued: “It also sends a message to cisgender people, to parents, that trans people are not dangerous or sexually deviant or any of these myths that have kind of been construed by conservative outlets. It’s just an identity that people live.”

Nicole Maines at San Diego’s Comic-Con – Credit: Mike Coppola / Getty

After the announcement of her casting at San Diego’s Comic-Con earlier this year, Maines told  Variety: “I want fans to take away an understanding of trans people. We can be anybody, we can be who we want, we can be superheroes – because in many ways we are.”

She added: “We’ve had trans representation in television for a while but it hasn’t been the right representation…Having trans people play trans roles show that we are valid in our identities and we exist.”

The show’s creators described Nia Nal as a “soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others”.
Whilst the show has now started to air in the US, the show will not resume in the UK until October 22 on Sky 1 in the UK.