Movies and television shows have a trend of cisgender men playing transgender women and vice versa — but not this time around.
At San Diego Comic Con this weekend, “Supergirl” producers revealed Nicole Maines will make history as television’s first transgender live-action superhero in season four of the series. She will play Nai Nal, super alias Dreamer.
“It feels crazy, to be honest,” Maines said according to Variety. “I’ve just been doing a lot of auditions lately because a lot of shows have been really eager to tell the stories of transgender people and especially transgender youth, because it’s such an important issue.”
She added it “seems only fitting that we have a trans superhero for trans kids to look up to.”
And according to Maines, her plotlines will be more than just about her being trans.
“Nia is so much more than just a trans superhero. She is a reporter, she is hopeful, she’s powerful, wise and such a good friend.”
She wants to make sure she does “it right” because “we’ve had trans representation in television for a while but it hasn’t been the right representation,” referring to trans women being played by cisgender men as either sex workers or drug addicts.
“They’re men in dresses and that was damaging for a long time” she said. “I think we’re in a time right now where more than ever representation in the media matters. And what we see on television has a very dramatic effect on our society.”
In reference to actress Scarlett Johansson backing out playing a transgender man after receiving online backlash, Maines believed the role would have made stereotypes of the trans community even worse.
“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,” she said. “We don’t see the same issue with sexuality, we see straight people play gay all the time. With trans folks we have a lot of people accusing us of just playing dress up for whatever reasons and that’s just not true. Having trans people play trans roles show that we are valid in our identities and we exist.”
Season four of “Supergirl” airs Oct. 14 on the CW.