"Supergirl" had a big announcement at geek culture extravaganza Comic-Con on Saturday: The CW show is welcoming the first transgender superhero to TV.
Transgender activist and actress Nicole Maines will play Nia Nal, also known as Dreamer, who is described as a young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others.
Maines, who appeared on "Royal Pains" and "The Trans List," has been in the news for making positive steps for transgender people before. In January 2014, a Maine court ruled in her favor that her elementary school violated state anti-discrimination law after it determined she should use the staff restroom instead of the girls' bathroom.
The news that the DC Comics show will welcome a transgender character played by a transgender person shows a step toward inclusion onscreen at a time when Scarlett Johansson has faced backlash for signing on to play a transgender man. The overwhelming consensus from critics of Johansson's casting: Transgender characters should be played by transgender actors. (Johansson subsequently dropped out of the role.)
In an interview with Variety after the casting announcement, Maines said, "We've had representation on television for a while, but it hasn't been the right kind of representation." When she came out to her parents in the late 1990s and early 2000s, cisgender men portrayed trans woman on TV and "contributed to that idea that we are men in dresses," she said. "Now, it's very hopeful and relieving to watch creators and writers and directors and casting offices stepping up to put trans people in trans roles, so we can portray ourselves and we can start to disprove some of those stereotypes about us."
Maines said, "I'm beyond thrilled to be able to do that in a supersuit!"