Transgender activist and actress Nicole Maines will join ‘Supergirl’ for its fourth season.
Everyone can be super.
The CW’s “Supergirl” made history at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday by announcing that transgender activist Nicole Maines will join its cast as the first transgender superhero in TV history. The 20-year-old actress will appear in the show’s fourth season as Nia Nal, aka Dreamer, a trans character who is based on the DC Comics heroine Dream Girl, who can predict the deaths of others.
“It feels fitting to say, ‘With great power, comes great responsibility,’” Maines told Variety in an interview on Saturday. “I’m nervous because I want to do it right.”
Maines, who appeared in the HBO documentary “The Trans List,” also made headlines in 2014 when a Maine Supreme Court ruled in her favor after she was denied use of the girls’ bathroom in her school. She responded to the ruling in a self-penned Time story: “That day, my family and friends cried happy tears, and I felt that I was being acknowledged as an equal to my classmates and to the rest of my community, and no longer second class.”
Her casting comes amid the recent controversy around Scarlett Johansson, who received major backlash after signing on to play the role of a transgender man in the upcoming movie “Rub & Tug,” which renewed the debate about cisgender actors playing transgender roles in TV and film. The actress publicly announced that she would be backing out of the role in a statement that read: “In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project.”
But shows such as “Supergirl” and “Orange is the New Black” are making a point to feature more trans actors. “OITNB” propelled trans actress and LGBTQ advocate Laverne Cox to stardom through her groundbreaking role playing inmate Sophia Burset, making her the first trans woman of color to have a leading role in a mainstream television series. And “Pose,” FX’s dance musical which aired earlier this year and was just renewed for a second season, features five transgender actors in series regular roles — the largest for a scripted series in history — as well as the largest LGBTQ cast for a scripted series.
And TV in general is seeing more LGBTQ faces on the screen: Out of the 901 regular characters who appeared on primetime programming during the 2017/2018 season, 58 identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer, a 6.4% increase from 42 the previous year and the highest percentage the GLAAD annual report has ever found.
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