‘Supergirl’ transgender superhero is historic TV first

Supergirl Transgender Character

Melissa Benoist stars as the title character in “Supergirl.”
In a historic first, Nicole Maines has been cast on “Supergirl” as TV’s first transgender superhero. Photo: Katie Yu/The CW.

In a historic first, Nicole Maines has been cast on “Supergirl” as TV’s first transgender superhero.

In a press release announcing the casting, Maines’ character (Nia Na aka Dreamer) is described as “the newest addition to the CatCo reporting team. A soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others, Nia’s journey this season means fulfilling her destiny as the superhero Dreamer (much like Kara came into her own as Supergirl).”

The series will return for its fourth season October 14. The release did not say when Maines’ character will debut.

After the announcement, Maines talked with the Variety at San Diego Comic Con on Saturday.

“We’ve had trans representation in television for a while, but it hasn’t been the right representation,” she told Variety.

Queer visibility at The CW also was in the news earlier in the week when the network said a series is in development about lesbian superhero Batwoman.

The CW also is home to “Black Lightning,” which has TV’s first black lesbian superhero.

Melissa Benoist plays the superheroine of the title in “Supergirl,” which premiered on the CW in 2015. The action-adventure drama is based on the DC Comics character Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin who, after 12 years of keeping her powers a secret on Earth, decides to finally embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was destined.

Maines, 21, also made headlines in 2014 when she sued a Maine school district and won the right to use the girls’ bathroom.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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