The CW's Supergirl has been making history for multiple seasons now after the introduction of Nia Nal/Dreamer (Nicole Maines), the first transgender superhero in a mainstream live-action superhero adaptation. Over the past two seasons, Maines' performance - as well as her offscreen work as a trans rights activist - has helped provide an incredibly positive example of transgender representation, but it sounds like the actress would like for that representation to further evolve. In a recent interview with Variety as part of their Power of Pride list, Maines advocated for getting to a point where transgender characters are able to be depicted as imperfectly as cisgender characters often are.
“I think it’s that more and more trans characters [can] be less than perfect and be a–holes and be the villains,” Maines explained. “We can look at them, and be like, ‘They’re just people. They make poor choices. They can be bad people. They can be not nice.’ Trans-ness is not a person. A person is not identified by their trans-ness.”
While there definitely have been negative examples of transgender characters being boiled down to villains, Maines' argument about more dynamic representation definitely rings true. As the actress went on to explain, the scarcity of transgender characters in mainstream media made her approach initially playing Nia very gingerly.
“When I first started playing Nia, I was really nervous to kind of show her in any way that wasn’t favorable," Maines revealed. "I was very nervous to show her making poor choices or have her react poorly to something. I needed her to be a success. I needed Dreamer and Nia to be untouchable.“
"The representation is really on the shoulders of just a few," Maines continued. "So everything that happens to those characters is reflective of the rest of the trans community. If we’re anything less than perfect, that’s going to reflect poorly on the rest of us.”
Maines has spoken about that complex responsibility in the past, previously telling ComicBook.com how much that significance means to her.0comments
"Being able to be political and to stick up for minority and marginalized people, while doing something that you love, while making entertainment, feels really, really great," Maines said in an interview with ComicBook.com last year. "Being able to go to work every day and be like, 'I am making a difference. I am adding to the conversation.' That feels really good. When you're having a bad day and you're like, 'You know, but this show means so much to so many people," Then, seeing every time something happens on TV and how people react to it on social media. That's like, 'Wow, this is a tangible difference.'"
Supergirl is expected to return with new episodes sometime in 2021.
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