Television’s First Transgender Superhero Will Arrive on ‘Supergirl’

Posted July 22, 2018 4:10 p.m. EDT

The first transgender superhero on television will soon arrive, on The CW’s “Supergirl.” Nicole Maines has been cast as Nia Nal, who will come to the fictional National City in the show’s fourth season and receive guidance and training from the title character.

The casting was announced at the show’s panel at Comic-Con in San Diego on Saturday. “I’ve been doing a lot of auditions lately because a lot of different shows have been really eager to tell the story of transgender people,” Maines said onstage. “It seems only fitting that we have a trans superhero for trans kids to look up to. I wish there was a trans superhero when I was little.”

Maines is a transgender activist who, in a landmark case in 2014, successfully sued her school district after being denied access to the girl’s restroom at her school. She was the subject of the book “Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family” and was featured in the HBO documentary “The Trans List.” Her acting credits are scant so far: She made a guest appearance on “Royal Pains” in 2015 and will star in the upcoming vampire film “Bit.”

Nia Nal, her character on “Supergirl,” is a new reporter at the media company CatCo who is taken under the wing of fellow journalist and superhero Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl (played by Melissa Benoist). “She has this ferocious drive to protect people and to fight against discrimination and hatred,” Maines said of her character.

Nia Nal shares a last name with DC Comics character Nura Nal, aka Dream Girl, a clairvoyant member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The relationship between the two characters has yet to be revealed.

“Our show is all about inclusion and representation,” Jessica Queller, an executive producer, said in an interview at Comic-Con with Clevver News. “It seems the perfect moment in our culture to introduce a trans female superhero.”

The number of transgender characters in the comics world is limited but growing. In the comic Batgirl, the title character’s best friend is Alysia Yeoh, a transgender woman. And Chalice, a transgender superhero, made her debut in Alters in 2016.