The CW's "Supergirl" will be introducing TV's first ever transgender superhero in the upcoming fourth season, the show announced during its San Diego Comic-Con panel Saturday.
Variety spoke with trans activist to discuss her newly acquire role as Nia Nal (AKA Dreamer) and what this means for the trans community.
Described as "a soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others", Nia won't be a full-fledged vigilante at the start of the fourth season of Supergirl.
Nura Nal, the Legion of Super-Heroes member known as Dreamer in the comics, was an alien with precognitive abilities. At CatCo she'll work alongside Kara Danvers, the civilian identity of Supergirl (series star Melissa Benoist).
Nicole Maines says she wants viewers to realise that a trans character's plotline doesn't have to revolve around them being trans.
The new character, Nia Nal, will be introduced as an employee of CatCo Worldwide Media, the organisation where much of the series is set. "It seems only fitting that we have a trans superhero for trans kids to look up to".
Maines was featured in the HBO documentary The Trans List and is the subject of the book Becoming Nicole by author Amy Ellis Nutt. There will apparently be many parallels between her journey to self-discovery and destiny fulfillment with Supergirl herself - we'll just have to wait and see what those similarities will be. "And what we see on television has a very dramatic effect on our society".
"I think that cis gender actors don't take roles out of malice, it's just a failure to realize the context of having cis gender people play trans gender characters".
"We don't see the same issue with sexuality, we see straight people play gay all the time". David Ajala also takes on the recurring role of Manchester Black, a Superman villain from the DC Comics lore.
Based on the iconic DC character, Manchester Black (Ajala) is the type of guy who brings a knife to a gunfight and still walks away the victor.