As long as there’s crime to fight, the CW’s superheroes will be there to keep the Arrowverse safe. And there’s a new costumed crusader joining season 4 of Supergirl, who is making waves as the first transgender star of any superhero series. The Los Angeles Times reports that Nicole Maines will be portraying Nia Nal/Dreamer, a newer DC character that incorporates several other existing characters. It’s a huge step forward for representation in National City.
Maines, an actress and transgender activist, joined the Arrowverse panel at San Diego Comic-Con for the announcement. She described her character as a “wide-eyed” rookie reporter at CatCo, who works under Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl (Michelle Benoist). Supergirl’s powers and commitment to justice tend of rub off on her friends, and Nal is no exception. “She has this ferocious drive to protect people and fight against discrimination and hatred,” said Maines. Dreamer will apparently be based on Beautiful Dreamer, a comic character with psychic abilities, and Dreamer from the Young Justice animated show.
It’s clear that Dreamer’s power is going to come from a very real place, because Maines herself is a real-life superhero. In 2013, she successfully sued her school district for the right to use the bathroom that corresponds with her gender identity. The Orono school district instructed her that she needed to use the staff restroom. The case made it to the Supreme Court of Maine, where the court ruled that Maines’ rights had been violated under the state’s anti-discrimination law. In 2016, she discussed the case and being a teen transgender activist in a TED Talk. “We had to leave Orono,” said Maines, “because the school district could not and would not be reasoned with.” Winning the case allowed her to feel “affirmed and validated,” and gave her the space to grow up and be a normal teen.
Now, she’s still fighting for representation — this time, on television, where transgender characters are still preciously rare. She’s part of a huge step forward for representation in the Arrowverse, and our world.