The actress said she was "blessed and very lucky to grow up in the environment that I did and to have the parents that I did"

By Benjamin VanHoose
July 02, 2020 09:30 AM
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Nicole Maines
Nicole Maines
| Credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

Nicole Maines is reflecting on her noteworthy origin story.

In a new LinkedIn News video as part of the #OutOnLinkedIn series, the Supergirl star, 22, reflects on her journey leading up to becoming the first transgender superhero on television. Maines, who plays Nia Nal (aka Dreamer) on the series, said she was "blessed" to grow up in a supportive household.

"I transitioned very, very young and I was very, very blessed and very lucky to grow up in the environment that I did and to have the parents that I did," said Maines. "They were never outright belligerent of me, and they never sat me down and told me that I was wrong and that I was going to hell for who I was."

"I asked them when I was going to get to be a girl because to me it was just the most natural thing in the world and it felt instinctual and it felt right," she added.

The Maine native explained what it was like to begin transitioning in elementary school, recalling a conducive environment at first, before a bathroom debate soured her early years.

"I first started transitioning in first grade; it was a very, very good relationship between my family and the school, and we took it very, very slow," she said, adding, however, "When they faced pushback from the special interest Christian right group, who said that my using the girls' bathroom, wasn't okay, they buckled."

According to Maines, her school assigned a "bodyguard" to oversee her when she used a staff bathroom separate from her classmates.

"They just sent a message to the rest of the community that said, 'Hey, here's this student who is so different from the rest of you that she cannot be permitted to exist in the same public spaces,'" Maines said of the situation. "People pick up on that, and we started facing harassment from folks that we had never had issues with before."

Nicole Maines
Nicole Maines in Supergirl
| Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW

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Maines said the situation led to a breaking point, and her family filed a suit, which went on to set a legal precedent for public bathrooms. "It came from a place of trying to do the right thing," she said, "trying to get justice for what happened. Standing up and saying enough is enough."

Before she was showing off her superpowers on the small screen, Maines said she was drawn to acting as a career because she loved playing dress-up as a child.

"As the little trans kid who couldn't transition and couldn’t be who I wanted to be for the first few years of my life, dress-up was the one opportunity that I had to wear clothes and portray characters that I can see myself in and that I identified with," Maines said.

"I was always reenacting my favorite scenes in my favorite movies," she continued. "It was just grownups playing dress-up, and I thought that was the coolest thing on the planet."

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In 2018, Maines opened up to PEOPLE about when she realized her authentic gender identity, recalling how she noticed differences between herself and her twin brother Jonas.

"Growing up with him, I could see him identifying with all of our 'boy toys' and everything and he would be really comfortable in his skin and in his gender," she said at the time. "And at the same time, I wasn’t."

"I thought it was the most natural thing in the world," Maines said. "I went up to my parents at 3 or 4 years old and I asked them when I would get to be a girl because I just expected that I would be."