Nicole Maines

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Nicole Maines
Born (1997-10-07) October 7, 1997 (age 23)
Years active
  • 2015
  • 2018–present
Known for

Nicole Amber Maines (born October 7, 1997)[3][1] is an American actress and transgender rights activist.[4][5][2] She was the anonymous plaintiff, Susan Doe, in the Maine Supreme Judicial Court case Doe v. Regional School Unit 26 regarding gender identity and bathroom use in schools.[6] Maines, who is transgender, was barred from using the female bathroom after a complaint; however, the court ruled denying a transgender student access to the bathroom consistent with their gender identity is unlawful.

Maines has since worked as an actress; roles include a television series guest appearance in Royal Pains and a regular role as Nia Nal in Supergirl.

Early life and education[edit]

Maines and her identical twin brother Jonas were adopted at birth by Kelly and Wayne Maines; one of their biological parents was Kelly's second cousin.[3][7] Though they spent their early years in Gloversville, New York, they grew up in Portland, Maine.[3] Maines was assigned male at birth and said she knew she was not a boy as young as three years old.[8] Maines says she chose the name Nicole after the character Nicole Bristow on the Nickelodeon show Zoey 101.[9]

Maines attended the University of Maine, and according to her father chose not to return in the fall of 2018 in order to pursue acting.[10]

Doe v. Regional School Unit 26[edit]

Maines was Susan Doe in the landmark case Doe v. Regional School Unit 26, which is also referred to as Doe v. Clenchy. When Maines was in elementary school, the grandfather of a classmate complained about Maines using the girls' bathroom.[8] Following that incident, she was barred from using the female bathroom and forced to use the staff bathroom. Maines and her family sued the school district, claiming the school was discriminating against her. In June 2014, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the school district violated the state's Human Rights Act, and prohibited the district from barring transgender students access to bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. Maines and her family were provided compensation of $75,000 following the discrimination lawsuit.[11][12][13]


In 2015, Maines and her family were the subject of Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, a book by Washington Post writer Amy Ellis Nutt. It chronicles the family coming to terms with Maines' being transgender.[14] In June 2015, Maines appeared on the USA Network show Royal Pains as a transgender teen whose hormones might be endangering her health.[15] In 2016, Maines was one of 11 individuals featured in an HBO documentary titled The Trans List. In the documentary, Maines and several other people relate their personal stories of being transgender.[16]

In July 2018 it was announced that Maines would appear as a series regular in the fourth season of The CW series Supergirl. She appeared as Nia Nal, a distant relative of Legion member Dream Girl, and as such played the first transgender superhero on television.[6] Her character is described as a "soulful woman with a fierce drive to protect others." The character is a new reporter whom Kara takes under her wing.[17]

In 2019 Maines starred in Bit, a horror movie about queer female vampires, winning the top acting prize at the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival.[18]


Year Title Role Notes
2015 Royal Pains Anna Episode: "The Prince of Nucleotides"
2016 The Trans List Herself Documentary
2017 Not Your Skin
2018–present Supergirl Nia Nal / Dreamer Main cast (season 4–present)
2019 Bit Laurel
2020 Legends of Tomorrow Nia Nal Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Five"


Year Award Awarding Organization Source
2011 Roger Baldwin American Civil Liberties Union of Maine [19][20]
2012 P.E. Pentlarge EqualityMaine
2014 Community Organizing Hardy Girls Healthy Women [21][22]
Samantha Smith Maine Women’s Fund [23][24]
Woman of the Year Glamour Magazine [25][26]
2015 Spirit of Matthew Award Matthew Shepard Foundation [23]
Young Women’s Social Justice Award Maryann Hartman Awards [27][28]
2016 Outstanding Individual Episode for a series without a regular LGBT character 27th GLAAD Media Awards [29]
2018 Visibility Award Human Rights Campaign of Chicago [30][31]
2019 Andy Cray Award for Health & Youth Advocacy Trans Equality Now [32][33]
Grand Jury Prize for Best Performance Outfest [34][35]
Outstanding Supporting or Guest Actor Playing an LGBTQ+ Character in a Sci-Fi Series Autostraddle's Second Annual Gay Emmys [36]
2020 Upstander Award Human Rights Campaign [37]


  1. ^ a b Nutt, Amy Ellis. Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. USA: Random House. p. 14. ISBN 9780812995435.
  2. ^ a b "#Pride50: Nicole Maines — TV's first transgender superhero".
  3. ^ a b c Ellis Nutt, Amy (October 19, 2015). "They were born identical twin boys, but one always felt he was a girl". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  4. ^ "Nicole Maines Shares Her Story About Coming Out As Transgender". Shape.
  5. ^ Kerr, Alec. "Being Nicole: Transgender activist, 'Supergirl' star subject of One Book One Valley community read". The Conway Daily Sun.
  6. ^ a b Lopez, Julyssa. "Actress and Activist Nicole Maines Will Be TV's First Transgender Superhero". Glamour. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  7. ^ Miller, Lisa. "'Becoming Nicole,' by Amy Ellis Nutt". The New York Times. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Ellen, 9 October 2018.
  9. ^ "How identical twin boys became brother and sister". ABC News. October 19, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  10. ^ Routhier, Ray (July 12, 2018). "Nicole Maines, who played big role in fight for transgender rights, will star in vampire flick". Press Herald. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  11. ^ JOHN DOE et al. v. REGIONAL SCHOOL UNIT 26 (Maine Supreme Judicial Court January 30, 2014).Text
  12. ^ Stout, David (December 3, 2014). "Transgender Teen Awarded $75,000 in Lawsuit". Time. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  13. ^ Russell, Eric (October 15, 2015). "With release of new book, transgender Maine teen finds her voice". Press Herald.
  14. ^ "Pulitzer-winning writer discusses book about transgender Maine teen Nicole Maines". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  15. ^ "Royal Pains Books Nicole Maines for Transgender Episode". E! Online. June 17, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  16. ^ "UMaine student Nicole Maines shares her story in HBO's 'The Trans List'". Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. December 5, 2016. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  17. ^ Hoey, Dennis (July 22, 2018). "Nicole Maines lands transgender superhero role on network TV series". Press Herald. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  18. ^ "Nicole Maines's Outfest Award Is a Win for Trans and Horror Films". July 29, 2019. Retrieved August 10, 2020.
  19. ^ "Wayne Maines speaks about "Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family"". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  20. ^ "Nicole Maines". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  21. ^ "Girls Rock Awards 2014 Community Organizing Award Winner: Nicole Maines". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  22. ^ "Hassan, Abdi win Girls Rock! Awards". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  23. ^ a b Collins, Kayla (November 20, 2015). "Rising Star: The Activist – The face and voice of a minority". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  24. ^ "2015 Samantha Smith Awardee". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  25. ^ Hofflich, Jessica (June 23, 2015). "Transgender teenager Nicole Maines to guest star in "Royal Pains" episode". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  26. ^ Jeltsen, Melissa (November 14, 2014). "Nicole Maines, History-Making Transgender Teen, Honored By Glamour Magazine". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  27. ^ "2015 Maryann Hartman Award Recipients Announced". March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  28. ^ "Nominations welcome for Women of Achievement, Young Women's Social Justice Awards". June 23, 2015. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  29. ^ "Royal Pains Wins a GLAAD Award for Transgender Teen Storyline". May 16, 2016. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  30. ^ "Nicole Maines to be honored with HRC Chicago Visibility Award". October 22, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  31. ^ "Nicole Maines Honored with HRC Visibility Award in Chicago". October 22, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  32. ^ "TEN awards spotlight Nicole Maines". May 22, 2019. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  33. ^ "Gratitude in glass Skaneateles area artist makes national transgender awards". Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  34. ^ "And the Winners of Outfest 2019 Are..." July 29, 2019. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  35. ^ "Nicole Maines's Outfest Award Is a Win for Trans and Horror Films". July 29, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  36. ^ "Presenting the Winners of Autostraddle's Second Annual Gay Emmys!". September 18, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  37. ^ "HRC Foundation's 2020 Time to THRIVE Conference Comes to a Close". February 16, 2020. Retrieved May 8, 2020.

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