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August 31, 2023 56 mins

With all of the misinformation and laws taking rights away from trans youth and their parents who want to support them through a tricky childhood, it’s time to hear from someone who lived it. Transgender actress and activist Nicole Maines first rose to prominence as a teenager fighting for her civil rights. Not long after winning a groundbreaking legal challenge, she found herself cast as the first transgender superhero in television history playing Dreamer on The CW’s Supergirl. She is thriving, in love, having a blast in her career and now basically living the life of her dreams. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing growing up trans. And the fight is definitely not over.

Please rate, review, subscribe and share The Laverne Cox Show with everyone you know. You can find Laverne on Instagram and Twitter @LaverneCox and on Facebook at @LaverneCoxForReal.

As always, stay in the love.

This episode was recorded before the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Links of Interest:

Becoming Nicole: The inspiring story of transgender actor-activist Nicole Maines and her extraordinary family 

The Trans List Trailer (Facebook)

The Trans List: In Conversation (YouTube)

Doe v. Clenchy aka Doe v. Regional School Unit 26 

Gavin Grimm (Washington Post)

Television’s First Transgender Superhero Will Arrive on ‘Supergirl’ (New York Times, 2018)

Gay Berlin by Robert Beachy

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Episodes Mentioned and Further Listening:

Reclaiming the Trans Narrative w/ Chase Strangio & Miss Peppermint 

Pushing Back Against Anti-Trans Media & Policies w/ Chase Strangio

Ending Violence Toward Trans People w/ Dr. Karen Franklin

CREDITS:

Executive Producers: Sandie Bailey, Alex Alcheh, Lauren Hohman, Tyler Klang & Gabrielle Collins

Producer & Editor: Brooke Peterson-Bell

Associate Producer: Akiya McKnight

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to The Laverne Cox Show, a production of shondaland
Audio in partnership with iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:09):
It all boiled back down to trying to erase us
from public existence. They're saying, oh, you can't be in
sports because you have an advantage, and we say, okay, well,
if we can get the care when we want to
that advantage which really doesn't exist in the first place,
but just entertaining you, this hypothetical advantage, imagined, imagined advantage
wouldn't even exists if we can get the healthcare that

(00:31):
we want before puberty.

Speaker 1 (00:37):
Hello everyone, and welcome to the Laverne Cox Show. My
name is Laverne Cox. In twenty thirteen, when Orange, Diet
and New Black premiered on Netflix, there were no transactors
with recurring roles on television at the time, and it

(00:58):
almost feels a cliche, but all the stories I've heard
from people all over the world about how the characters
I've played on television have helped them see themselves more,
helped family members of theirs see them and accept them,
giving people courage to come out as trans to transition,

(01:21):
representation matters, and speaking of representation mattering, today's guest is
an openly transgender person who transitioned as a child, and
there is so much misinformation and propaganda about children transitioning,
and I think it's so important for us to hear
from trans people, and particularly hear from trans young people,

(01:44):
and hear from people who transitioned as kids. She is
an historic figure already at the age of twenty five,
and she is just so incredibly delightful. Our guest for
today is Nicole Mains. Nicole Mayins is an actress and
transgender rights activist. Before her acting career, she was the
anonymous plaintiff in the main Supreme Court case Doe versus

(02:08):
Regional School Unit twenty six. The ruling in twenty fourteen
supporting bathroom choices for transgender students was the first ruling
of its kind by state court. As an actress, Nicole
is best known for playing TV's first transgender superhero on
the CW series Supergirl, a rule that will cross over

(02:28):
onto the next season of The Flash. Mains has been
nominated for a Glad Media Award and was a Variety
Magazines Power of Young Hollywood and Power Pride honoree for
her activism. Mains is an Upstanderd Award honoree given by
the LGBTQ plus advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign. On
top of all this, she is also a graphic novelist

(02:51):
for DC Comics and has co written a New York
Times bestseller, Becoming Nicole, The Transformation of an American Family.
Please enjoy My Conversation with Nicole Mains. This episode was
recorded prior to the Saga after Strike. Hello, Nicole Mains,

(03:16):
Welcome to the podcast. How are you feeling.

Speaker 2 (03:18):
I am feeling so excited. I am so happy to
finally be talking to you and having this conversation, and
thank you very much for having me.

Speaker 1 (03:26):
Thank you. We will definitely have one offline too. I
would love to let folks know how we met for
the first time. You thought I didn't remember, Becky. There's
a wonderful HBO documentary called The Translist that was co
directed by Janet Mock. And when I went to do
my interview, you were leaving. Yeah, and I believe you

(03:49):
had blue hair at.

Speaker 2 (03:50):
The time, Thank you very much. It was green.

Speaker 1 (03:53):
It was green. You had green hair at the time,
and you were leaving, and of course I knew who
you were because of your case in Maine, and this
is before you were acting, And I don't know, what
do you remember about the translist in that moment in
your lives?

Speaker 2 (04:09):
Well, I mean I remember being the sickest I have
ever been when we were recording that, and so watching
it when we watched it back at the premiere, I
was like, wow, I sound like I'm about an inch
away from death. But I remember being so excited to
do it. And I think that was the first time
I met Janet too, but it was I had a

(04:33):
really great time doing that interview because that was one
of the first times I remember that I had gotten
to tell my own story and I had gotten to
use my own voice in my own words. And I mean,
you know, everyone's constantly controlling the narrative around us and
constantly speaking over us and speaking for us and telling

(04:54):
our stories, and especially as a trans use, it was always.

Speaker 1 (04:59):
How old were you at the time, So this is
twenty fifteen, twenty sixteen, so.

Speaker 2 (05:03):
You would have been seventeen eighteen.

Speaker 1 (05:06):
Oh my goodness. Wow.

Speaker 2 (05:08):
Yeah, So that was one of the first times that
I had really gotten to say what I wanted to
say and in my way, and that was really empowering.

Speaker 1 (05:18):
Do you remember what you said in that interview that
like you really needed to say and wanted to say
for a long time. I mean, we knew you because
of the case do versus Regional School Unit twenty six.
What did you feel like you needed to say in
that documentary more than anything else?

Speaker 2 (05:36):
I mean, the thing that had always been on my mind,
And this was a journey that had started actually long
before then, but really culminated in the fifth grade when
everything you know and sha at the vans am I
allowed to curse?

Speaker 1 (05:50):
Yes, absolutely, Oh, thank god, curse.

Speaker 2 (05:55):
Be Oh, this is going to be a long interview.
We're going to talk about trans rites and can't curse.
But I remember when all the shit hit the fan,
and the thought that was just like constantly going through
my head was like, what is everybody getting so up
in arms about? I just want to go use the bathroom.

(06:17):
These are the girls who have been my friends, These
are the girls who I have had sleepovers with, who
I have shared a bed with. No one was talking
to me, No one was talking to my friends. Everybody
was getting these accounts and opinions from folks I didn't
have classes with, folks who I didn't know, and doing

(06:37):
that interview for me, I was able to finally just say, like,
what is the big FM deal? Like, what is going on?
I felt like I was in the twilight zone.

Speaker 1 (06:47):
So we should go back a little bit. You are
obviously trans and you transitioned as a child, and I think,
if I recall correctly and doing research, was like three
years old. You told your parents, yeah, four years old,
and you have an identical twin, ap an identical twin
as well. Yeah, and do you want to talk a
little bit about that process of chatting with your parents

(07:08):
and the age and you were like, this is not
this whole assigned male at birth thing isn't really working
for me?

Speaker 2 (07:13):
I mean I and so I get so fired up
over anytime people talk about the grooming or talking about
oh who made you this way? Who trans you? And
I just I'm like, I feel that I am such
a like perfect case of like nobody told me, I

(07:33):
did all of the things that people want us to do.
Grow up in a perfectly nuclear household, grow up you know,
in a rural, small town conservative My dad was a Republican.
You know, I feel like we did all the things
we were supposed to do, and I still had this
instinctual feeling of difference, and as soon as I was

(07:55):
able to tell the societal differences between girls and bold,
I knew where on that spectrum I was falling, and
I knew where on that spectrum my brother was falling.
And he was kind of my control group through all
of it, because I was like, Okay, I see how
he's interacting with the world around us. I see And
I mean, you know, identical twins. Everyone wanted us to

(08:15):
be clones, which is I've always thought it was fucking weird.

Speaker 1 (08:18):
I know, it's that's a whole other podcast, super weird.

Speaker 2 (08:22):
But I was like, I am not the same as him.
I am having a different relationship with all of these things.

Speaker 1 (08:29):
And you knew who you were. I think the biggest
piece is that you knew at three years old who
you were, and as soon as you could tell someone,
you did. And I think that is when we look
at all the sort of propaganda right now around trans kids,
we're missing that and your process around socially transitioning. I mean,

(08:52):
there's so much misinformation and misconceptions about like trans kids
and what happens, and I you know, I'm not into
focusing on medical transition. I think that stuff is private. Yeah,
but what do you want to say about your social
transition transition as a child, what that evolution was like?
And then you know, let's talk about fifth grade when

(09:15):
the ship was the ban well.

Speaker 2 (09:16):
I think before I say that, I want to say
the amazing and remarkable thing about children is this innocent bravery.
I think that they all had. And like you said,
as soon as I could say something, I did. Because
hate is learned, bigotry has learned, the two perfectly shaped
male and female boxes are learned. For me, it was

(09:38):
such an instinctual, natural thing, and I did not know
that there was anything wrong I'm using air quotes for
those listening, anything wrong with what I was feeling. I
just had felt like, oh, okay, I will bring this
to my parents because clearly, my all knowing, protective parents
will know what to do certainly. And it was through

(09:58):
people's reactions that I realized, oh, is this not a
normal thing. But when we're talking about other people's reactions,
other kids were not the ones with the problems. Before
I started socially transitioning, it was part of my introduction.
I would say, Hi, my name's Wyatt. I'm a boy
who wants to be a girl. What's your name? And
someone would say, Hi, I'm Ryan. I like the color

(10:19):
red and fire trucks. It was on the same that
same level of normalcy for me.

Speaker 1 (10:23):
How old were you when you would introduce yourself this way?

Speaker 2 (10:26):
Oh, this looks first grade because I was at a
new school and nobody knew the situation, and I just
wanted everyone to know that.

Speaker 1 (10:31):
I was like this, Wow, and the kids, you know,
it's so funny. Years ago, a dear friend of mine,
Mila Can I'll say, Mela jam I've known her since
before she transitioned, and she she toured in written so
she's done does musicals, and she did musicals, still does,
and she's a recording artist. And she had done a
musical before she transitioned. And then after she transitioned, the

(10:52):
director wanted to bring her back, but now playing a
woman's role. And Mela had met the director's daughter before
she transitioned, and so she sees the daughter again and
the and the director says, oh, this is Mela. She
used to be you know, blah blah, and she's a
girl now. And I think her daughter was like, you know,

(11:13):
six years old, He's like, oh cool, let's play. Yeah,
and it was like.

Speaker 2 (11:18):
It's so remarkably uninteresting to kids. Yeah, they so don't care.

Speaker 1 (11:23):
It's so boring unless they're taught to care and taught
that it's an issue, right, that hatred is learned. I
just I love telling that story because it was just like, Okay,
let's play. It wasn't like.

Speaker 2 (11:37):
I was getting lessons from the other girls how to
be a girl. I remember being in kindergarten and all
my friends were girls, and my best friend Cassandra was
teaching me that girls don't use paper towels to try
their hands, they like shake them off, which is I
don't think true.

Speaker 1 (11:58):
I don't think that's a girl thing.

Speaker 2 (12:00):
I think Cassandra was a little messy. But I was
like I was eating it up, and I was like, yeah,
totally for sure, because I was learning the rules of
girlhood or you know whatever. Cassandra's rules of girl herd
were in kindergarten from other girls, and they it was
never a problem. There was nothing wrong with it. They
hadn't learned it yet.

Speaker 1 (12:19):
So all through elementary school, everything is okay, so you're
openly trans and then in fifth grade there was the
grandparent of one of the students who had an issue.
Can you tell what happened?

Speaker 2 (12:30):
So I did my social transition really really slow out
of consideration for the straits, and so like every year
we would do, Okay, now you're gonna start throwing your
hair out next year. You can wear pink next year,
and so on and so forth. And by the time
I was in fifth grade, i'd fully socially transitioned. That's
when I started going by Nicole.

Speaker 1 (12:47):
Now were you were you doing therapy? Were you doing
lots of therapy? So I know your parents because you're
I know your dad, who is a Republican, was like
really not on board, and then he eventually got on board.
So you were in therapy right.

Speaker 2 (12:58):
In therapy from second grade.

Speaker 1 (13:00):
Yeah, So you're just to let people know part of
your gender affirming care as a child was therapy. Yeah,
pre puberty. Yeah, okay, exactly, that was your gender firming care.

Speaker 2 (13:11):
Therapy and the combination with the therapy. And then as
you get older, we start to talk about possibility being
a candidate for medical transition, which not everybody may want
to do or write or whatever the case may be.

Speaker 1 (13:26):
But therapy from very area, yes, wonderful. So this was something.
So the narrative that all of a sudden, like you know,
a child decides and then like next week there that's
not happening. Huh, I know, Ray, that's not happening. And
then there's girls health insurance and the expense of it anyway,
So okay, so I just want you to get that eui

(13:47):
of way. So you're in fifth grade, so taught to me.

Speaker 2 (13:49):
Yeah, so fifth grade, I have fully transitioned. I'm going
by Nicole and the big like marker in our elementary
school to kind of like get us ready for middle
school was now the bathrooms are multi stall and because
you know in the grade school you have like the
just one male when one female bathroom in the classroom,

(14:11):
and so now I'm using the multi style bathroom with
all the other girls and everything's fine. And so I
have another student in my class who his grandfather was
a member of this special interest Christian right group call
at the time, I think they've changed their name, that
was called the Christian Civic League of name, and he
had caught wind from his grandson that I was trans

(14:34):
and his grandfather of course lost his ship and the
group lost their ship. And so they did a couple
of things. First, they pressured the school and they said,
we are going to suit you if you keep letting.

Speaker 1 (14:48):
This happens happened, meaning you're using the girls bathroom.

Speaker 2 (14:51):
Yeah. And the second thing is they used his grandson
as a political pawn, this fifth grade boy, as a
political pawn, and had him follow me into the girl's bathroom.
And when the teacher went to pull him out of
the bathroom, and obviously he got in trouble, he said, well,
I'm just a girl using the girl's bathroom, And that

(15:12):
was the basis of their claim. They were like, well,
why can this boy use the girls room and not
this boy? And that was the whole thing. And this was,
of course, when I began transitioning, there was still hardly
any information about trans adults.

Speaker 1 (15:29):
So this is fifth grade, so you're about ten years old.
So this is two thousand and seven.

Speaker 2 (15:33):
Yeah, right, two thousand and seven, So there's still not
a lot of information about trans folks, and especially not
about trans children. So the school completely buckled. And we
had had such an amazing relationship with the school moving
up until this point because, like I said, we were
very considerate the straits and we made sure that everyone

(15:56):
was communicating. If people had questions, we could talk about it.
And we were all doing this in a way where
everyone was comfortable. And the school completely did a one
eight and they said, okay, well, if Nicole's in the
girls bathroom is the problem, no problem, We'll have her
use the staff bathroom.

Speaker 1 (16:15):
How did that make you feel? Because there's there's I
mean Gavin Graham's case, there have been many cases of
trans kids that becomes the solution that they use a
staff bathroom. How did that make you feel as a
fifth grader to be put in that position?

Speaker 2 (16:29):
Confused? Confused because I had been doing everything right. I
was a good kid, and I didn't quite know what
to make of it. I remember, I remember every moment
of him going into the bathroom, and then I remember
being in the guidance Counsel's office with my two friends
and they had told me that he was calling me
a fagot behind my back, and he had said that

(16:53):
my Grandpapy says, we don't have to have any faggots
in our school.

Speaker 1 (16:57):
So then, oh, oh, I just I mean, hello, my
own trauma I think is coming up. Oh yeah, so
we don't have to have any of the words in
our school, meaning that the goal was to get you
out of the school.

Speaker 2 (17:13):
I don't know.

Speaker 1 (17:14):
It seems to be implied, but anyway.

Speaker 2 (17:16):
Yeah, I honestly have never I honestly have never thought
about their endgame, And honestly, I'm not sure if they
had one. I think that it was a shortsighted, hateful,
little stint to feel like they had some power over somebody,
which is what it all is at the end of
the day. It's always about making sure that you are

(17:39):
above somebody else, and there's always somebody underneath you whose
neck you can step on, and displaying that power. So
I don't know what they wanted. I don't care what
they wanted because that was the beginning of my life
coming apart, and everything that my family had done started
coming apart.

Speaker 1 (18:00):
Did it come apart? What happened?

Speaker 2 (18:01):
So people pick up on the examples that by their leaders,
and when you start treating a student in a way,
or treating anybody in a way that suggests, hey, they
are not fit to be kept in the same public
spaces as you. They have to be kept in a

(18:24):
separate bathroom, they have to be kept away from everybody else.
That is a very powerful message that people pick up on.
We started experiencing harassment from folks we had never had
a problem with.

Speaker 1 (18:42):
So up until this point, everything is going fine, Everything
is going great, and.

Speaker 2 (18:46):
I mean, you know, there are always baffles. But it
was it was never worse than you know, a girl
on the bus used to call me it on the
way home, and that was traumatizing and fun but I
called her a dumb mouse in fourth grade. Muhare really good.
But that was the just childish bullying was the worst

(19:08):
of it. And now this had propelled it into this
public space where now there are news bands outside of school,
and now everybody's talking about it, and now it's become
this topic of conversation in the community, and it gets
to the point where we can't go to see the
movies without the whispers and the stairs and the pointing.

Speaker 1 (19:33):
And so you're this is Maine. So I'm assuming it's
not a big community.

Speaker 2 (19:37):
No, not at all, Oh god, no, No, it's more
treatent people. It's very very small, very tight knit, and
it just sent a shockwave through the community. And my
parents did their best to shield my brother and I
from that because their goal was always to have us

(19:58):
have as normal as child this is possible. And when
this happened, it just blew the door off its hinges.
And I remember we went to some play were I
think it was the Sound of Music. We went to
watch a performance at the high school that did not
have gender neutral bathrooms, and so an intermission, I'm going

(20:22):
into the girl's bathroom and classmates of mine were coming
out of it, classmates who I never had a problem with,
who I had been considering friends, and they said, no,
you can't go in there. That's not for you. You're not
supposed to be in there, and I was like, what

(20:43):
the hell? So I also called her a dumbasus and
I want it anyway.

Speaker 1 (20:47):
So this so I think part of what I'm hearing
is that this stigma and this is deep. This is
thank you so much for sharing this. What had been
smooth sailing up until fifth grade, when a big stink
was made about it, all of a sudden, the community

(21:09):
followed suit, and then what was relatively normal for most
of the other kids, you being the girl that you are,
became something that was stigmatized, and then you were ostracized.
And so I think what people should understand from your story,
and what's happening with all these anti trans bills targeting

(21:30):
children is that it is fostering an environment where we're
going to be even more stigmatized, normal hate, and then
like everybody policing you and trying to make you feel other.

Speaker 2 (21:42):
First of all, it's creating mountains Anamol hills, as my
third grade teacher would always say, and it's exactly what
you said, fostering an environment of hatreots, and it's normalizing hate,
which is something that I don't think anyone in America
is a stranger to, especially after our last commander in chief.

(22:03):
And that's what that was such a difficult time for me,
the twenty sixteen election, because it was so much of
what I had grown up with, and it was and
I saw it happening all over again. It was I
see how people follow the leader, and it's so important
that our leaders and our policymakers and our legislators set

(22:26):
good examples and lead with compassion and empathy. And seeing
what they're doing now is so first of all disgraceful.
Second of all, just I don't understand how we have
not set a higher bar for our country. But that's

(22:48):
another conversation.

Speaker 1 (22:49):
Well, I think we're just in some major backlash against
transvisibility right now, we're being scapegoaded. This is a good
time to take a little break.

Speaker 2 (23:05):
Okay, we're back.

Speaker 1 (23:08):
I think it's important to talk about the lawsuit that
you and your family filed against the school and eventually won.
And it's important to note that this is the first
time that court decided that it was a violation of
human rights law to ban a trans person from the
bathroom that they felt like they could use. And this

(23:32):
happened in Maine, and this case was decided in twenty thirteen.
So did you start the lawsuit in two thousand and
seven and then it finally because you were this is year.

Speaker 2 (23:40):
This started in two thousand eight or two thousand and nine.
I think we filed the suit after sixth grade because
we continued trying to work with the school. And when
I went into middle school, they gave me a bodyguard
and they called it the Eyes On program, And what
that was was a grown adult following me around from
class to class, basically there to make sure that I

(24:02):
used the staff bathroom, to make sure that I didn't
go in the girls bathroom. And they said it was
for my safety, and of course I knew that that
was a crop as ship. But if I went up
to go to the bathroom, the teacher would stop me
at the door and tell me to wait for whoever
was following me that day, because it was always different.

Speaker 1 (24:20):
Can't pause, Nicole, You're talking about this so matter of factly.
I have to, and I guess this is just your life.
I'm I'm kind of horrified. I'm listening and I'm like,
what the fuck? Like you have a bodyguard for your
own protection. It just makes me think about, like, you know,
the way they house trans people in prison in solitary
confinement for our own protection.

Speaker 2 (24:39):
Yeah, exactly, always for our own protection allegedly.

Speaker 1 (24:43):
Yeah, so you had an an adult follow you around
from class to class allegedly for your own protection. But
I will ultimately to make sure that you didn't use
the girl's bathroom in middle school? Was this all through?
Was your middle school three years? Like six seven eighth
grade or three years?

Speaker 2 (24:57):
This was only through sixth grade because after we left, Okay,
we only did that one year. And the straw that
broke the camel's back for that was I was going
to go on this outing trip with all of my friends.
We were all in this outing club and we were
going to go white water rafting and there was an
overnight camping trip and I was so excited. All of
my friends were going, and they said, of course Nicole
can come. She's a member of the club. She cannot

(25:20):
stay in a tent with the girls, though, she has
to stay in a tent by herself or with her parents.
And again, these are all the girls that I've had
sleepovers with. And so we said, okay, well, what if
we get a signed permission slips from I mean, my
parents were at that school every day trying to come
up with solutions. What if we got to signed permission
slip from all of the parents of all of the

(25:41):
kids going, the boys and the girls saying that they're
okay with it. Oh no, no, no, no, that can't work.
That can never work. Ohuse, that's not possible. They would
call ahead anywhere that we went on a field trip
and say, hey, we have this student who looks like
a girl. Don't let her use the girls bathroom at
your facilities. And at that point we just realized we're

(26:03):
never going to get back to where we were. This
is never going to work again. So my mom packed
us up, and my brother and my mom and I
moved two hours south from Orno to Portland two and
a half actually, and in Maine, important Maine, and my
dad stayed behind so he could keep his job at
the university. And we only saw our dad on weekends

(26:29):
from then through the rest of high school. So we
never lived with our dad again.

Speaker 1 (26:34):
And so you started over at a new school, and
then where did you go? Stealth at the new school.

Speaker 2 (26:39):
Went still at the new school, and that's when we
filed the lawsuit. And the important thing about the lawsuit
and the reason why we were ruled in favor of
one because it's obviously human rights violation. But two this
happened in two thousand and seven in Maine. As of
two thousand and five, the main Human Rights Act lifts

(27:00):
gender identity as well as sexual orientation as a protective class. Yeah,
so the lesson there being half the school known the policy,
known the law know that they were well within their
legal right as well as moral right to be doing
what they were doing, that group would't have had a

(27:20):
single leg to stand on, and they could, yeah, go ahead,
fiow your lawsuit. We're doing what the law requires.

Speaker 1 (27:26):
I mean, I think the reality right now is that
there is even more state laws that include gender identity
and sexual orientation in their human rights law, and all
of these bands against gender firm and care are a
violation of that, but they don't care. They don't care,
and the legislatture is so the judiciary system, I should say,

(27:47):
so conservative that when these things are challenged in court,
they think that they can win, and they probably will
right now. Yeah, so you won your case. How did
it feel when you finally got the decision? Maybe to
climatic because it takes so many years. I remember talking
to Gavin Graham about it.

Speaker 2 (28:03):
Yeah, after that point, after.

Speaker 1 (28:05):
All these years, you win the case, It's ruled in
your favor. How did that make you feel? I remember
being historic. I remember reading about it, thinking it was
interesting that you're from Maine and your last name is
Maine's and just being like really excited. And I remember
reading a story where you met the governor of Maine
or something. Is that right?

Speaker 2 (28:25):
I met since I met Senator So, I met Senator
Olympia Snow when she was still in office, and I
met Susan Collins.

Speaker 3 (28:34):
Be foolshit, I'm just I'm just saying she talks the
big games.

Speaker 2 (28:40):
When I met with her, and now I'm seeing all
the stuff she's doing, and I'm like, hmm, interesting.

Speaker 1 (28:44):
She always talks a big game anyway.

Speaker 2 (28:46):
Yeah, su then you yeah, so I remember, I remember
when that came down, that was it was so major,
and I remember it being major, but very much like
what Gavin said, it was a little antiqlimactic for me
because at that point I'm a junior in high school

(29:08):
and my old middle school the superintendent had left because
he thought he had another job lined up in Massachusetts.
He didn't, and he quit prematurely, and then the principal
was fired after changing students' test scores on standardized state tests,

(29:28):
so both of them were not at the school anymore.
So it felt a little like, I'm glad, but I
really wanted to stick it to them. So that was
for me. I mean, that's just moving petty, but deservingly so.
But I remember it being fantastic. But the hard part
about that is similarly to what you were saying about

(29:52):
the judiciary committees. Even though it's on the books in
Maine and even though now we set this legal precedent,
I still hear from kids in Maine and especially more
rural parts of the state. We're saying, why is this happening? Why?
And they're doing the same thing they did to me,
even though being Human Rights Act and my case in
the State Supreme Court, enforcement is a whole other beast. Yeah,

(30:16):
and having it on the books is one thing, and
making sure that people are following the rules, and it
feels like putting out fires and playing a game of black.

Speaker 1 (30:24):
Homle we've had. I like to remind people that we've
had laws against racist treatment in this country for a
very long time, and that doesn't mean that racism went away.
So there is the project of changing hearts and minds
that needs to go along with legislative and judicial change.
So you graduate from high school, you've done this historic thing,

(30:48):
and then somehow you end up acting. Yeah, and it's
something that you didn't plan on doing. I reading somewhere,
and you did a guest spot on what was the
show Royal Pains? Royal Pains, and then Supergirl comes along,
which is so iconic, and I was already watching Supergirl
and I think you came on the second season, fourth,

(31:10):
fourth season, oh wow, or that far into it had
you taken acting classes. I always wonder like, did you study?
How did acting like come to you?

Speaker 2 (31:20):
So for me, acting I think naturally came from my
love of playing dress up. M hm. And for me,
I don't know if this is the same for you,
but that was my space where I was able to
portray characters I related to or saw myself in. I
was able to wear clothes that I identified with, And
for my parents that.

Speaker 3 (31:40):
Was like, ohay, he can do that. That's he's just
playing pretend. It's just not indicative of anything larger and
more telling of what is to come. But so for me,
acting just stemtons I think naturally from that. I just
love playing dress up. I love playing in different sandbox.

Speaker 1 (32:01):
Yeah, I love.

Speaker 2 (32:02):
I walk onto a set in an office and I'm like, sorry,
where are the dragons? I'm sorry, what do you mean?
No one who's superpowers? What are we doing?

Speaker 1 (32:12):
Well? I mean, yeah, I mean Dreamer or Nia? Nia?
Is that Nia? Now? Dreamer the first trans superhero on television?
More history. You're a historic young lady. For being twenty
six years old. You made a lot of history already.

Speaker 2 (32:30):
I just want to play dress up.

Speaker 1 (32:31):
I love it. So what was what was the audition process,
like I understand that there were several callbacks talk to
talk to me about like, first of all, how did
you get into acting? Like how did Royal Pains happen?

Speaker 2 (32:42):
So much luck? Back to back to back to back.
So I loved acting. I wanted to act. I didn't
think it was possible being from Maine. It's you know,
I'm on the complete opposite side of the country from
where I need to be. I did school theater and
that was about it. I did some local theater, not
really not that much. I wasn't taking acting classes. I

(33:03):
really didn't know what I was doing. And with Royal
Pains came along. It was one of those situations where
you know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody in casting,
and it somehow worked its way up design that they
were looking for a trans performer with dance experience, and
I had been doing dance for four years, and so
they're like, oh, you should audition. So I went up
to the college with my dad and we filmed my

(33:25):
audition with I filmed opposite the Star Quarterback, which I
was like, oooh and a good self tape moment.

Speaker 1 (33:37):
I think Royal Pain shot in New York, right in Brooklyn.

Speaker 4 (33:39):
Ye.

Speaker 2 (33:40):
And so then I had two callbacks with producers and
got that and had an amazing time. And I remember
being on set and just just being so blown away
by that experience. And we had simultaneously been in talks
to turn our story into something. We sold our life
rights and we were working with producers and they knew

(34:01):
my now agents got it, and they were saying that
we're looking for trans talent to represent, and he says, well,
I just got back from Maine. I just spoke to
this girl who did an episode of Royal Paints. He
gotten meter. Next, I think I was in Los Angeles
for the Glad Awards in twenty sixteen and I met
with my agents there in the hotel. Loved them and

(34:22):
they were like, what do you want to do and
I'm like, well, I really like Arrow. And then nothing
for three years. We had a bunch of auditions that
I was so green, and I then got cast as
the lead in this indie horror movie called Bits, where
I was going to play a trans girl who gets
turned into a vampire and falls in with a group
of intersectional feminist vampires who's stock Los Angeles. So I

(34:45):
was like, dope, And so I went and did that
in May of twenty eighteen and I had one day
off and they said, hey, can Cole send in another
silk tape for super Girl? And they said, oh, well,
no need, She's in Los Angeles, she can go in.
So I went in and I met with Sarah Scheck.

Speaker 1 (35:00):
Would make such a difference when you're in the room anyway,
Oh my god.

Speaker 2 (35:03):
It does. I went in and I met with Jessica
and Robert and Sarah, and the next day they asked
me to be a Superhero.

Speaker 1 (35:11):
I love it. I love it. And I remember your
debut on the show and the character coming out as
trans I love the little the romantic tension between you
and Brainy that eventually turned into her an actual, you know,
real romance. That was so beautiful thing on TV. And
I was just as as an actress who you know,
four time immunuitated actress Liver and Cox, who's very serious
about the work, I was like, she's talented, she can act.

(35:34):
You were so natural and you were so you fit
in the world so wonderfully, and your emotional flexibility was
just there, and it just I was just it was
just I'm going.

Speaker 2 (35:45):
To hold on to that. Thank you.

Speaker 1 (35:46):
No, it was just really exciting. I was like, oh,
she's she's she's actually good, you know. Like for me,
it's about the talent. I love. I love talent. I
love when people are good at what they do. And
you're just such a natural. And now that you're in
this world, you've gotten to play Dreamer on the Flash
and in different iterations of this sort of DC universe,
which is so great. Have you done a comic con yet?

Speaker 2 (36:09):
I did a couple of comic cons with the show,
the last one being in twenty nineteen, and then we
didn't get we didn't get to do one for our
final season because pandemic. Yeah, but yeah, I love comic cons.
It was so much fun getting to meet people. And
that's been the craziest thing, getting to see folks reaction
to Dreamer, not just trans folks, but sif people who

(36:32):
are saying, this is my favorite character. I love Dreamer,
I love mea so much. Oh my gosh. Seeing parents
who love Dreamer, kids who love Dreamer, seeing folks who
Dreamer made them feel comfortable to come out and to transition.
The impact of this character is so massive, and it's

(36:52):
so like that is why representation matters. It changes the
world and it changes people's lives. And seeing people's reaction
to Dreamer, seeing people's reaction to me, especially when I
was first announced at Comic Con in twenty eighteen, they
announced me at the Supergirl panel and I came out
on the stage and there was like this the people

(37:15):
who were cheering and clapping and excited for this new
trans person.

Speaker 1 (37:23):
Wow.

Speaker 2 (37:23):
And that was the moment for me, especially after twenty eighteen,
after everything, with the election, after everything, I was like,
there is hope. People are good. People want to see
this progress, and people want to see this change, and
people want to see everybody's stories and hear different experiences,

(37:47):
and that was really amazing.

Speaker 1 (37:52):
I've often said, you know, it's the best of times
since the worst of times, because we have like unprecedented
representation of trans folks in media now, and obviously what
we're seeing in state legislators, it's a backlash against that.
But there's so much love and support that that I've gotten,
that you clearly get that is so inspiring and gives

(38:13):
me such a sense of hope about the world and
that folks can see your humanity through your characters and
through your interviews. Your Ellen interview is so beautiful, and
I think that it's just a reminder that, like the
there's so many people out there with so much love
in their hearts who are open and aren't down with this,

(38:36):
you know, this attack that's going on. I think that's
a minority of folks who have this agenda that's really
not about us. And so we have to stay in
the love and stay in the commitment to being who
we are. And even though I have to work really
hard not to get depressed when I see everything going
on legislatively, because for me, I'm in a place where

(38:58):
every like professionally, things wonderful. I'm in love. You seem
to be in a man on your Instagram, Nate, Nate,
we love on your Instagram.

Speaker 2 (39:09):
Honey, TikTok, thank you TikTok.

Speaker 1 (39:11):
You met on TikTok.

Speaker 2 (39:12):
Yes, because he came up on my for you page
as like he is definitely for you girls.

Speaker 1 (39:19):
Like the way he came up on your page. And
then what happened.

Speaker 2 (39:21):
He came up on my for you page like with
a lightsaber shirtless, and I said, m you'll do yeah,
So I started leaving, like thirsty comments in his video
and thank goodness for the blue check because that put
my comments right to the top. And so he saw

(39:43):
them and he reached out to me on Instagram and said, hey,
you seem cool. We should be friends. And he tells
the story so cute because he's like, oh, you know,
I never thought you know, I just wanted to be
your friend. I never had any all your motives and
I was like, I was being a whore. But I'm

(40:05):
glad your motive.

Speaker 1 (40:09):
Okay, it's that time again. We'll be right back. We
are back. So my current boyfriend, my last three boyfriends
had never dated a trans woman. For me, had he
thought about dating a trans woman? Dated a trans woman?
Did he know that you were trans when you messaged him? Like?

(40:33):
What of that? Because a lot of trans folks out
there struggle with dating. And I do think I talked
to my friends who aren't famous who are trans. I
think we're legitimized as like being on TV in a
way that makes men a little bit more open dating.
At least that's my experience.

Speaker 2 (40:48):
I think feels like a spoonful of sugar for me,
a little bit like, oh she's trans, but she's on TV, Like,
that's so awful to say, So.

Speaker 1 (40:57):
I think it's different for us. So what did he
no initially that you were trans? Okay? How did he just?
Did he google? What? Both?

Speaker 2 (41:04):
So I don't know if he initially knew. I think
I think he found out naturally just by looking at
me and talking and reading about me. But he's so
wonderful and oh god, I hope you get to meet
him some day because he is so just sort of
like how how we talk about kids, like when they're
like who cares?

Speaker 1 (41:25):
So it was was there discussion like what was like
the oh you're trans?

Speaker 2 (41:30):
There wasn't this big talk. It was for him, he
was It was only ever really just like yeah, you're
a woman. So and he just it's not a big
deal to him. And he's now become such an ally
and such an advocate and he does these amazing videos
on TikTok where you know, he don't get hate comments

(41:51):
for just being with the transoman my.

Speaker 1 (41:54):
Ex so I was public with like experience that, and
he was very he was strong and steff In my
current boyfriend, I'm just I'm keeping him off social media. Yeah,
there's a part of me that really wants to protect
my man. Yeah, yeah, does he handle the hate comments
because like people would comment, oh, you're gay, you know,
and they would just sort of assume that, and so
how does he deal with that?

Speaker 2 (42:11):
Well, he's worth a weird position. He doesn't really care
about people saying like, oh, you're gay. People thought he
was gay anyway, because he's you know, for the same
reason he was on my for you page. He's on
a lot of gay men's for you page.

Speaker 1 (42:25):
Well, he does fitness, like right, he's like a fitness do.

Speaker 2 (42:28):
He does fitness, he does cosplay, he does these really
sexy like hot dude first traps.

Speaker 1 (42:34):
So of course gay man are.

Speaker 2 (42:36):
He's very famous with the gays. We were in Toronto
recently and we went to Woodies, a drag bar, and
this girl saw him and we were also with our
friend Shane, and they're both very big on TikTok and
this girl saw them screaming, screaming like, oh my god,
I have to get a picture with you. And I
kind of get like shoved out of the way, and

(42:57):
I was like, my boyfriend's more gay famous than I am.
My stray boyfriend's margay famous than I am. What the fuck?

Speaker 4 (43:05):
But no, so he doesn't really care, and when he
does respond, he responds with like these beautifully articulated videos
where he's just like.

Speaker 2 (43:16):
Why is this a problem? I love her, she loves me.
I see her and I see a woman. I am
not bothered by anything else. And I've been very fortunate
that my relationships have been that way. My partner before Nate,
when I was in college, I remember he was fine

(43:37):
with it, didn't have a problem. This was scary, though.
I was going to meet his parents for the first time.

Speaker 1 (43:44):
Oh that's so stressful, girl.

Speaker 2 (43:46):
It gets worse.

Speaker 1 (43:47):
I've met many parents and they end up loving me,
and I'm great with parents, but it's so stressful.

Speaker 2 (43:52):
I just met Nate's mom and I was like, moms
love me. I'm not worried. If you're listening, hey, Cheryl,
how you doing. So I was going to meet the
boy's parents and we are halfway there on the highway
and he looks over at me and he says, I
have to tell you something. My parents are Trump supporters,
and they don't know your.

Speaker 1 (44:09):
Trans on the way to meet them.

Speaker 2 (44:11):
On the way to meet them, cut to me doing
a very real costs versus risk benefit analysis in my head,
Am I more likely to die going to this house
or if I tuck and roll going seventy on the highway.

Speaker 1 (44:28):
Wow, I mean you don't have to necessarily disclose that
you're trans.

Speaker 2 (44:32):
Oh we did not. Oh, we did not. This was
just after the twenty sixteen election. They left Fox News
on in the background while we ate dinner, just talking
about how Trump had removed the federal protections for trans
people and talking about how great that was on the TV.
As I'm sitting there next to my boyfriend and his
parents and I'm like, I'm gonna die in this fucking house.
I'm gonna fucking die in the South.

Speaker 1 (44:53):
It's like the transversion of get Out, which is the
transversion of get out. Oh.

Speaker 2 (45:00):
They ended up loving this.

Speaker 1 (45:01):
Oh my gosh, Wow did they find out that you disclosed?

Speaker 2 (45:04):
And I had conversations with his mom. Her big hang
up was sports, and she was very but what about fairness?
What about this? What about that one? And I was like, okay,
first of all, pay women athletes the same, then come
to me and talk about fairness. Second, I said, listen,
I did sports in school. And let me tell you,
I'm not exaggerating when I said I was the absolute

(45:27):
worst on the team, consistent bench warmer. It was not
a matter of having an advantage against anybody else. It
was a matter of trying to get me any kind
of advantage because this poor girl was suffering so much.

Speaker 1 (45:40):
There's so many misconceptions about trans folks, and you know,
I had a conversation with Chase Stangio from acl Ung's
on last season of the podcast, and we talked about
how I find it really interesting that as they're trying
to ban gender firming care for kids, they also want
to ban us from sports. And like the advantage if
there is an advantage that trans people have, and there's

(46:02):
always advantages in sports, it happens with puberty. So for
those people who have access and want to do puberty blockers,
then all the sort of physical advantages don't happen. And
then I'm looking at you and you're so gorgeous, and like,
so much of transition as an adult is like trying
to reverse what happens in puberty, the masculinizing that happens

(46:24):
in puberty. And if you can spare a trans child that,
if they want to, if the parents, if it's recommended
with your doctor, whatever, I think that's a wonderful thing. Ultimately,
I think it's not anybody's business but the parents, the child,
and the doctor. Okay, thank you very I'm so jealous
of people who got to like not I'm puberty was
so traumatizing for me. I'm fifty years old, so this
was years ago. And if I had known and there

(46:48):
was access to go through puberty as a girl, like,
what a difference that would have made in my life.

Speaker 2 (46:52):
You know, it all boils back down to trying to
erase us from public existence. They're saying, oh, you can't
be in sports because you have an advantage, and we say, okay, well,
if we can get the care when we want to,
that advantage which really doesn't exist in the first place,
but just entertaining you, this hypothetical advantage, imagine this imagined
advantage one even exists, if we can get the healthcare

(47:15):
that we want before puberty. Oh, well, you can't do
that because you're clearly being groomed and you have to
wait until you're an adult. Okay, well, then can I
at least use the girl's bathroom? No, you can't, because
you're a man. You went through mail puberty, you were
raised as a man, Okay, well, can I transition younger?
Absolutely not. So there's no way for trans people to
exist in their world. It only boils down to they

(47:35):
just don't want us to exist, and that ship has
fucking sailed.

Speaker 1 (47:43):
But the beautiful thing is we do. We're here, Yeah,
we are. So many of us are thriving, so many
of us are struggling, and I think it's important to acknowledge, like,
you know, the wonderful privilege that we have. Most trans
people don't have just access to any kind of gender
affirming care, is expensive.

Speaker 2 (48:00):
Live in a state where we have right yeah.

Speaker 1 (48:02):
Yeah, so yeah, you know, the battle continues, their journey continues.
But I think it's wonderful for folks to see when
we're thriving, to see that it is possible to be healthy, happy, successful, professionally,
in love all the things. You know, that it's possible

(48:24):
to have, be trans and have a life. And it's
so important that we live our lives, be in our joy,
show the world that there is joy in the face
of all of this horrible stuff. What else do you
want to say about all these laws, about the state
of things? What else do you want to say to
the world, to other transfer are just anybody listening out

(48:45):
there so much.

Speaker 2 (48:49):
First of all, I want people to start standing with
trans folks. I think that it's very easy for our
trauma to be left up to us because we are
such a small community. We need to see the same
kind of outrage and the same kind of support behind

(49:13):
every other movement throughout history that we've seen because trans
people have been right there at the front lines whenever
it comes to civil rights, whenever it comes to human decency,
whenever it comes to fighting bigotry and fighting hatred. And
we need to see all of those communities standing with

(49:33):
trans people now because it affects all of us.

Speaker 1 (49:36):
And it's all connected. It's all connected. You know, when
I was on MSNBC a few weeks ago, it was
important for me to like acknowledge that as we see
this rise in anti Semitism, that you know, the Nazi
is one of the first things they did was burn
Magnus Hirschfel's Clinic for Human Sexuality. So it's rise in
anti semitism. We should be careful to not like have

(49:58):
sea history repeating right now as we fight anti semitism,
as we need to be fighting transphobia, racism, all of
the things.

Speaker 2 (50:04):
All connected because it all shares the same route of
a group of people thinking that they are inherently better
than somebody else for some arbitrary reason that nobody can control.
I've been talking a lot about this with my therapist,
and I think that it's important that while we can
recognize the differences in our histories and our experiences and

(50:27):
say it has not been the same for me as
it has been for you, I can never possibly imagine
what it's been like to be a Jewish person living
in America, to be a Black person living in America.
But I understand that bigotry and hatred sucks for me,
and I'm pretty sure it sucks for you too. So

(50:48):
let's I think we all need to start working together
and start marching and standing together rather than I think
there's a lot of squaw amongst ourselves, and there's a
lot of division, and since the dawn of time, you know,
they have been dividing and conquering. But there's more of

(51:10):
us who don't fit into this mythical norm of being
the straight white sis Christian, but the right kind of Christian,
not this kind, not that kind, like this this mythical
idea of what is normal. Yeah, the majority of us
don't fit into that, and we all need to link
up and become that bigger, scarier animal and say we

(51:35):
reject this. We reject hatred in any form, We reject
bigotry in any form, because it was bad when it
happened to us, it was bad when it happened to you.
It's always fucking bad.

Speaker 1 (51:49):
Yeah, yeah, thank you for that. That was beautiful. Oh
So I like to end every podcast that the question
what else is true? It comes from my therapy and
the idea of both. And even when we are struggling,
even when there's something difficult for us, that is true,
and we can focus on that, But something else is

(52:10):
true as well. And if we focus on that other
thing that's true, that thing that's affirming, that's positive, that's
a resource that can shift our nervous systems, that can
shift our awareness, and he can help us get through.
So for you today, Nicole mains what else is true?

Speaker 2 (52:29):
I'm having fun. I'm having a lot of fun. I
have admired you for a very long time, so it's
very exciting for me to finally get to be able
to talk to you.

Speaker 1 (52:42):
Thank you.

Speaker 2 (52:43):
I am writing comic books. I know, I am.

Speaker 1 (52:47):
You cant even get to talk about that. That's incredible,
so much fun, so much fun. I love it.

Speaker 2 (52:53):
I'm in love, like I said, playing video games every
night with my boyfriend. Even though he's not here. We're
spending time together.

Speaker 1 (53:01):
What video games? What any particular game you like?

Speaker 2 (53:04):
We're big into Overwatch too right now. He's really good
at it. I'm only okay, but I'm reading my favorite
book series to him. I'm showing him shows for my
childhood that I like that he's seeing for the first time.
I'm having a lot of fun. And I just wrapped
season two of Yellow Jackets, which was so much fun.

(53:27):
I'm having a plast.

Speaker 1 (53:29):
I interviewed Melanie Landscape from my show. If we're being honest,
she's so amazing.

Speaker 2 (53:32):
I love her so much. I love all of them
so much. So I'm having a really good time. So
that's what I'm focusing on as all of this is happening.
As I am in the throes of depression and feeling
defeated so often every time I open my phone, I
feel like it's a punch to the gut. I'm still

(53:53):
having fun.

Speaker 1 (53:55):
Things like a lot of your dreams have come true
and are coming true.

Speaker 2 (53:58):
Yeah, yeah, went out. I'm getting a little nervous.

Speaker 1 (54:02):
You just make new dreams, that's what you do.

Speaker 2 (54:04):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (54:05):
Thank you so much, Nicole Maynes. You're a treasure and
we'll have to do it again. I would love to
Nicole Mains. Oh wow. So much of what happened in
her childhood just I find horrifying and traumatizing, and what

(54:26):
a gift that she's come out of it so happy.
And I think that has to be attributed to therapy.
We love therapy and to loving parents. I just love
hearing about her parents being there and supporting her. With
that level of support, you can raise happy, healthy, trans kids.

(54:46):
And I really believe that what kids need more than
anything else is to know that they are deeply and
profoundly loved, cared for, and protected. And what I hear
in the cold story are parents who deeply loved her,
cared for her, and protected her. And certainly everyone isn't living,

(55:12):
you know, this fairy tale life almost that Nicole is living.
But she's just such a wonderful light. She gives me
so much hope for young people. Her boyfriend and how
open he is gives me hope for like men who
find themselves attracted to trans women. And I hope that
you've been inspired by this conversation and it's made you

(55:33):
think about all those struggles that she went through as
a kid, and she's come out with such resilience and
such confidence. It's just awesome. Thank you so much for
listening to The Liver and Cox Show. Please rate, review, subscribe,

(55:55):
and share with everyone you know. You can find me
on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok Laverne Cox and on Facebook
at Laverne Cox for Real. Until next time, stay in
the love. The Laverne Cox Show is a production of
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(56:18):
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