Transgender activist shares her story at Sac State’s One Book Day

‘Supergirl’ actress talks her childhood, privacy and the Trump administration


Rudy Obstaculo -The State Hornet

Wayne (Left) and Nicole Maines (right) speaking at the One Book Day event in the University Union Ballroom on Thursday night at Sac State. The book “Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family” has been chosen by the One Book Program to be the book read across all of Sac State’s first-year seminar classes.

Carly Van Den Broeke

Transgender activist and actress Nicole Maines told attendees of Sacramento State’s One Book Day that supporters of transgender rights need to stay motivated and take action.

“We will not be erased, we will be heard,” Maines said. “I keep telling people to stay pissed and use it.”

One Book Day is the culmination of Sac State’s One Book Program which invites Sac State students to read one book as a community to create a forum to exchange thoughts and ideas, according to Ching-Hua Wang.

This year’s One Book is “Becoming Nicole: A Transition of An American Family” written by Amy Ellis. The One Book Program welcomed Nicole Maines and her father Wayne Maines for two Q&A events Thursday at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. led by Tristan Josephson, assistant professor in women’s studies.

Maines said she knew from a young age that she was different, that she was a girl. Her journey growing up with her family led to her being an activist and battling her school board on the right to use the bathroom that corresponds to her gender identity.

While still an activist, she’s also battling as the character Dreamer on the CW show “Supergirl,” the first transgender superhero on television.

“I came out, not as trans, but different to my parents at 3 years old,” Maines said. “I asked them when I would get to be a girl, and I quickly realized through the reactions of my parents and those around me that it wasn’t normal.  It was an uphill battle from there.”

Wayne Maines talked about having to adjust to the reality that he was now raising a son and daughter and no longer his twin boys.

“I found out I was raising a beautiful daughter,” Wayne said. “You can be afraid, but you can’t let your fears control your mind.”

During the 7 p.m. event, David Deluna, a mechanical engineering major, asked Wayne Maines how coming from a conservative point of view affected his reaction.

“Growing up, I could see how much anger Nicole had when she couldn’t dress in the clothes she wanted and be who she wanted to be, and I could see how happy she was when she was able to do that,” Wayne said. “When people attack your child, your baby, you decide who you are.  I stood up and testified that I love my daughter.”

Josephson went on to ask Maines about privacy when it comes to having a book out and being a celebrity. She went on to discuss how many people feel entitled to getting their invasive questions answered by not just herself but other trans people as well.

“As a person, it’s important to have some privacy,” Maines said. “People tend to objectify trans people and feel empowered to ask invasive questions you wouldn’t ask other people about. You wouldn’t ask what their naked bodies look like.”

Some people are too quick to get personal, according to Maines.

“I’m pretty open but there comes a point where it can cross a line,” Maines said. “If you want to know what I got going on down there, buy me a drink first, get to know me!”

The evening ended with Nicole giving her political stance on trans issues and her frustration with the Trump administration.

“I wake up every day with messages from kids, and I am scared for them and pissed for them but they’re still here and using their voices,” Maines said. “We will not be erased, we will be heard, and I keep telling people to stay pissed and to use it.”

The night closed with Nicole answering a question about her voice for the future and the platform she has.

“Do you have any plans of going against our current administration?”  Michelle Guilford communications major said.

“As my platform continues to elevate, I will continue to stand up for trans people until we have equal rights everywhere,” Maines said. “Lord helps anyone who attacks my family.”

Watch the video below for The State Hornet’s interview with Nicole Maines