Annual Conference and Reverse College Day Speaker
Nicole Maines is seventeen years old. She lives in Portland, Maine with her brother, Jonas, her mother, Kelly and father, Wayne. When she was four-years-old she started telling her family and soon after her community and state who she was. Every step of the way she has worked with her classmates and community to be open and honest so everyone could learn and grow throughout the process. Unfortunately some people continued to fear the unknown. This fear impacted Nicole and her family’s ability to lead a normal life. These fears changed her world and her family’s world forever.
Because of this painful journey, Nicole has become a strong woman with a clear and loud voice for safety and equality. She has been recognized nationally for fighting to make sure transgender students have the same rights as their classmates. In January of 2014 the Maine’s Supreme Court ruled that Nicole’s rights had been violated under the state’s Human Rights Act, marking a historic and landmark victory for transgender rights in the U.S. It is the first time a state’s highest court has ruled that it is unlawful to deny transgender students access to the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.
For her hard work and commitment Nicole was named one of Glamour Magazine‘s 50 inspiring women of the year and was chosen to represent the state of Maine in the series “Hometown Heroes”, titled “50 Phenomenal Women of the Year Who Are Making a Difference.” She also was named one the 14 Most Fearless Teens Of 2014 for standing up against injustice.
The Maine ACLU, Equality Maine and Healthy Girls and Hardy Women have also recognized Nicole for her courage, strength and commitment to promoting change. When she was just thirteen years old she worked closely with GLAD, Equality Maine, the ACLU and the Maine Women’s Lobby to defeat LD 1046, a bill that would have rolled back transgender protections in Maine. Over two days, she talked with almost every state leader to help provide much needed education and encourage each member to continue to support the transgender community in Maine.
In 2015 Nicole was feature in a new book, Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family it is a NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PEOPLE AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MEN’S JOURNAL • A STONEWALL HONOR BOOK IN NONFICTION • FINALIST FOR THE LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD FOR TRANSGENDER NONFICTION
Nicole is a sophomore in college and is studying art, new media and communications. She was a guest star on Royal Pains, on the USA Network, which won a GLAAD media award this January. Her performance is setting the stage for other transgender youth to speak out. It is her hope that she can combine these loves to help future LGBT students and adults gain total equality across the nation.
September 12, 2016