Maine trans woman’s TED Talk goes viral

Nicole Maines, the young woman whose family won a landmark case before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to protect transgender children from discrimination in bathroom use and other public accommodations, recently gave a talk at TEDxSMCC that seems perfectly timed for the national cultural and political moment.

In the talk, Maines describes how the trouble began when a male student at her middle school was prodded by his Christian activist grandfather into following her into the female restroom, where he declared to her face, “My grand-pappy says we don’t have to have any faggots in our school.”

That encounter sparked a difficult period for Maines and her family, similar to that experienced by many transgendered students across the country, forcing them to move across the state and eventually ending in vindication through the courts.

“Acceptance at home is fundamental, yes, but frankly it’s just not enough,” says Maines, speaking about her childhood experience. “Trans youth, like most young people, spend the majority of their time in school. If you spent Monday through Friday from eight to three being told that you weren’t OK, that you were wrong, how are you supposed to think otherwise?”

Amidst a national conversation begun by the passage of HB2, the video of Maines explaining what it’s like to grow up trans and be the victim of exactly the kind of  discrimination now enshrined in North Carolina law has shot up to more than 50,000 views.

The issue is also still a flashpoint in Maine, with Governor Paul LePage continuing rhetorical and policy attacks on transgender children and taking extra-constitutional action to ensure his Education Commissioner doesn’t have to face public questioning on his anti-trans views.



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