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Transgender student who fought bathroom rules to star in feminist vampire movie

Lydia Smith July 11, 2018

<> at Paley Center For Media on November 17, 2016 in New York City.

A transgender student who fought to use the toilet of her choice is set to appear in her first big screen film.

Nicole Maines, from Maine, will star in the indie horror film Bit as transgender teenager Laurel, who is trying to fit in with and understand a group of intersectional feminist vampires in Los Angeles.

Maines, who is 20, has been studying at the University of Maine but plans to leave to focus on acting, her father told the Portland Press Herald.

In 2014, Maines won the right to use the female toilet in her high school in the case Doe v. Clenchy, after the state supreme court ruled her rights were violated when school officials refused to let her use the girls’ bathroom.

Nicole Maines (L) and her father Wayne speak onstage during the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)

The case marked the first time that a state court ruled denying a trans student access to the bathroom that matched their gender identity is unlawful, setting a precedent for trans people to use the toilet of their choice.

Maines made her acting debut in the USA Network series Royal Pains and appeared in the HBO documentary The Trans List, which explored the lives and experiences of eleven trans Americans, including Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner.

She is also the subject of the New York Times bestselling book Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt.

Research published in 2013 by UCLA think tank the Williams Institute found trans students can be subjected to harassment, sexual assault or violence when trying to use the toilet.

Verbal harassment was reported by 68 percent of trans people who took part in the study, who said they had been questioned about their gender, ridiculed, verbally threatened or stared at.

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 25: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights on February 25, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were angry with President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Trans people are facing increasing hostility in the US (Scott Olson/Getty)

In June, a transgender woman was forced to leave a restaurant after using the women’s bathroom.

Charlotte Clymer, who works for the Human Rights Campaign, was repeatedly asked to prove she was female before being thrown out of the Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar in Washington, DC.

Clymer wrote on Twitter: “I went to use the restroom with my friend and before I reached the door, an attendant stuck out his arm and said he needed to see my ID.

“When I asked why, he said that ‘female’ must be on an ID to use the women’s restroom. No one else was asked.

“This is a packed hallway in a packed club/restaurant, and this random staff person specifically picks me out to ask for ID.”

The incident came as trans people face increasing hostility in the US, with President Donald Trump repeatedly attempting to impose a ban on trans members of the military.

More: Film Reviews, Nicole Maines, Transgender, transgender rights

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