This week, Nikkie de Jager—better known as NikkieTutorials—posted a YouTube video titled "I'm Coming Out," in which the massively popular beauty guru revealed that she is a transgender woman.
"Today, I am here to share with you something that I always wanted to share with you one day, but under my own circumstances. It looks like that chance has been taken away from me, so today I am taking back my own power," she said in the emotional 17-minute clip. "When I was younger, I was born in the wrong body, which means I am transgender."
I'm Coming Out. www.youtube.com
De Jager went on to detail her backstory, saying she'd always felt like a girl and that she started fully presenting herself as female around the age of seven or eight. By 14, she was taking hormones and growth stoppers; by 19, she said she had "fully transitioned." At the time, de Jager was also building her channel and working towards her current 12.7 million subscribers.
The dark side of de Jager's coming out, however, is that unnamed potential blackmailers had been threatening to leak her story to the press. It's important to note that de Jager is in an undeniably privileged position; she's white, she said her mother was supportive of her entire journey, and she hails from the Netherlands, one of the most progressive countries in the world for LGBTQ+ rights. However, her story brings to light the potential dangers of outing someone before they're ready. Many people who aren't straight and cisgender cannot safely come out, and unwillingly being forced to do so can pose gigantic risks. According to the Centre for Suicide Prevention, 22 to 43% of transgender people have attempted suicide in their lifetime, and unsafe or unwelcoming situations are a major contributing factor.
Thankfully, de Jager was in a safe position to disclose her story. She serves as a living example for people with antiquated perceptions of trans folks, especially those who think that children should be rigidly assimilated into the sex they were assigned at birth. GLAAD reported in 2017 that 3% of people across all age groups in the U.S. identify as transgender. Younger groups are more likely to identify as trans, reaffirming our need to provide equal rights to LGBTQ+ folks across the board and include them in our conversations about sex education. That way, more people can go through smoother transitions, like de Jager was so lucky to have.
But of course, de Jager wasn't immune to backlash. Leaked screenshots indicated that the sister of Too Faced founder Jerrod Blandino had made transphobic comments on her Instagram page, insinuating de Jager was a liar. De Jager had collaborated with Too Faced in the past and stated she felt underpaid by them. Blandino responded, sending love to de Jager and saying he'd fired his sister. Many other celebrities showed their outpour of support, too, including Ariana Grande and Kim Petras.
Transgender public figures like de Jager, Laverne Cox, and Euphoria actress Hunter Schafer—people who you'd "never guess were trans" if they hadn't said so—show that non-cis people are around you more often than you might think. There's no one way to define "looking trans," and if de Jager's story is any indication, being welcoming and educating young children about LGBTQ+ identities can reap major benefits down the line. De Jager is brave for coming out; hopefully, she'll encourage others both young and old to do the same.