On Monday, January 13, one of YouTube’s most popular beauty gurus Nikkie de Jager, aka Nikkie Tutorials, bravely announced to her 12.4 million subscribers that she is transgender.

She told her fans,

“I want to start the year off with the truth. I want to start the year off by finally revealing a part of my life that has made me who I am. I want to talk about a part of myself that makes me, me…it feels good to finally do it. It is time to let go and be truly free. When I was younger, I was born in the wrong body, which means that I am transgender. Filming this video is scary, but it feels so liberating and freeing.”

The 25-year-old YouTuber explained that she was born anatomically male, but has always known that she was a woman. By the age of six, she began identifying as a girl. By 14, doctors put her on hormone medication and growth stoppers. And she fully transitioned at 19 years old. And while kids could be cruel, she thanked her teachers for supporting her as she transitioned.

“Some kids got it, and other kids in the class did not, which is fine. But I will always be so thankful for all the teachers at that school who supported me in my journey.”

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Nikkie with Lady Gaga

One of the most touching moments in the video came when Nikkie gave a special shout out to her mom, who has been by her side since day one.

“Growing up, I think the number one thing I’m the most thankful for is my mom — love you, Mom— because she has been there for me since day one. She has always supported me, always accepted me, and that is everything you need as a kid.”

While the support that she gave Nikkie might seem minuscule to some, support from parents and teachers can mean the difference between life or death for transgender youth.

Transgender youth have some of the highest rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide compared to their cisgender counterparts. But According to a study from Pediatrics, transgender youth who are supported free to express themselves freely have “developmentally normative levels of depression and only minimal elevations in anxiety” They also exhibit lower rates of gender identity disorder.

By coming out publicly, she hopes that she can help other young transgender people struggling to come out.

“I want to inspire little Nikkie’s around the world who feel insecure, who feel out of place, who feel misunderstood. I hope by me standing up, and being free, that it inspires others to do the same. To truly live your life like you wanted and the way you deserve.”

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Nikkie as Elsa from Frozen

As amazing as it is that she finally gets to live her truth, her announcement happened sooner than she had hoped. She revealed that a group of people blackmailed her, and threatened to release her story to the press.

“I have been blackmailed by people who wanted to ‘leak’ my story to the press. At first, it was frightening. It was frightening to know there were people out there that are so evil that they can’t respect someone’s true identity. It is vile and it is gross.”

Nikkie never reveals who the blackmailers are, but she lets them know that they have no power over her or her truth.

“They said they wanted to leak it because they said I am lying or I don’t want people to know my truth. Or because they feel I am too scared to know who I truly am. I’m not scared.”

You tell them, Nikkie!

While the news is shocking for her fans, she wants them to know that she is the same Nikkie that we have known and loved for the past eleven years.

“The last thing I want in my life is for you to not trust me anymore, or to look at me with different eyes, or look at me in a different manner, or think I have changed. But I, at the end of the day, am still Nikkie.”

As difficult as it was for Nikkie to film this video, it’s wonderful that Nikkie can finally feel free.

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