The beauty superstar has opened up about her experiences as a trans woman including how to deal with transphobic family
Earlier this year there was an outpouring of love and support for YouTuber Nikkie de Jager AKA NikkieTutorials who came out as transgender. In an emotional 17-minute video which now has over 35 million views, the beauty guru explained that she had been born into the wrong body and that ever since she was born she thought she was a girl.
Now, six months on, Nikkie has opened up about her experiences since sharing the news in a Pride video in which she does a colourful “pop art with a little bit of drag and lots of pride” make-up look and answering questions from followers.
The first topic Nikkie addresses is one she says is very complicated. Asked by a fan whether she is glad the events which lead her to coming out occured, Nikkie says it is a very “beautiful but difficult” question to answer.
“I didn’t come out under my own timing, I was forced out and forcing a come out is never, ever acceptable,” she explains. “I’m afraid by me saying ‘yes it changed my life and I finally feel so free’ that it almost would approve what my blackmailer did to me.”
Nikkie says it has been incredibly freeing to not have a care in the world and to feel like she can finally be 100 per cent herself, which she says has come through in her videos with fans commenting that she has seemed happier and more radiant than she was before. “If I look at myself today I feel happy, I feel loved, I feel welcomed and I feel like the most heaviest weight has been lifted off my shoulders.” However, she reiterates that in no way is she saying her blackmailer did the right thing. “I should have come in my own timing, not my blackmailer’s.”
Nikkie also discusses what more needs to be done by the LGBTQ+ community, saying that certain groups need more attention and support including Black trans people and “clockable” trans women. “When I came out the number one comment was ‘oh my god I never would have guessed.’ And even though I’m very aware that it's coming from a good place, you’re also saying ‘wow but if you were clockable it would have been a different situation,’” she says.
Nikkie explains that she had the “luxury” of a very supportive mother who supported her in her decisions when she was younger. Nikkie started on hormones when she was 14 years old and by 19 she had fully transitioned. “But not everyone has that option, not everyone has that choice,” she says. “So we need to be open and respectful and welcoming to those who started their journey a little bit later on.”
When asked by another follower whether people are still calling her “he,” Nikkie says yes but that it comes from mostly “older white men who are scared that their masculinity will be affected by us.”
“There’s not a lot you can do with people like that, it's like talking to a wall. People like that won’t be educated, they have their opinions and they’re going to stick with it. Simply put they just don’t have the range to understand,” she says about what she does when people call her ‘he.’ However, for her, it has gotten easier over time to hear those kinds of comments and terms as, she explains, the more times you hear certain hateful comments the less you become affected by them.
At the beginning of her YouTube career, Nikkie says she was constantly told she was fat but that no longer affects her and neither do transphobic terms, although it has taken time to reach that place of security. “In the beginning, I was like ‘you can call me ‘fat,’ you can call me ‘ugly,’ I’ve been called that my entire life,’ but being called ‘he’ or ‘tranny’ was something new in my life and since it’s such a vulnerable subject to me, it was like they had a straight road down to my heart to be able to crush it.”
“That road is now closed off,” she says.
Nikkie ends the video by answering what she says was the most asked question she received: “do you have any advice on dealing with a homophobic or transphobic family without confrontation?”
Nikkie says that while the majority of her family couldn’t have been more loving or supportive, some of her relatives on her father’s side were not accepting at all. “Ever since I was little and showcasing what I felt, they just never understood or wanted to understand what I was going through so I definitely know what it feels like to be rejected by a certain part of your family.” Her solution, she says, was to cut them out of her life, although she understands that isn’t an easy thing to do.
“I would like to point out that you don’t have to come out,” she continues. “Coming out is a personal decision, if you feel like you’re not ready yet, you’re not ready yet. The timing is yours. I did not have that option.”
She says it is important to give people time to process the news that you are sharing with them. “A lot of people will focus on the reaction of other people but you have to remember you are doing this for you. You have to allow people to be shocked. People when they hear this need time to take in the news,” she says. “If family or friends react in a negative way it won’t necessarily be how they always feel. Give them time to get used to the news. First reactions most often aren’t always lasting reactions.”
“I also just want to say that I’m so incredibly proud of you. Coming out is one of the hardest things, if not the hardest thing, to do in your life. So the fact that you feel like you are ready to do it, means so much and you’ve already won such a great, great battle to overcome the fear and I couldn’t be more proud of you.”
Nikkie says filming her coming out video was the scariest day of her life. “I know at this moment it feels like you may lose all your friends, you may lose your family.”
“Know that if your friends don’t want to understand or your family doesn’t want to understand, there’s a huge community here ready to give their love to you and to catch you and to lift you up. We are here.”