On Jan. 13, in a 17-minute-long video on her channel, one of the biggest beauty gurus on YouTube came out as transgender. Nikkie de Jager, more commonly known as NikkieTutorials, started her YouTube career in 2008 at the age of 14 after she was inspired to recreate a makeup look she had seen on TV. De Jager only grew from there. At the age of 25, she has amassed a beauty empire for herself. She’s accumulated over 13 million subscribers and 1.2 billion views on YouTube, become the global beauty advisor for Marc Jacobs Beauty and collaborated with Ofra, Maybelline and Lady Gaga.
In her video, which is titled “I’m Coming Out,” the beauty guru reveals that she had been receiving threats from an individual who had plotted to ruin her career and life by exposing that she had transitioned. As a result, de Jager was forced to come out to her followers and the general public.
De Jager was invited onto Ellen DeGeneres’ show Jan. 25, and there she stated that she was happy that it’s 2020 and that people were accepting of her. On the show, de Jager also revealed that she had always been confused by gender roles and how they relate to things like hair and clothes, and she attributed her success to her mother’s love and support for helping her when she was young. But most importantly, the YouTuber stated that she can now be more comfortable with herself.
De Jager definitely deserved the public outpouring of support. Her name trended on Twitter, and fans flocked to her comment section to give support. Most people online generally seemed supportive of the beauty guru. This positive reaction of understanding and support really goes to show just how far the LGBTQ community has come in the last few decades. If de Jager had come out as transgender in the ’90s, she could’ve counted on her brand taking a hit and her career becoming stagnant at best and ending at worst. But NikkieTutorials’ fans embraced de Jager’s announcement, and some celebrities and the general public cheered her on.
Even though the LGBTQ community has come so far, there are still issues that haven’t been overcome. This “scandal” showed us that there are people out there who still find it acceptable to hold someone’s transition over their head. What the unnamed individual — the one who pressured de Jager into coming out — proved is that there are people who are willing to weaponize a person’s orientation or sexuality for their own personal gain. And that is not only disgusting but completely unacceptable.
It’s important to also recognize the backlash against de Jager, however small, that occurred once she came out. There were individuals who claimed they could “tell that she’s a man,” and there were others who called her “two-faced” for keeping the fact that she was transgender a secret. And even though these comments were few, it shows that we still have work to do. Transgender individuals should not be mocked for transitioning, obviously. Transgender individuals also do not owe us anything, and if they don’t want to disclose information about their past or how they currently identify, they do not have to. Nothing about de Jager’s brand or makeup skills would change if people didn’t know she was transgender. And if Nikki didn’t want to tell the world she’s transgender, then she had no obligation to her viewers to tell them that.
We have to get rid of this mindset that people in the LGBTQ community owe us an explanation. De Jager’s orientation is between her and those close to her, not the rest of the world. Even though issues like these exist, it is heartwarming to know that the world has come so far and that Nikki is happy with where she is right now.