Famous YouTuber and beauty guru legend, our recently came out as a transgender woman. After threats of blackmail, she iconically decided to take her fate into her own hands and share her secret with the world. For ten years, NikkieTutorials, aka Nikkie de Jager built her empire of art right in front of our eyes. Anyone who has ever even thought of scrolling through a makeup tutorial on YouTube has likely come across her channel.
Before today, the majority of her fanbase wasn't aware that she was trans. Even more than that, almost none of them also knew that she was in the midst of her transition during her beginning years on YouTube.
Instead of giving in to the evil people who held this information against her, Nikkie turned it into an empowering and life-changing moment for herself. She took back control over her identity and decided to share it with the world on her own terms instead. I don't know about you, but that might just be the bravest thing I've ever seen.
We live in a culture that is thankfully growing to be more tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community. As a member of the LGBTQ+ myself, I find this absolutely amazing. But, it goes without saying that there are still too many bigots and hateful, spiteful people out there. That's hard enough being a person who lives an average life. Whereas, Nikkie has 12.7 million subscribers on YouTube, 13.2 million followers on Instagram, and 1.9 million followers on Twitter. Today, she had to expose herself to each and every one of them. She also had to face the heinous backlash that could easily end her career.
In her recent video, titled "I'm Coming Out", she made sure to reiterate that no matter what gender she identifies as or what orientation she is, she is authentically herself. Her entire video was spoken with a brave and prideful smile, which is entirely deserved due to the fact that she's facing so much hate without even flinching. Today, thousands, if not millions of people who watch her channel were able to find a new way to be inspired by her, or to even relate to her.
But, as incredible as that is, that isn't quite what blew me away.
For ten years, she has been growing and thriving right alongside her viewers. She created masterpieces, she taught countless people, she became a safe haven for some. During that time, who knows how many transphobic people were her fans? Who knows how many people looked past their hatred and loved this incredible woman for everything she's done without even knowing it? She brought people together without even realizing it. Or maybe she did. But there are people out there who the moment they hear the word 'transgender', they shutter and shun. How many of those people have been watching her channel and falling in love with her each time a new video came out, with absolutely no clue of Nikkie's past or identity?
To me, that shows that transphobia is a learned hatred. It's a chosen hatred. Those people, they chose to hate transgender people, but the moment they meet someone like Nikkie, who they don't realize is trans, that judgment is no longer there. They can't hate what they don't see. When they finally see it, they chose to feel hate. But Nikkie's story is a solid reminder that underneath everything, we're all human beings. Gender identity doesn't change that. Sexual orientation doesn't change that. Nothing changes that.
If you loved Nikkie before her coming out story and hated her after, ask yourself this, what changed? She's still the same person she was ten years ago when her channel began. She's still the incredibly gifted artist who stole our hearts. If you loved her then, why did that really change within just a few moments? There is no answer other than hatred. If that applies to you, then I guess the real question is how do you live with yourself? How do you go day to day feeling such an awful emotion like hatred within you? Why choose to hate when you can choose love instead? There is no excuse for transphobia or any sort of homophobia. There just isn't.
The most important lesson learned here is that just because the information can change within moments, doesn't mean the person behind the information has changed. She's still the same person she was yesterday and will be tomorrow. The only thing about her that has changed is your perception. So ask yourself, are you going to let your negative perception take over a place where the beautiful emotion of love and happiness could be? Are you going to choose to feel angry or disgusted and allow yourself to bathe in those negative emotions? Or are you gonna let them go and learn to feel happiness instead?
The Nikkie we know (and love) is still the same Nikkie we knew ten years ago. She's still the same Nikkie that climbed up the ranks of YouTube with incredible content. None of that has changed.
There will likely come a day when you meet someone who you don't realize might be transgender. You may love that person, you may become friends with that person, you may learn to adore that person. They're still the same person that you met, they haven't changed. But you won't hate them until you find something to hate.
Be a better person. Be a kinder person. Be a more tolerant person and a more respecting person. Don't let an invisible hatred dictate who you respect and who you don't.
Remember, Nikkie earned your respect years ago with her hard work and dedication. Don't let her identity be the reason you throw that away.