YouTuber Nikkie de Jager Was Blackmailed Into Coming Out
Dutch makeup artist and popular YouTuber Nikkie de Jager posted a video on Monday night titled “I’m Coming Out,” in which she told her followers that she is transgender. She explained her decision by saying she was “taking back [her] own power” from the people who had blackmailed her with threats to tell the media about her gender identity.
“It was frightening to know that there are people out there that are so evil that they can’t respect someone’s true identity,” de Jager said in the video of the threats. “They said they wanted to leak this because I’m lying or that I don’t want to tell my truth or because they feel like I’m too scared for people to know who I truly am, but I’m not scared.”
“I was born in the wrong body, which means that I am transgender,” she added through tears. “I’ve wanted to share this side of myself for so long, but I could never figure out the timing. There always was gonna be the day where I would tell you; I did not expect that day to be today, but here we are.”
Unfortunately, de Jager’s experience is hardly isolated. “According to the CDC’s 2018 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, one-third of all LGBT youth are bullied at school and are twice as likely to be electronically bullied than their peers,” Dr. Alexis Chavez, medical director for The Trevor Project, told Supermajority News.
Research shows that up to 50 percent of all transgender people have made a suicide attempt, many before the age of 25, according to Chavez. “But transgender youth are not prone to suicide because of their gender identity,” Chavez clarified. “They are at a higher risk for suicide attempts because of the harmful rhetoric and rejection they so often hear from their friends and families that can be detrimental to their mental health and wellbeing.”
Being forced to come out is a specific form of abuse LGBTQ people face. As The Atlantic reported in 2013, coming out is an important part of queer life, but not a required one. Writer Preston Mitchum told The Atlantic that coming out needs to be the choice of the person doing it, and not for the sake of others.
“Ultimately, coming out is important because it makes the LGBT community more visible, particularly for black LGBT individuals,” he said. “But focusing so intensely on coming out places the burden on the individual to brave society rather than on society to secure the safety of the individual. In the name of ‘visibility,’ the victims of repeated discrimination are forced to ensure they are seen.”
Ultimately, de Jager’s video was met with support. “I’ll never be able to put into words what these last few days have been like,” she tweeted on Wednesday. “Thank you for accepting me and teaching me that on the other side of fear lies freedom. I love you so unconditionally, always.”