'I am sharing this with you because I feel free enough now for you to truly follow my journey.'
NikkieTutorials has come out as transgender.
The 25-year-old vlogger, whose real name is Nikkie de Jager, took to YouTube on Monday to release a 17-minute long video detailing her decision to come out publicly.
"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," she said. "I can't believe I'm saying this today to all of you for the entire world to see, but damn, 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."
"I am NikkieTutorials and I am Nikkie. I am me. We don't need labels. If we are going to put a label on it, yes, I am transgender. But, at the end of the day, I am me and, at the end of the day, you are you," she added. "I am here to openly share that I am transgender."
By coming out publicly, de Jager said that she hopes to inspire those "who feel insecure, who feel out of place, who feel misunderstood."
"We need to accept each other. We need to respect each other. But most of all, we need to hear each other and understand," she said. "It doesn’t matter what type of label someone belongs to, what kind of hair color someone has, the type of clothing they wear, their height, their weight, their size, the way they look, the way they want to express themselves. It is 2020 and it is time for us to understand, accept, hear, and respect. The time for you to love yourself and express yourself the way you truly feel is now."
From there, de Jager went on to discuss her story, which dates back to when her mom was pregnant with her and "convinced that she was having a girl."
"Little did she know she was actually having a girl. I came out of her and there was a surprise... a surprise to my mom, definitely a surprise to me as I had brains to think with," de Jager said, before revealing that she "always thought that I was a girl."
"All of me was girly. My mom knew immediately that I either was going to be gay or a different type of story and it turned out to be a different type of story," she continued. "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."
De Jager started her transition by growing her hair out and telling her classmates at age six, before beginning to fully wear girls' clothes within the next couple of years. Though "some kids got it, and other kids... did not," de Jager says that the beginning of her transition "felt amazing." She went on to begin hormones at age 14 and was fully transitioned by age 19.
Despite times of frustration in having to tell those close to her, de Jager said that her fiance, Dylan Drossaers, has been supportive through it all.
"Dylan is a very, very special guy. I've never met anyone like Dylan. He is truly the most kindhearted man in my life ever," she said. "He knows now, but I wish I'd told him sooner. Everything felt so magical, so good, that I was afraid to lose him if I would tell me my whole story. At the point where I told him my whole story, of course, he was shocked, but that's a private matter that we're dealing with and that I'm so proud we're able to deal with."
As for why she decided to come forward now, de Jager claimed that she was blackmailed by people who wanted to out her.
"We live in a world where other people hate on people that are truly themselves. I have been blackmailed by people that wanted to leak my story to the press," she said. "And at first it was frightening... to know that there are people out there that are so evil that they can't respect someone's true identity. It is vile and it is gross... They said they wanted to leak it 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. I'm not scared."
Not only is she not scared, but de Jager shared that she's "proud" of her "beautiful" story.
"I am me. I am still Nikkie. Nothing changes about that. 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 that I have changed... This feels liberating and freeing, but I, at the end of the day, am still Nikkie. And nothing changes about that," she said. "No more holding back. No more secrets. From today on, you get me."