Nikkie de Jager, a YouTube beauty guru who goes by the handle NikkieTutorials, has come out as transgender. In a video titled "I'm Coming Out," de Jager explained to her 12.5 million subscribers that she was "scared" to come forward, but that after she came out, she felt liberated and free. The video was posted today, though de Jager added that she was blackmailed into coming out before she felt ready.

Cosmopolitan reports that de Jager told viewers that someone threatened to leak the information. To get the news out on her own terms, de Jager published the video and told her story.

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"When I was younger, I was born in the wrong body, which means that I am transgender. It's so surreal saying this. Filming this video is scary, but it feels so liberating and freeing. I've been wanting to share this side of myself to all of you for so long, but I could never figure out the timing. I am Nikkie Tutorials, and I am Nikkie. I am me. We don't need labels. If we are going to put labels 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 said. "I am here to openly share that I am transgender, and with this message I want to inspire little Nikkie's around the world who feel insecure, who feel out of place, who feel misunderstood — I hope by me standing up and being free that it inspires others to do the same, to truly live your life like you want it and the way you deserve it. This world needs us. We need to accept each other. We need to respect each other, but most of all, we need to hear each other and understand."

De Jager says that she started her transition when she was 6 years old. Although she says that her family and teachers were supportive, the experience was difficult. She fully transitioned at age 19 after taking hormones and growth-stoppers at 14. When she began her YouTube career, she explains, she was still in the process of transitioning.

De Jager went on to add that the people threatening to leak her story were "evil" and saying that she was "frightened" about what could happen if everything was on the internet before she was ready to come forward with it herself. She said that the situation was "vile" and "gross" and that she knew the blackmailers were watching. Instead of giving in, she explains, she said that she was living her truth. 

"I have been blackmailed by people that wanted to "leak" my story to the press, and at first, it was frightening. 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. And I know you are watching this. 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," she said. "So to the people who tried to blackmail me and thought that they could really mess up my life with that, this one's for you. [Puts up middle finger] I hope you can sit nice on it."

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