Trans People don't owe anyone an explanation
Trans women are women whether you believe so or not
I’m sure we’ve all seen by now that NikkieTutorials came out in a tear jerking video that she is a trans-woman. If you’re unfamiliar with NikkieTutorials, she is a Dutch make up artist and beauty vlogger. In 2015 her video, “The Power of Makeup” went viral and her online fame soared. As of Oct. 2019 her Youtube channel has 12.4 million subscribers and over 1.1 billion views.
Tutorials has been uploading videos to YouTube since 2008 and has always identified as a woman. In her coming out video she explains how when her mom was pregnant with Nikkie, she knew she was going to have a girl. When Nikkie was born - doctors identified her as a boy - her mom knew that her baby was either going to be gay or trans. As Nikkie fondly explains in her video, Mamma Tutorials already knew who Nikkie really was.
Nikkie’s coming out video was prompted by someone blackmailing her and threatening to expose for her “lying” about who she "really" was. She decided to beat them to it and posted her “I’m Coming Out” video on Jan. 13th 2020. If you didn’t cry while watching her video then go watch it again.
So far, the response to her coming out has been positive. Personally, I try to avoid the comment section on any social media platform (YouTube especially) but I wanted to see how her fans were responding to the news. Mostly, it has been positive and supportive, but it is the internet so not everyone was okay with the reveal. Some, who I assume meant well, didn’t know how to compliment her for “passing as a woman.”
First, I want to lead with trans-people do not owe ANYONE an explanation about who they were before they transitioned. When I was watching her video I was confused as to why she decided to come out. When she explained that she was being blackmailed I got so angry.
I was angry for Nikkie and how she couldn’t continue living her life as a woman without having to explain that she is a trans-woman. Trans-women are women – PERIODT. Whoever had the audacity to try an “out” her as if she was lying about who she “really is” doesn’t deserve to walk around freely.
Second, if you find yourself saying “I couldn’t tell she was trans!” or “Wow! She’s so pretty for a trans-woman” these are not compliments. These phrases and variations of them are transphobic. Nikkie’s “trans-ness” doesn’t make her any less of a woman and shouldn’t be mentioned as if she somehow “beat the odds” at being viewed as pretty. It’s like saying “You’re pretty for a black girl” as if my beauty is so great that my blackness didn’t get in the way.
As a cosplayer, I can see how being able to portray a male character as a woman compliments like, “I couldn’t tell!” wouldn’t be a problem but trans women aren’t wearing a costume for a day. This is who they ARE. Their identity goes so much deeper than what we do as cosplayers. If you find yourself thinking “Wow, she’s pretty for a trans woman” say, “You’re so pretty!” or say “I love your makeup tutorials!” or even say “Thank you for living your true self!” because what she did was brave and dangerous and again, I cannot stress enough – whoever tried to out her doesn’t deserve to walk around freely.
And finally, if you’re having a hard time accepting that Nikkie is trans just quietly excuse yourself and work on some personal growth. Trans-people deserve to exist and in 2019 the Human Rights Campaign reported at least 25 transgender or non-conforming people (predominately black and brown) were fatally shot or killed by other violent means for no other reason than they existed. Someone took it upon themselves to kill them – and no one is doing anything about it. The cosplay community could become a safe space for transgender people. We already gender-bend characters, dress up as the opposite sex and pride ourselves for being able to chameleon into any character we see fit. Our space should be open minded enough to let anyone exist as their true selves – but unfortunately we have so much work to do.
I wish Nikkie nothing but the best and whoever dares to try her again just know she sees you – I see you – and we have a special seat just for you.