On Monday, January 13th, NikkieTutorials uploaded a nearly 20-minute video to her YouTube channel titled “I’m Coming Out” and the beauty community– and the even those outside that space– held our breath. When we let it out, all we could hear was support and love. Though the reason by which Nikkie came to share her story is dark and cruel, Nikkie articulates in her video right to her fan community that she feels liberated and free for sharing her story and that she’s glad to do so.

NikkieTutorials, whose given name is Nikkie de Jager, is a Dutch makeup artist and YouTuber who has 12.7 million subscribers, and has launched several products in collaboration with big companies such as Ofra cosmetics, is an influential beauty YouTuber. She is among the ranks of the best artists and influencers on YouTube, and this coming out story comes as a huge surprise to everyone– but one, I think, that is accepted with warmth and love. I, myself, am a longtime fan of Nikkie, given her generally unproblematic nature, and when I watched the video, I was afraid of scrolling down through the comments. But when I did, I found that most, if not all, commented only to showcase their support. I’m so happy that the top comments were ones gushing about her bravery and strength, while also noting that– as per Nikkie’s wishes– many of us do not see her any differently.

In the video, Nikkie expresses that she is sharing her story now because she has been blackmailed. Though she does not reveal the identities of her blackmailers, she does give them a giant middle finger. Her bravery comes out of her desire not to bow to anyone else. She is unashamed– as she should be. Being who you are, simply, and honestly, is one of the scariest and most courageous things a person can do. And Nikkie, as always, brought the fire under grace with this message.

I’m unconcerned with the details. Her private life with her fiancé will surely come under fire, as insecure and transphobic people on the internet will have their words to say about the five-year relationship. Her transition happened at a very young age, and she lived almost all of her life as a girl (because she is a girl). And all of that will be tossed up in a debate over Reddit or Twitter– in the hands and mouths of people who really should be minding their own business. Nikkie asked for privacy, and we ought to grant her that. Sharing one’s story is a gift to which we are entitled. She gave us this beautiful gift, and though someone forced her hand, the best we can do is grant her the serenity of knowing that we see her as a person– a whole, human woman, deserving of kindness and protection and privacy.

Nikkie, your bravery is the kick we needed to start this year off right. I cannot imagine how scary this whole matter was and still is for you. But you are you– Nikkie, a woman, a Vrouw. And I hope your blackmailers are sitting pretty on your middle finger. In 2020, we don’t have time for transphobes. In 2020, we support our sisters. In 2020, we don’t entertain trans-exclusionary “feminism” (take a look at this Vox article to read more about TERFs) because that isn’t real or helpful feminism.

In 2020, every single one of us is allowed to fight for that simple, but meaningful right to be simply, wholly, and honestly ourselves.