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RuPaul’s Drag Race season 6 star Leganja Estranja has come out as transgender, saying she has “never felt more beautiful and comfortable in my own skin.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Estranja, 32, shared her journey towards coming out as transgender.
“There are so many other women around me who’ve inspired me to come forward today, and it’s because of their fight and their struggle that I’m able to really do this and say that I’m nervous, but I’m not scared,” she said. “I’m not going to live my life in fear anymore.”
Estranja said that after 10 years of “presenting as female” and finding her identity, she is now able to be her true self.
“I do want to be able to express this at all times. I just got my haircut — a very feminine cut — and in one week already, my life has changed,” she said. “I’m able to come off stage and take my makeup off and still see a beautiful woman in the mirror. It’s powerful.”
Estranja told EW that she had yet to start hormone therapy, but wanted to speak openly about her transition in order to reiterate that each trans person’s journey is unique, and should be navigated in their own time.
“Gender is performative, and what we wear is an extension of what we feel on the inside,” she added. “That’s the real truth here: once this is out and once people know, I’m going to be more free to explore what it means to be a woman on the inside. The dressing part? I’ve got it down, but that’s not what makes you a woman.”
Estranja came out as gender nonbinary in 2017, and said that was a way for both her and those around her to ease into her identity, as well as a recognition that she doesn’t feel she fits into the gender binary.
She also praised fellow Drag Race season 6 castmate Gia Gunn, who came out as trans in 2017, saying she watched Gunn’s transition and felt “blessed to have had that experience.”
“Our transitions are different and will manifest in different ways, but it was so incredible to see someone live their truth and to be happy,” she said. “I’m so thankful that Gia didn’t push me and has allowed me to take my time. Of course she’s encouraged me. From day one when we met, she was like, ‘Oh honey, you’re a woman!’ She’s known longer than I have!”
In an Instagram post after EW‘s interview, Estranja said she had “so many emotions running through me at this current moment.”
“FIRST, I want to thank all of you for the overwhelming amount of love and support I am receiving right now,” she wrote. “Second, thank you to @joeynolfi for telling my story, exactly how it is — at the beginning of my transition. I feel so empowered that I don’t have to hide in the shadows as I make this journey.”
She continued: “Lastly, I want to thank all the trans brothers and sisters that came before me who fought so that my coming out could be joyous! I am so proud to identify as TRANS and to be living my truth. Happy PRIDE, you are beautiful as you are.”
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