One of “RuPaul’s Drag Race’s” most memorable contestants, Laganja Estranja, has come out as a trans woman.
Estranja made the big announcement on Instagram on Tuesday in conjunction with the release of an interview with Entertainment Weekly. In her caption, the choreographer and cannabis activist thanked her fans for the “overwhelming amount of love” and also thanked “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,” she added.
In the interview, Estranja detailed the story of coming to terms with her identity, describing herself as “nervous” but “not scared” to share it with the world.
“I’m not going to live my life in fear anymore.” she said.
Estranja credits drag and “presenting as female for the last 10 years” with easing her into identifying as trans, as well as making who she was “more explainable to the masses.”
“I do want to be able to express this at all times,” she said. “I just got my haircut — a very feminine cut — and in one week already, my life has changed. 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 also went on to emphasize that it was important to her to come out before beginning hormone therapy in order to help normalize the idea that there is no single timeline for an individual’s transition and that no one’s is the same.
For instance, the season six standout revealed that she just came out to her family as recent as last week. Enstranja also noted that her journey first necessitated coming out as nonbinary before eventually deciding she was a “feminine entity.”
“Glam doesn’t make you a woman; it makes you a woman to people outside, in the world,” she said. “Gender is performative, and what we wear is an extension of what we feel on the inside.”
Performance aside, she intends to continue performing as Laganja Estranja and go by Jay, her given name, among loved ones.
“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,” Estranja concluded, “The dressing part? I’ve got it down, but that’s not what makes you a woman.”