RuPaul’s Drag Race icon Laganja Estranja has proudly come out as a trans woman, telling the world that she refuses to live her life in fear anymore.
The drag legend, who rose to fame on season six, has been out to her close inner circle for a year and finally came out to her family last week, she told Entertainment Weekly.
“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,” Laganja Estranja said.
“I’m not going to live my life in fear anymore.”
Throughout a wide-ranging interview, Estranja explained that being a drag queen has helped her ease into being a woman – but she ultimately came to realise that she needed to express herself in all walks of life.
“Glam doesn’t make you a woman; it makes you a woman to people outside, in the world… gender is performative, and what we wear is an extension of what we feel on the inside.
“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 went on to explain her journey to coming out as a trans woman, revealing that she first told friends she was non-binary.
She said people will think that, as a trans woman, she wanted to be a woman for her entire life – which she agreed is “partly true”.
“But it’s also true that I’ve wanted to be male my whole life to fit into what society deems as normal,” she said.
“But, that isn’t my truth, and I’m daring to take this on. I tried to be male and be in between and non-binary. The truth is I’m a feminine entity and I can live this life.”
She went on to confirm that she will still use her drag name and she will still be known as Jay by friends and family.
Laganja Estranja also paid tribute to Drag Race alumna Gia Gunn, who is trans and is also a close personal friend. The pair previously lived together, an experience that helped Estranja come to terms with her womanhood.
She praised Gunn for not pushing her and for allowing her to take her time on her gender journey.
“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.”
Estranja also said it was inspiring to watch Gunn live her life happily as a trans woman, having lovers and boyfriends – “all the things trans women, I think, worry about when they came out”.
Ultimately, Estranja decided to come out during Pride Month, telling Entertainment Weekly: “Being a drag queen in itself is inherently political and being trans is even more so.”
Estranja said she hopes to be part of a “wave of change”, adding: “I’m so happy. I feel so beautiful and empowered, and, finally, I’m looking back at who I am in the mirror, and it’s such an incredible feeling.”
The drag star has been flooded with supportive messages since she came out as trans, with many taking to social media to offer their congratulations.