'RuPaul's Drag Race' Alum Laganja Estranja Comes Out as Trans: 'I'm Not Going to Live My Life in Fear Anymore'

Laganja Estranja credited friend and RuPaul's Drag Race costar Gia Gunn with helping her realize her gender identity

Laganja Estranja
Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty

Laganja Estranja is living her truth this Pride Month, coming out as transgender.

The RuPaul's Drag Race season 6 alum opened up about her journey to realizing her gender identity in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.

"I am so proud to identify as TRANS and to be living my truth, the 32-year-old later wrote on Instagram. "Happy PRIDE, you are beautiful as you are."

"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," Estranja said, in her interview with EW. "I'm not going to live my life in fear anymore."

The performer and choreographer went on to explain she revealed the news to her inner circle on her birthday in 2020, while "comfortably, fully committing" to who she is as a trans woman over the past year. She most recently came out to her "incredibly supportive" family a week ago.

Estranja, who plans to continue using her drag name while performing and her birth name (Jay Jackson) with those closest to her, previously came out as gender nonbinary in December 2017, explaining that she prefers feminine pronouns.

"People think that when you're trans that you've wanted to be a girl your whole life; yes, that's partly true [for me], but it's also true that I've wanted to be male my whole life to fit into what society deems as normal," Estranja told EW. "But, that isn't my truth, and I'm daring to take this on. I tried to be male and be in-between and nonbinary. The truth is I'm a feminine entity and I can live this life."

Back in 2014, Estranga - a cannabis activist - finished in eighth place on RuPaul's Drag Race.

She said to EW that "presenting as female for the last 10 years" as a drag queen helped her explore her identity onstage in a way that "made it more explainable to the masses."

Friend and RuPaul's Drag Race costar Gia Gunn also helped Estranga realize her truth, after Gunn, 31, came out as trans in 2017. "I feel blessed to have had that experience," Estranja said. "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."

"I'm so thankful that Gia didn't push me and has allowed me to take my time," she added. "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!"

Laganja Estranja
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Estranja referenced transgender and nonbinary celebs like Elliot Page and Demi Lovato recently coming out as an important step in normalizing trans existence and dismantling the gender binary, especially with a record number of anti-trans bills being considered by state legislatures across the country this year.

"I'm going to be part of a wave of change," Estranja said. "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."

"If anyone is struggling with it, breathe and accept it, because once you do, it's incredibly empowering," she added.

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