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"Drag Race" Star Laganja Estranja Is Finally Living Her Truth As A Transgender Woman

"I'm not going to live my life in fear anymore."

Drag Race star Laganja Estranja is finally living her truth.

After "presenting as female for the last 10 years" as a drag performer, Laganja has come out as a transgender woman.

Laganja wears a wavy blonde wig and full makeup to an event
Paul Archuleta / Getty Images

"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. I'm not going to live my life in fear anymore," Laganja told EW.

Laganja says that while she just came out to her "incredibly supportive" family this month, she shared her true identity with her inner circle last year.

Laganja wears a blonde bob wig and a short red dress with billowing sleeves
Presley Ann / Getty Images

"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," Laganja explained.

She continued, "I'm able to come offstage and take my makeup off and still see a beautiful woman in the mirror. It's powerful."

Laganja says she will continue to perform drag under her current name and doesn't plan to change her birth name, Jay, as to not feel like she's "turning [her] back on" the bricks that built her.

And while Laganja has been presenting as a woman, she explained that glam isn't the only thing that makes you a woman.

Laganja wears a long blonde wig and a dress that looks like a giant dollar bill
Santiago Felipe / Getty Images

"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," Laganja 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," Laganja added.

Going forward, Laganja hopes to use her voice to effect change both socially and politically for other transgender people.

After sharing her news, Laganja took to Instagram to thank her fans and friends for their "overwhelming amount of love and support."

Laganja smiles while wearing a short black wig and purple makeup
Kevin Winter / Getty Images for Weedmaps

"I have so many emotions running through me at this current moment...I feel so empowered that I don’t have to hide in the shadows as I make this journey...I want to thank all the trans brothers and sisters that came before me who fought so that my coming out could be joyous!" she wrote. 

"I am so proud to identify as TRANS and to be living my truth. Happy PRIDE, you are beautiful as you are," Laganja concluded.

Looking for more ways to get involved? Check out all of BuzzFeed's posts celebrating Pride 2021.

Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed