'Drag Race' Star Laganja Estranja Comes Out as Trans, Says 'It's Incredibly Empowering!'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday June 16, 2021

Laganja Estranja
Laganja Estranja  (Source:Laganja Estranja/Instagram)

"I'm not going to live my life in fear anymore," declared "RuPaul's Drag Race" alum Laganja Estranja, who recently came out as trans in an exclusive with Entertainment Weekly.

"Estranja says after 'presenting as female for the last 10 years' as a drag performer, she eased into her identity while on the stage in a way that 'made it more explainable to the masses,' but, in 2021, she's living her truth for one person only: Herself," EW reported.

"I do want to be able to express this at all times," Estranja told the outlet. "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."

The "Drag Race" star, who competed on the show's sixth season, revealed she first came out to her friends last year and more recently came out to her family.

Another stage of Estranja's process entailed coming out as non-binary. "I tried to be male and be in-between and nonbinary," she explained. "The truth is I'm a feminine entity and I can live this life."

"I'm going to be more free to explore what it means to be a woman on the inside," she added. "The dressing part? I've got it down, but that's not what makes you a woman."

Estranja also gave credit to women for helping her find the courage she needed to embrace her authentic self, saying, "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."

One inspiration, in particular, was fellow "Drag Race" star, Gia Gunn.

"She allowed me to take my time and continued to be supportive," Estranja said of Gunn, adding that "physically seeing her change and the fact that she's been able to live a happy life and have lovers and have boyfriends — all the things trans women, I think, worry about when they came out — gave me hope and encouragement."

Laganja offered a message to those who might be "struggling" to affirm their authentic identity, advising them to "breathe and accept it, because once you do, it's incredibly empowering!"

Laganja took to Instagram after the interview's publication to express her gratitude "for the overwhelming amount of love and support I am receiving right now" and 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," Laganja added. "Happy PRIDE, you are beautiful as you are."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.