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Popular beauty vlogger blackmailed into coming out as transgender. Her video is worth a watch.
NikkieTutorials/YouTube

In 2020, coming out as transgender isn't necessarily a bombshell. Slowly but surely, people are catching on to the fact that biological sex and gender are two different things, that those two things don't match up in some individuals, and that people are people no matter what gender they are.

Of course, there are also those who don't understand any of the above and feel the need to let other people's identities affect them, for whatever reason. Regardless, simply announcing that one is transgender, while sometimes a surprise, isn't headline newsworthy at this point.

What is newsworthy is someone being blackmailed into coming out, which is what happened this week to YouTube star and beauty vlogger, Nikkie de Jager.


Nikkie has been sharing has been sharing makeup tips on her YouTube channel NikkieTutorials for a decade. She's built up a following of 13 million subscribers on both YouTube and Instagram, entertaining and informing her viewers with her upbeat, positive approach to make-up artistry.

Until this week, the vast majority of those millions had no idea she was transgender. It wasn't something she'd ever announced, and though she says she had planned to share that fact with followers eventually, she wanted to do it when she felt ready.

RELATED: This university's transgender bathroom signs are on point.

Unfortunately, that right was stolen from her by individuals who threatened to go to the press and out her as transgender for money.

Nikkie made the most of the situation, choosing to come out on her own in a video posted to her YouTube channel:

www.youtube.com

"Today I am here to share something with you that I've always wanted to share with you one day, but under my own circumstances," she said in the video, "and it looks like that chance has been taken away from me. So today, I am taking back my own power and I have to tell you something."

"When I was younger I was born in the wrong body, which means that I am transgender," she said. She told her whole story, explaining that she dressed exclusively in girls' clothing from the time she was seven or eight, and was fully transitioned by age 19. But she also said she doesn't want to be identified with a label that she thinks isn't necessary.

"I am NikkieTutorials, and I am Nikkie," she said. "I am me. We don't need labels. But if we are going to put a label on it, yes, I am transgender. But at the end of the day I am me."

Without naming names, she said, "I have been blackmailed by people that wanted to leak my story to the press." She said she always wanted to share her full and true identity with her followers, but at the same time, she wanted to keep her channel focused on her makeup artistry. That sounds perfectly reasonable and respectable, doesn't it?

Nikkie has the right to share whatever she wants, and it's tragic that this announcement wasn't truly made on her own terms or on her own timeline. No one should ever feel forced to come out before they want to. No one should ever feel threatened over who they are or how they identify.

RELATED: The World Health Organization no longer classifies being trans as a 'mental illness.'

While she has made lemonade out of lemons and created a positive, uplifting, sincere coming out video, the way it came about was completely unacceptable. Not only is blackmail wrong—revealing oneself as transgender is a very personal thing. Nikkie has now publicly identified with a community that will no doubt welcome her with open arms, but she has also been forced to open herself up to transphobic ridicule and potential abuse. That shouldn't be the reality of being transgender, but statistics tell us it is. And people should get to choose when and if they make that announcement.

It also shouldn't matter. As Nikkie says in her video, "I'm sharing it with you now, but nothing changes." Clearly, she's a talented makeup artist and beauty vlogger or she wouldn't have the massive following she has. The fact that she's a transgender woman makes zero difference in her work, and she shouldn't have had to share that information with her fans unless and until she wanted to.

You don't have to fully understand someone's identity to respect their right to privacy and personal agency. Shame on the opportunists who forced her to come out before she was good and ready. They are the only people in this whole scenario who should feel ashamed of who and what they are.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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John Cena sets new world record with 650 wishes granted with the Make-A-Wish Foundation

He’s become the foundation’s most requested celebrity—and he never turns anyone down.

"I'll drop everything."

The multitalented, mega famous John Cena might hold many titles, but this might be the coolest one yet—and it has nothing to do with wrestling.

The actor and WWE performer just broke the Guinness World Records for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As of July 19, Guinness World Records reports, Cena has granted a whopping 650 wishes. The highest amount any other celebrity granted was 200.

The 16-time world champion first became a wish-granter back in 2002. Since then, he’s become the foundation’s most requested celebrity—and he never turns anyone down.

"I just drop everything. I don't care what I'm doing," he said in a WWE produced video after granting his 500th wish. “I can't say enough how cool it is to see the kids so happy, and their families so happy, I truly want to show them that it's their day.”
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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

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