In a powerful, candid video uploaded Wednesday, trans YouTuber Gigi Lazzarato, known online as Gigi Gorgeous, came out as a lesbian to her 2 million followers. "I fell in love with somebody, and that person happens to be female," she says in the video.
Lazzarato didn't just come out, though, she also used her video to make an important point about the personal nature of sexuality — and how everyone has the right to define their sexuality on their own terms.
"I never thought that I would be making this video because I always thought I would be with a man," Lazzarato says. "But after everything I've gone through, the two other coming-out videos I've made ... I thought I was done .... I'm letting you guys know, that from this point forward, I am a lesbian."
Lazzarato first began posting YouTube videos eight years ago, before she was out as transgender. Eventually, she began documenting many elements of her transition on YouTube.
In Wednesday's video, Lazzarato explains that understanding her sexuality was a process that took time. "I thought that I knew who I was attracted to," she says. "I've been in several relationships with men ... but I've never experienced this feeling until I met this girl, and that's how I know that I'm a lesbian."
Then, Lazzarato shouts out an important point: Your gender and your history don't define your sexuality — only you can do that for yourself.
"Society has labels that people like to throw on other people that they don't know or they don't understand," she says. "I think that that's something a lot of people were doing to me initially, being like 'Oh my god are you a lesbian now?' And I was like, I don't know if I'm a lesbian now, maybe I'm bisexual, or you know, pansexual."
"Now I feel confident saying that yes, I am a lesbian," Lazzarato continues, "and the best part about that is no one can tell me otherwise because it's my sexual identity."
Lazzarato explains that everyone should get to define their sexuality for themselves, without having to fend off labels coming from other people. It's something many trans people have to deal with — especially because, as trans activist Joanne Herman explained in a piece for the Huffington Post in 2011, coming out as trans seems to confuse a lot of straight, cis people.
"In my case, I was living as a male since birth and was attracted to females, making me considered to be straight," Herman explained. "After I concluded my true gender was female, some were truly speechless once it clicked for them that my continued attraction to women meant I was now considered a lesbian."
"Confused? Don't be," Herman wrote. "All you have to remember is that sexual orientation is completely different from gender identity. You can't tell one from the other."
Comedian and writer Lewis Hancox said something similar in a piece about transgender men for Cosmopolitan last year: "We're not all into girls. Some trans guys are into guys, or both. Some people struggle with this one but the thing to remember is your sexual orientation is a totally separate thing from your gender. It's pretty simple, really!"
Someone's gender identity doesn't define their sexual orientation — and who they've loved in the past doesn't always predict who they'll love in the future.
Or, as Lazzarato put it in her coming-out video, "You can discover things about yourself that you didn't know before and be happier than ever."
Watch the whole video below: