Lazzarato made a video while still in the airport, detailing what she had just gone through, calling it “one of the scariest moments of my entire life.”
After getting off the plane, Lazzarato said she ran into trouble while trying to go through security. She said she was first told that her passport couldn’t be stamped due to a broken machine, despite her having seen it working up to that point.
She said she was taken aside and waited while they had her passport for around two hours, which she reports having just renewed and updated.
“Finally, my bodyguard comes out and starts shaking his head at me,” Lazzarato said in the video. “And I said, ‘What are you shaking your head for? What is going on?’ Hes said, ‘You’ve been denied entry.'”
She said she was then informed by her bodyguard that she had been denied entry for being transgender, prompting a panic attack.
“I full on started balling. Sobbing my eyes out,” she said. “To the point where I was having, I thought an anxiety attack or panic attack or something. I’ve never felt this feeling before. I couldn’t breathe.”
She explained that it felt like the world was closing in on her.
Lazarrato, who is Canadian, next went to immigration, where she said she was there for another two and a half to three hours. She said she asked her baggage lady, whom she said was helpful throughout the situation, and her bodyguard not to leave her.
“At that point I really was scared for my life,” she said.
Dubai Police claimed her passport listed her as male, but Lazarrato disputes that claim.
“I knew this kind of discrimination existed…but my girlfriend and I wanted to come here,” she said. “This just kind of proves that people like me are not welcome here. It doesn’t matter what you have changed on your passport. You are not welcome if you are transgender.”
She called for the end of discrimination against transgender people in the United Arab Emirates.
Lazaratto reported sleeping in the hotel that night because she would have been arrested had she had stepped foot onto Dubai soil, before flying to Sweden with her girlfriend.
The video picks up from there, where she thanked a number of people for helping her during the situation, including her girlfriend’s mother, The United Nations Foundation, “people at the White House,” and the Prime Minister’s aide.
Lazaratto first gained attention with her makeup tutorials on YouTube, when she was still identifying as male, in 2008. She continued making videos after her transition and in January of 2015 her channel reached over one million subscribers. She has appeared on shows like Project Runway: All Stars and has been featured by the likes of People magazine and Entertainment Tonight. She has also worked on projects with fellow YouTube celeb Shane Dawson, as well as Miley Cyrus and Kylie Jenner.
Dubai has strict laws against LGBTQ individuals, including a law against “men imitating women,” which can lead to jail time of six months to a year. In 2014, two Brazilian women were detained in Dubai and had their passports taken for being transgender.
Watch Lazarrato’s video below.