Gigi Gorgeous shared an emotional post on Instagram after airport personnel in Dubai detained her for several hours because she is transgender.
The Canadian model, who candidly documented her transition on YouTube, described the ordeal as “one of the scariest moments of my entire life.”
“After being detained and held at the Dubai airport for over 5 hours, this was the moment my baby came to rescue me,” Gorgeous captioned a photo embracing friend Nats Getty.
She continued, “Yesterday was one of the scariest moments of my entire life and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. How you can be denied entry somewhere just because of who you are is seriously disgusting and also very scary. This further proves the need for CHANGE.”
The 24-year-old model added that she was “safe and sound and happy” and on her way to “somewhere much more accepting.”
Gorgeous recounted the incident to TMZ Tuesday, claiming that the immigration officer in Dubai said, “I was told you are transgender. You cannot come into the country.”
Gorgeous was born Gregory Allan Lazzarto, but she changed her name to Gigi Loren in 2014 and says that is the name that appears in her updated passport. The YouTube personality also says her passport describes her as female, despite airport police telling TMZ the passport has a male photo and describes her as male.
TMZ adds that the “imitation of women by men” is illegal in Dubai, which is part of the Muslim majority nation the United Arab Emirates.
In 2008, encouraged by friends and teachers, Gorgeous – who, at the time, identified as a homosexual male – began posting on YouTube under the moniker Gregory Gorgeous. Her makeup tutorials started out as “fun little projects,” but after a few months she said she was getting recognized at the mall and realized she’d perhaps found her calling.
Her mother died when she was just 19 years old, and the model knew she had to make a change.
“I never got to say it to her face,” she told PEOPLE last year. “[Her death] made me realize, ‘Life is too short to not do what you want to do. Let’s become the most authentic you that you can be.’ ”