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Trans YouTuber Abigail Thorn would’ve been dead by 30 if she kept ‘pretending to be a man’

Emma Powys Maurice April 5, 2021
Abigail Thorn

YouTuber Abigail Thorn came out as trans in January 2021 (Twitter/@BBCNews)

YouTube star Abigail Thorn has opened up about her decision to come out as trans, revealing that she expected to be dead by 30 if she had to keep pretending otherwise.

Thorn, 27, is a veteran YouTuber and creator of the long-running channel Philosophy Tube, which has more than 900,000 subscribers and 50 million views.

She came out publicly as transgender in January, and was immediately catapulted into becoming one of the most high-profile trans women in Britain.

“That’s part of the reason why I decided to keep it to myself for such a long time,” she told the BBC’s LGBT+ correspondent Ben Hunte.

“I deliberately pretended to be a man in quite a few of my videos, I changed my clothes and put on a very deep voice, so I hid, deliberately, for a long time.”

But there came a point where Thorn realised she simply couldn’t keep living much longer if she had to live a lie.

“I remember very clearly waking up one morning years ago and thinking: ‘I can’t do this for much longer. I think maybe I’ll live until I’m 29, maybe not much beyond that. If I have to keep pretending to be a man, I’m gonna die,'” she recalled.

“And now that I’m finally out, all my loved ones, they say to me: ‘You seem so much happier, you’re more relaxed.’ I’m sleeping better, I have nicer dreams now. It’s incredible.

“It’s because I’m a woman,” she added, “and because I don’t have to pretend to be a man anymore.”

When Abigail Thorn came out in both a written and filmed statement she took aim at the climate of transphobia in the UK that’s allowed “pseudoscience and fear-mongering” to stymie trans rights in the nation.

Three months on, the star admitted she was “terrified” that the anti-trans media would spin her coming out into a negative – and this fear impacted her day-to-day life.

Speaking through tears, she recalled an occasion when she felt unable to collect her baby niece from nursery because “I know what the newspapers in this country say about trans people”.

“I was walking to the nursery with my brother to pick her up, and halfway there I suddenly stopped and said to my brother, ‘I can’t go with you, because I know what people think about us,'” she said.

“And I had to go, and I couldn’t see my baby niece, and my brother had to tell her: ‘Aunty Abi loves you, but she can’t be here because people might say awful things about her.'”

She’s determined not to hide her trans identity and is leaving all her old videos on the channel so people will always know she’s transgender.

But she spoke bluntly about the reality of being trans in the UK, and the rights she’s had to give up in exchange for the freedom to live as her authentic self.

“I don’t have the same rights as everyone else. Literally, the morning that I woke up and started my transition, I lost some of my rights,” Thorn said. “I can’t get married the same way that you can. I can’t get the same healthcare that you can get anymore, because I am trans.

“I would love to stand up and say, ‘It’s wonderful out here, it’s the easiest thing in the world [to be openly trans],'” she continued.

“I do feel a hell of a lot better since I did, not only come out to myself but publicly as well. It’s like gravity has been turned down by ten percent. But I also know how hard it is.”

More: Abigail Thorn, coming out, Trans, YouTube

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