Abigail Thorn announced that she was a transgender woman, through her Twitter account.
Abigail Thorn is the creative force behind Philosophy Tube, a YouTube channel that discusses philosophy through a socio-political framework. She has, to put it mildly, a massive fanbase: Philosophy Tube currently has more than 828,000 subscribers on YouTube, 194,600 followers on Twitter and a dedicated subreddit with 10,800 members. Thorn is one of the most preeminently recognizable online personalities in the U.K.—and she may now be one of Britain’s most well-known trans women.
Thousands of people expressed their support for Abigail Thorn on Twitter, and many expressed their appreciation and admiration for her.
Abigail Thorn mentions the societal pressure that will be placed upon her shoulders. “I feel an enormous pressure to be good at it,” she proclaims.
Thorn’s newfound visibility comes at a precipitous time in the U.K.: Anti-trans media is on the rise, trans-exclusionary radical feminists, or TERFs, and other hate groups are dictating public health care policy and the British lady who wrote a famous series of books about a popular boy wizard continues to make national headlines for her antagonistic relationship to trans people.
“There’s a tension because on the one hand, coming out is amazing and I love it, and I am so happy and I love being trans,” Thorn tells Xtra. “But on the other hand, it feels like everyone else has a problem with it.”
That’s a conundrum Thorn has had to grapple with privately. Like scores of trans people before her, Thorn has known the undeniable truth about herself for a while. It was in part her background in philosophy that helped her come to a deeper understanding of her identity—reading and studying the work of luminary trans writers and philosphers Julia Serano, Juno Roche and Talia Mae Bettcher and feminist writers like Audre Lorde (who specifically influenced the coming-out video). “I’m someone who very much needs to understand things intellectually before I jump in,” she says. Thorn jokes that, in retrospect, her identity was obvious. “I literally made the video ‘Transphobia: an Analysis’ [in 2018] that has over a million views,” she laughs.
The biggest challenge so far has been Thorn’s difficulty in accessing trans communities while protecting her identity. She couldn’t go out into the world and engage with support groups or community gatherings at the risk of being outed before she was ready. Once, she attended a play in London and had to make a hasty exit when she was clocked as both the host of Philosophy Tube and as trans.
In online trans communities, Thorn felt seen—but not always in the way she wanted. Sometimes, people would speculate about her identity there. “I accessed a few [spaces] anonymously and there were a few people posting screenshots of my videos saying, ‘Do you think Philosophy Tube’s transitioning or not?’” she says. “I found that quite invasive, and I thought, ‘This is going to put pressure on me that I don’t need.’”
Last November, Thorn also found herself at the receiving end of the ire of trans Twitter when she quote-tweeted a New York Post article proclaiming Donald Trump’s team had told him to prepare for transition. Thorn joked that Trump was transitioning—and was shamed for it. While she had felt a kinship with trans people online, she was still perceived as a cis man. “It made me feel a little lonely, if I’m honest,” she says. Source Xtramag