JoeGoes YouTube star Lily Jo Hanson comes out as trans: ‘I’m happy, healthy and a living thirst trap’

Lily Jo Hanson speaks into a microphone in a darkly-lit bedroom

YouTuber Lily Jo Hanson has come out as trans in a stirring video confirming the end of her Joe Goes series.

The 38-year-old veteran YouTuber from Fosston, Minnesota, who had a popular channel called Joe Goes, returned to the platform after a three-year absence to open up about her gender identity journey in an emotional video about her experiences.

Hanson is known for her blithe comedic style and decade-long career in television, working on Al Gore’s Current TV cable channel and The CW’s Smash Cuts.

On Wednesday (3 March), she mixed her usual brand of deadpan delivery with candour in a video about being trans, posted to the Joe Goes channel, entitled “The Cost of Costumes”.

She also confirmed that the series Joe Goes, following a three-year-long hiatus, is over and she is settling into her writing.

Reflecting on the internal “war” she’s faced with herself, Hanson explained how she “overindulged in substances” before steadily coming out to people over social media and text as trans.

“This cycle went on, day after day, week after week, month after month, until finally, I realised one day I might not wake up.”

“Part of me wanted that. I would rather be nothing than continue living as Joe,” she said, prompting her to seek gender-affirming healthcare.

“Now I’m, happy, healthy and obviously, a living thirst trap.”

Lily Jo Hanson: ‘It felt like I was drowning and finally came up for air’

“For me, Halloween wasn’t an excuse to put on a costume,” Lily Jo Hanson said at the beginning of the video.

“It was an excuse to take off the costume I wore every other day of the year.

“From my earliest memories, I knew I was female inside and my body didn’t match. When I saw other women I burned with envy. I drew pictures of myself as a woman, I imagined it.”

“I even prayed to God at night to make my body female when I woke up – it didn’t work, should have tried Satan,” she joked.

Hanson recalled growing up trans in a town of some 1,500 people, explaining how she didn’t want to “stand out” so kept her “gender incongruence bottled up”.

“I thought I could choose not to have it, but some aspects of identity are not choices,” she added.

Halloween soon became one of Hanson’s favourite times of the year – a lifeline where she could be her authentic self without scrutiny from other people.

She began making weekly visits to queer clubs and venues.

“It felt like I was drowning and finally came up for air,” she recalled.

“I lived a double life – one as Joe, one as Lily,” she said, adding that she tried to get as “much happiness as possible because I wasn’t happy as Joe.”

She said she came to “regret” those “wasted years”.

Now proudly living her truth as a trans woman, Hanson spent much of the 25-minute video on the Joe Goes channel debunking pernicious transphobic myths while educating viewers on gender dysphoria.

“When I came out as Lily, it wasn’t easy,” Hanson admitted. “I’ve been harassed, I’ve lost some people. But that’s nothing compared to what I’ve gained, the positives dwarf the negatives.

“When you’re being authentic, your essence shine and people want to be around you.”

“My story is not Joe became Lily,” she added. “My story is Lily stopped pretending to be Joe.”

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