Francis Bourgeois, who became a viral personality on TikTok for his love of trains, has uploaded a video addressing those “doubting my authenticity”, amid speculation that his passion for trainspotting is “fake”.

It comes after images of the social media star in plain and “roadman” clothing surfaced on Twitter on Thursday – pictures which people felt were at odds with Francis’ persona and appearance in his hit videos.

In a video shared to his platforms on Friday, Francis said: “I’ve seen that people have been doubting my authenticity and whether I’m actually a trainspotter, mainly because of images where I was younger. I’d like to take you back to that time.”

The locomotive lover went on to explain that he started a new school in year seven, with his “favourite thing to do after school” was to play with his model railway, until he realised he was “experiencing feelings of loneliness”.

“So I decided to try and fit in a bit more at school. I gelled my hair up and decided to sell my model railway in order to fund my gym membership.

“I even wore roadman clothes, but it wasn’t me and it wasn’t making me happy at all.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

“Lockdown happened, my hair grew out and I reclaimed my love for trains through my videos – and honestly, running down platforms and chasing trains really feels like the shackles are off and I’m totally free,” he added.

Francis also said he has “met wonderful friends” and “life is more pure” after reconnecting with his “passion”, before stressing that trainspotters “come in all shapes and sizes”.

Following the video’s upload, Twitter users rushed to defend the trainspotter:

It was also the same on Instagram, where one commenter wrote: “Who’s questioning Francis? I just wanna talk, OK?!”

“It’s really easy for people who don’t know you to assume they know who you are through the microscopic lens that is the social media and the internet … Only you and the people who choose to share in your real life lived experience can know who you actually are,” another said.

We have the uncontroversial opinion that people should just let others enjoy things – keep on being you, Francis.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)