In a recent interview on the Armchair Expert podcast, Jonathan Van Ness emotionally defended trans rights to host Dax Shepard. Released on Monday, September 25, the episode aired the pair’s discussion, which started out light-hearted but quickly descended into an unexpected and heated debate.
Van Ness and Shepard initially clashed over the latter categorising The New York Times as a left-leaning paper. While the LGBTQ+ activist explained that, as of late, the outlet has published what many consider to be “anti-trans” content, Shepard pushed back, saying it was simply “challenging” certain issues, like minors taking puberty blockers and hormones.
“Some people are very uncomfortable about teenagers transitioning,” the host argued. “To even question it makes you an enemy. I don’t think that’s the way forward.”
Van Ness responded to these comments, saying, “I feel like I’m talking to my dad”, adding that there was “a good chance” Shepard was being exposed to “misinformation and disinformation”.
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“A lot of the rhetoric around the anti-trans backlash does have a lot of misinformation and disinformation in it,” they explained. Van Ness then continued by citing research and statistics on the issue, before the pair engaged in a 20-minute-long discussion on trans athletes in sport.
As a trans and non-binary person, the hairstylist said it is “disappointing when you realise the amount of people who think they’re really fighting for something,” by excluding children from certain activities.
“I’m not calling you a transphobe. You can not be transphobic and still have thoughts that espouse trans misogyny and espouse transphobic ideolgies or beliefs and not be transphobic,” they clarified to Shepard. Additionally, Van Ness said that most children “don’t want to f*cking go to the Olympics,” but rather just want to take part.
“I could just cry because I’m so tired of having to fight for little kids because they just want to be included. I wish that people were as passionate about little kids being able to be included or grow up as they were about fictitious women’s fairness in sports. I have to tell you I am very tired.”
After Shepard apologised and before the conversation changed topic, Van Ness added: “If there’s one thing I could leave you with: Little kids are not getting gender reassignment surgery. Three-year-olds are not getting hysterectomies. They’re not getting f*cking breast implants.
“I am scared of the vitriol that trans people face every day.”
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