Jonathan Van Ness engaged in a tense discussion about transgender youth during an episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast released on Monday.
The “Queer Eye” star, aged 36, was visibly moved to tears during the “Armchair Expert” podcast episode, which initially centered around their podcast, “Getting Curious.”
The conversation took a turn when Shepard asserted that The New York Times “absolutely is” left-leaning.
Van Ness, who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/he/she pronouns, disagreed with this viewpoint, referencing recent articles on gender-affirming care that some have criticized as “anti-trans.”
Shepard contended that the outlet was merely “challenging” topics related to puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy, acknowledging the discomfort some feel about teenagers transitioning.
He posed the question of whether individuals might change their minds but also recognized the grave consequences of not supporting gender-affirming care, such as a heightened risk of suicide among LGBTQ youth.
Van Ness, a professional hairstylist, expressed feeling like they were talking to their father, citing the misinformation and disinformation present in the anti-trans backlash discourse.
They addressed the ongoing debate concerning trans kids in sports, expressing disappointment that some are more passionate about excluding trans children than ensuring their inclusion.
Emotionally, Van Ness advocated for children who simply want to participate, emphasizing that not all have Olympic aspirations. Through tears, they conveyed their exhaustion with the ongoing struggle for the rights of trans youth.
Van Ness clarified that they weren’t labeling Shepard as a transphobe but pointed out that one can hold beliefs that inadvertently perpetuate trans misogyny and transphobic ideologies without being explicitly transphobic.
Shepard apologized to Van Ness, acknowledging that the conversation may have disappointed them. In response, Van Ness expressed emotional exhaustion rather than disappointment, highlighting the relentless challenges faced by trans individuals.
Before the conversation shifted gears, Van Ness emphasized that young children are not undergoing gender reassignment surgery or invasive procedures.
They stressed their concern about the intense hostility and discrimination faced by trans individuals daily.