Jonathan Van Ness breaks down in tears as they spar with Dax Shepard over transgender


Jonathan Van Ness got into a heated discussion about transgender rights that led to tears on the latest episode of Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast.

Van Ness, who uses they/them and he/him pronouns interchangeably and described himself as a ‘nonbinary f***ing trans person’ during a heated moment, initially pushed back against Shepard’s contention that the New York Times was a left-leaning newspaper.

The 36-year-old Queer Eye star pointed to a string of articles that ran in the Times about controversies involving transgender adolescents and their gender-affirming care, which critics have said focus on the complaints of transphobes and overemphasize rare complications or regrets from transitioning, while simultaneously downplaying the voices of actual transgender people.

Van Ness — who has previously complained about having to repeatedly explain the importance of personal pronouns — stated that the New York Times ‘absolutely is’ a right-leaning publication, at least in its coverage of transgender issues, and they shed some tears as the back-and-forth continued.

Shepard went on to defend the paper and those who claim to have concerns about transgender children being allowed to begin the process of transitioning.

Difficult chat: Jonathan Van Ness, 36, broke down in tears during a heated discussion about trans rights with Dad Shepard, 48, on his armchair expert podcast

Difficult chat: Jonathan Van Ness, 36, broke down in tears during a heated discussion about trans rights with Dad Shepard, 48, on his armchair expert podcast

Close to home: Van Ness said the discussion reminded them of difficult conversations with their dad as they defended the rights of transgender youths to play sports and receive gender-affirming care; seen September 13 in NYC

Close to home: Van Ness said the discussion reminded them of difficult conversations with their dad as they defended the rights of transgender youths to play sports and receive gender-affirming care; seen September 13 in NYC

‘Some people are very uncomfortable about teenagers transitioning. They’re challenging that. How do we know that the person’s not gonna change their mind?’ Shepard said.

Confusingly, he also shared the more serious counterargument: ‘If they kill themselves, then that’s really f***ing permanent.

‘To even question it makes you an enemy. I don’t think that’s the way forward,’ Shepard added, before he invited Van Ness to share their opinion.

However, the hairstylist-turned-TV star found the topic far more personal than the academic exercise that Shepard appeared to treat it as, and they said that having the conversation made them ‘feel like I’m talking to my dad.’

However, they approached the topic systematically and explained that transgender athletes do not have the kinds of competitive advantages over cisgender competitors that detractors have claimed.

‘There’s just so many things that are so much more important and we’re over here being like, “Well, there’s legitimate concerns [about transgender athletes],”‘ Van Ness continued. ‘All I’m saying is, what we know about misinformation and disinformation is when you have an outsized reaction to something, there’s a good chance that you’re being exposed to misinformation and disinformation. And a lot of the rhetoric around the anti-trans backlash does have a lot of misinformation and disinformation in it.’

Shepard continued sparring with Van Ness, however, leading the Queer eye star to say it was ‘disappointing’ to see people ‘think they’re really fighting’ for women athletes with attempts to prevent transgender youths from playing sports.

They also mentioned Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, who has been accused of spreading anti-trans bigotry under the guise of concerns for cisgender women and lesbians, though they stopped short of calling Shepard a transphobe.

‘I’m a nonbinary f***ing trans person. When I talk to my dad or people who say similar things, it’s hard to be cool through that,’ Van Ness declared. ‘I’m not calling you a transphobe. You can not be transphobic and still have thoughts that espouse trans misogyny and espouse transphobic ideologies or beliefs and not be transphobic.’

Shepard, who posted photos from lighter portions of the interview to his Instagram account, then apologized and said he ‘did not intend at all’ to put transgender rights up for debate after his guest remarked that they wished more of the interview would have been devoted to their podcast and Netflix series Getting Curious.

Van Ness then began to cry as he said he was defending marginalized members of society.

‘I could just cry because I’m so tired of having to fight for little kids because they just want to be included,’ they said. ‘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,’ they added.

Disagreement: Van Ness got animated after Shepard claimed the New York Times was a left-leaning paper, and they cited its string of stories about transgender athletes and adolescent transitions

Disagreement: Van Ness got animated after Shepard claimed the New York Times was a left-leaning paper, and they cited its string of stories about transgender athletes and adolescent transitions

Devil's advocate? 'To even question it makes you an enemy. I don’t think that’s the way forward,' Shepard said of youths being able to receive gender-affirming care

Devil’s advocate? ‘To even question it makes you an enemy. I don’t think that’s the way forward,’ Shepard said of youths being able to receive gender-affirming care

Rebuttal: Van Ness explained why many concerns about transgender athletes were based on misinformation and then clarified that they weren't calling Shepard a 'transphobe,' even though they said he was displaying transphobic opinions

Rebuttal: Van Ness explained why many concerns about transgender athletes were based on misinformation and then clarified that they weren’t calling Shepard a ‘transphobe,’ even though they said he was displaying transphobic opinions

Deadly serious: Van Ness added that the debate over trans rights wasn't just about athletics. 'It's also healthcare, it's also gender-based violence,' they said; seen in March in NYC

Deadly serious: Van Ness added that the debate over trans rights wasn’t just about athletics. ‘It’s also healthcare, it’s also gender-based violence,’ they said; seen in March in NYC

Van Ness went on to say they were ’emotionally exhausted’ from having to stand up for transgender rights, even as they dealt with the threat of anti-trans discrimination.

‘I don’t know that I don’t live like this because I’m scared of the vitriol that trans people feel every day,’ they said. ‘For people who are like, “You’re so authentic and you’re so brave,” I’m not.’

Van Ness added that the debate over trans rights wasn’t just about athletics.

‘It’s also healthcare, it’s also gender-based violence,’ they said.



Read More

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More