Metro Weekly

Jonathan Van Ness Cries Over Dax Shepard’s Trans Comments

Jonathan Van Ness and Dax Shepard get into an involved discussion about the transgender community on Shepard's podcast.

Jonathan Van Ness (
Jonathan Van Ness –

These are difficult times for trans people. Many of their staunchest allies are also having a difficult time understanding the hate they face, and sometimes, it can all become too much.

That’s exactly what happened with Queer Eye host Jonathan Van Ness during a recent episode of the podcast Armchair Expert, hosted by actor Dax Shepard.

The two stars seemingly didn’t mean to get into it about trans rights and how the community is being treated. Still, their conversation got to that point, and it didn’t take long before it became somewhat heated and very emotional.

Van Ness and Shepard started talking about The New York Times, and after the Queer Eye Emmy nominee stated that he didn’t feel that the paper was left-leaning, Shepard disagreed vehemently. That’s when Van Ness started talking about how the newspaper can sometimes use anti-trans language, and from there, they had a difficult time keeping it together.

The crux of their discussion centered on the discomfort some people feel about teenagers who decide they need to go through a gender transition.

Shepard questioned, “How do we know that the person’s not gonna change their mind?” He then went on to add that some people are just wanting to talk about this, and that when they do so, they are sometimes seen as an “enemy.” The actor stated that he doesn’t think that’s a good way for people to go about this type of talk.

Van Ness didn’t back down from their own comments, no matter what Shepard said. They immediately discredited any points that some anti-trans proponents make, such as that trans athletes may enjoy some “unfair” benefits. Van Ness also stated that as someone who identifies as non-binary, they find the entire discussion “disappointing.”

The conversation ran for at least 20 minutes. At one point, Van Ness felt the need to clarify something, as it seemed like the host was becoming upset.

“I’m not calling you a transphobe,” the TV star said. “You can still have thoughts that espouse trans misogyny and espouse transphobic ideologies or beliefs and not be transphobic.”

As emotions swelled, Van Ness tearfully conveyed the exhaustion they feel over fighting for the rights of young children who simply yearn for inclusion.

“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,” Van Ness shared with Shepard.

The two brought the conversation to a close with Van Ness saying that they are “scared of the vitriol that trans people face every day.”

For his part, Shepard was open about what he thought and felt, but he also apologized to his guest and thanked them for the work they do for the LGBTQ community, especially trans people. 

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