Jonathan Van Ness Breaks Down On Dax Shepard’s Podcast Defending Trans Kids


In a recent episode of Dax Shepard’s popular podcast “Armchair Expert,” Jonathan Van Ness found himself overwhelmed with emotion as he passionately defended the rights of transgender children. The discussion took a heartfelt turn during an exchange between Shepard and Van Ness, shedding light on the challenges faced by transgender individuals.


A Light-Hearted Conversation Takes a Serious Turn

"In a moving podcast moment, Jonathan Van Ness passionately advocates for transgender kids' rights in a discussion with Dax Shepard."

Shepard and Van Ness initially engaged in a light-hearted conversation covering a range of topics. However, the mood shifted when they delved into a discussion about The New York Times’ political leanings. Van Ness challenged the notion that the publication is left-leaning, leading to a disagreement with Shepard, who asserted it was. This disagreement paved the way for a more profound conversation about the representation of transgender issues in media.

Debate Over Transgender Teens and Their Right to Transition

The conversation escalated when Shepard questioned the legitimacy of teenagers transitioning and raised concerns about individuals potentially changing their minds. Van Ness passionately disagreed, highlighting that questioning the rights of transgender individuals is not the path forward. This sparked a tense back-and-forth between the two, lasting over 20 minutes.


Transgender Athletes and the Inclusion Debate

The discussion also revolved around transgender athletes and whether they have an advantage in sports. Van Ness countered claims, mentioning J.K. Rowling and asserting that transgender athletes do not possess an unfair competitive edge. Shepard raised the issue of safety and fairness for cisgender women in sports due to the inclusion of transgender athletes, prompting further debate.

An Emotional Breakdown and Plea for Inclusivity

As emotions ran high, Van Ness revealed feeling like they were talking to a family member and expressed disappointment at the exclusion of transgender children from sports. They made a crucial point that holding certain beliefs does not necessarily make someone transphobic or a bad person. Exhausted and emotional, Van Ness conveyed their fear of the vitriol that transgender individuals face daily.


Acknowledgment, Apology, and Change of Topic

In a touching moment, Shepard and co-host Monica Padman acknowledged Van Ness’s courage and apologized once again for the intense conversation. They then decided to change the topic, showing respect and empathy for their guest.

Van Ness Advocates for Transgender Athletes on Instagram

Jonathan Van Ness continued to advocate for transgender athletes after the podcast episode, sharing a video on Instagram addressing the scientific consensus that transgender women do not hold an unfair biological advantage in sports. They also highlighted the challenges faced by transgender children who seek gender-affirming care.

In a world where conversations about transgender rights can be emotionally charged, this episode of “Armchair Expert” demonstrated the importance of open dialogue and understanding. Jonathan Van Ness’s emotional breakdown serves as a reminder of the profound impact these discussions can have on individuals who are fighting for the rights of transgender children.

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