Jonathan Van Ness Claims Trans-Identified Men Don't "Hold An Unfair Biological Advantage" Over Women In Sports

Trans activist Jonathan Van Ness broke down in tears on Dax Shepard's podcast when discussing the concept of teenagers undergoing a "gender transition." He said he's tired of fighting for kids who “just wanted to be included.”

By Gina Florio2 min read
Getty/Ilya S. Savenok

In a recent episode of Dax Shepard’s popular podcast, “Armchair Expert,” Jonathan Van Ness, an ardent advocate for transgender rights, had an emotionally charged conversation with the host about the rights and fair treatment of transgender individuals, specifically children. The discussion touched on various subjects before diving into perceptions of The New York Times as potentially publishing anti-trans content, a claim made by Van Ness. Shepard perceived the publication as left-leaning and questioned whether some concerns about teenagers transitioning were valid, wondering if it was possible they might change their minds later.

Jonathan Van Ness Claims Trans-Identified Men Don't "Hold an Unfair Biological Advantage" Over Women in Sports

Van Ness is a television personality, hairstylist, and author, notably famous for his role as the grooming expert on the Netflix series "Queer Eye." Van Ness calls himself non-binary and is a fervent advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and HIV awareness. He uses his platform to discuss issues like gender identity and trans rights. Currently, besides his ongoing advocacy, he hosts a podcast, "Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness."

His discussion with Shepard took a deeper turn as it touched on the controversial topic of transgender athletes. Van Ness disputed claims by figures like J.K. Rowling that transgender-identified athletes possess competitive advantages. He expressed disappointment over claims of fighting for women’s rights while simultaneously excluding trans-identified kids from sports. Shepard questioned the fairness and safety of including transgender athletes in sports designated for women, which led to an extensive, over 20-minutes long, debate on the subject.

Shepard referred to a "whiplash" effect of immediate, knee-jerk reactions to mere questions about whether minors should be given the chance to take hormone blockers and have permanent surgeries performed on their bodies. “To even question it makes you an enemy. I don’t think that’s the way forward,” he said.

Van Ness didn't take it well and emphasized that holding transphobic beliefs does not inherently make one transphobic, likening it to unknowingly holding racist beliefs. He was visibly emotional during the conversation, expressing exhaustion from continuously advocating for the inclusion of transgender children. He started to cry and said he was tired of fighting for kids who “just wanted to be included.”

Van Ness wasn’t disappointed in Shepard but conveyed the tiredness and fear he feels about the consistent vitriol that trans-identified people supposedly encounter. He elaborated on his struggle with gender expression and the emotional toll of advocating for inclusivity and fair treatment for "transgender children."

“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,” he said.

Shepard apologized for any unintended distress, praising Van Ness’s activism and advocacy, and the conversation eventually shifted. After the podcast, Van Ness continued the dialogue about transgender athletes on Instagram, stressing the lack of scientific evidence to support the claim that transgender women hold unfair biological advantages over cis-women in sports.

Van Ness emphasized the stringent restrictions in numerous states against "gender-affirming" care for kids, which prohibits them from accessing essential medical interventions like hormone blockers, potentially affecting their participation in women’s sports. In this emotionally laden conversation, the overarching sentiment from Van Ness was a plea for understanding and inclusion for kids who call themselves trans.

It's a difficult conversation to listen to because it shows how out of touch Van Ness is not only with basic biology but with the true needs of human beings, especially adolescents. He constantly refers to the trouble of not being accepted for who you are, but there has never been any movement in the history of the world that demands life-altering surgeries and damaging hormone blockers in order for the person to be recognized for who they truly are. It's outrageous and downright silly to claim that men have no advantage over women in sports, even if they have been taking hormone therapy. There are vast differences between men and women physiologically. Men have a larger heart, larger lung and cardiovascular capacity, quicker relexes, more powerful fast twitch muscle fibers, longer wingspan, thicker skin, and a smaller hip to shoulder ratio compared to women. All of those factors (plus many others) play a huge role in sports, and none of that can be changed with hormone therapy or surgery.

Van Ness can cry all he wants on podcasts and try to elicit sympathy from celebrities like Shepard, and it may work on camera. But there are plenty of common-sense people in the world who will see right past the nonsense and refuse to buy into any of this propaganda.

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