Actor’s attack on skepticism about minors’ gender transitions is ‘cruelty cloaked in altruism,’ critics say
Advocates and lawyers of women who have detransitioned are speaking out after nonbinary Netflix “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness suggested it was “transphobic” of actor Dax Shepard to question if minors should undergo transition surgeries.
As a guest on an episode of the Shephard’s podcast, “Armchair Expert,” Van Ness suggested Shepard was “parrot[ing] what he deemed “trans-misogyny” and “transphobic ideologies” for questioning if it is fair to women to oppose men in sports or to “question” if teenagers should undergo gender transitions.
“I think to say that someone can’t question without threatening to take someone’s rights away to explore these things … some people are very uncomfortable about teenagers transitioning, they’re challenging that. How do we know that the person is not going to change their mind?” Dax asked.
“This whole notion that to be critical or to question … because to even question it makes you an enemy. I don’t think that’s the way forward.”
Van Ness at one point responded that “there isn’t legitimate questioning” but rather an “onslaught towards queer people.”
“There’s been 500 bills this year alone in the United States that target trans kids. Whether that’s gender-affirming care, whether that’s bathrooms, whether that sports. There isn’t legitimate questioning going on. There is like a public targeted onslaught towards queer people,” Van Ness said.
But lawyers and advocates for women who have undergone hormone therapies and surgeries at a young age, who later regret and “detransitioned,” are disputing Van Ness’s claims.
Kelsey Bolar, an author and creator of the series “Identity Crisis,” which documented the stories of several women who have detransitioned, said labeling such questions about gender transitioning as “transphobic” is “cruelty cloaked in altruism.”
“A growing number of young women, who are now adults, feel betrayed by medical professionals who allowed and encouraged them to pursue opposite-sex hormones and surgeries before they were able to truly consent,” Bolar told Fox News Digital.
“These individuals now suffer from a range of permanent and debilitating side effects, including irreversible harm to their sexual function, reproductive health and general health. Though the total number of detransitioners is unknown, as no large-scale, long-term studies have tracked the incidence of detransition and regret, their devastating stories are becoming more frequent.
“To suggest that it’s ‘transphobic’ to question whether children should be given access to drugs and surgeries that are banned in other countries due to their adverse effects is dangerous, naive and insulting to the experiences of an untold number of detransitioners.
“Simply put, it’s cruelty cloaked in altruism.”
Chuck Limandri is an attorney representing Chloe Cole, who at 15 years old underwent a double mastectomy and at 13 was prescribed testosterone and hormone blockers. At 16, she detransitioned. She is now 19, an outspoken activist on a mission to “end child transition procedures,” and she’s suing doctors, claiming she could not properly consent to those procedures at such a young age.
Limandri says the defendant, Kaiser Permanente, has a policy of not asking questions to get to the root of gender dysphoria or looking at underlying comorbidities. It moves right to surgeries and treatments for transitioning.
Chloe testified before the House Judiciary Committee this summer about her experience, saying her “childhood was ruined.” She said she felt “perfectly normal” feelings for a young girl, like body insecurity.
Her issues with her body and gender, she said, led doctors to treat her for gender dysphoria to prevent suicide. However, she said she did not experience suicidal thoughts until after receiving medical treatment for gender dysphoria
“What message do I want to bring to American teenagers and their families? I didn’t need to be lied to. I needed compassion. I needed to be loved,” Cole testified. “I needed to be getting therapy to help me work through my issues. Not affirmed to my delusion that by transforming into a boy, it would solve all my problems,” Cole said.
Prisha Mosley, now a 25-year-old woman, started to medically transition at 16 and had a double mastectomy at 18. She is suing her doctors, hoping it will “serve as a warning to other doctors and therapists not to do this to anyone else.”
“I trusted these health care providers to take care of me. Because of that relationship of trust and my vulnerable condition, I believed what they said, and I thought they were treating me properly, “she wrote in an op-ed published on Fox News Digital in July.
“Years later, I realized that I had been lied to and misled in the worst possible way. Years of taking testosterone prevented my body from developing as it should have. It caused significant vaginal atrophy and the inability to have intercourse.
“My voice was permanently changed; I was no longer able to lift my voice and sing, which I used to love doing. I experienced severe pain in my shoulders, neck, and genital area. I do not know if I will be able to conceive and give birth to a child.
“As a result of breast surgery, I have to live without my breasts, and I am unable to nurse a child, should I be able to conceive one. I have pain in my chest where my breasts used to be.”
“Do I wish that the trans woman athlete had access and could play and follow her dreams? I do,” Shephard said on his podcast. “Will I elevate her rights over women? We’re pretending that women aren’t the ultimate marginalized class throughout history.
“People have written ‘cervix haver’ and she goes, ‘No, there’s a name for us. You can’t steal my identity to help your cause. You can’t take away the defining characteristic that allows me to relate to all these other women who have been oppressed.’
“What people are questioning, which is, could the captain of the water polo team that was male for 19 years, next month or in one year compete against girls and women? Would that be fair to girls and women? That’s a fair question.”
Van Ness suggested some Republican lawmakers have used that argument as a “boogeyman to make us feel that our girls are being attacked, that their things are being taken away with fairness and sport.”
Van Ness got emotional, saying through tears he wished “that people were as passionate about little kids being able to like be included or grow up as they were about fictitious women’s fairness and sports.
“I have to tell you, I am very tired.”
“I’m not calling you a transphobe,” Van Ness argued. “You can not be transphobic and still have thoughts that espouse trans-misogyny and espouse transphobic ideologies or beliefs and not be transphobic.
“Little kids are not getting gender reassignment surgery,” Van Ness added. “Three-year-olds are not going to need a hysterectomy. We’re not getting f—ing breast implants.”