Back in September, Jonathan Van Ness appeared as a guest on an episode of the Armchair Expert podcast and had an incredibly heated discussion with Dax Shepard about trans rights and gender affirming care.
JVN, who identifies as nonbinary and uses any pronouns, went on the show to discuss their own podcast and Netflix series, Getting Curious, with hosts Dax and Monica Padman. However, the conversation took a turn for the worst, and JVN ended up in tears.
Since the episode was released, neither Dax nor Monica have commented publicly on the episode's content. JVN has opened up saying that they had asked to see a transcript of the episode before it was published, but was not given any insight into what parts of that conversation ended up in the final episode.
Most recently, JVN appeared on Amanda Hirsch's podcast Not Skinny But Not Fat, further opening up about the whole situation.
In the episode that was released on Tuesday, Amanda asked how things are between JVN and Dax since the interview. They said, "I think Dax and I are good — I haven't spoken with him since."
"I thought he was very brave to release it," they said, explaining that the conversation went extremely differently in real life. "Oh, to be clear, he was very edited. That was not exactly what went down. I would say it was worse."
"It was really gaslighty to say, you know, 'I can agree with you on nine out of ten things, but then I disagree on one thing and you're gonna label me.' Well, he wasn't agreeing with me on nine out of ten. He was actually disagreeing with me on every single thing that I said," JVN continued. "Every single thing I said, he had pushback. Every single thing."
They said that they anticipated an email or some kind of reach out after the whole situation went down, but never got one. They said, "If I had someone into my home to have a podcast and..." to which Amanda asked, "Made them feel bad?" JVN replied, "Not made them feel bad, I mean, he was a lot more animated in real life. I mean, I almost got up and left twice. It was intense."
They said that they didn't end up leaving because they were recording in Dax's home. "I was sitting in fucking Dax Shepard's house," JVN said. "You're not sitting in an office like this [where Not Skinny But Not Fat is recorded]. You're, like, literally in someone's house. You don't really feel like you're in your power."
"I think what really made me emotional, other than the gaslighting part, is that when I realized how committed people are to narratives that they've been exposed to, whether or not they're, like, true. You get exposed to these headlines and these narratives around transphobia or about fairness in women's sports, or kids transitioning, and then people think they're so right. But they can really be so wrong. And I'm like, 'Wow, this is someone who considers themself an ally and this is how they're talking.'"
JVN finished by saying, "Our community has so much to overcome. I think Dax is really sweet, I don't think he means harm. And I think it was brave to release the episode, and I'm glad that he allowed for so many more people to be exposed to that conversation."
You can listen to JVN and Amanda's full conversation here.
If you or someone you know has experienced anti-LGBTQ violence or harassment, you can contact the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs hotline at 1-212-714-1141.
Peer-support services are available at the Trans Lifeline. You can call the hotline at 1-(877)-565-8860.