ICYMI: Watch Jon Stewart Debunk Anti-Trans Myths about Gender Affirming Care

by Henry Berg-Brousseau

Watch Jon Stewart’s Take Down Here For Free

As a reckless, unprecedented misinformation campaign to justify harmful policies to prevent transgender children from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, gender-affirming care sweeps across the country, the newest episode of the Apple TV+ hit show “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” debunks these hateful lies with a focus on the people who are being harmed and the truth about what this care looks like.

In exploring this urgent topic, Stewart is joined by a geneticist, an endocrinologist, lawyer and advocate Chase Strangio and two members of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council, Keisha Michaels and Debi Jackson. Stewart also confronts Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over the state’s gender-affirming care ban.


Excerpts from the show:

Jon Stewart:

“The problem with gender and sex. It turns out none of this is simple. We didn’t just ask a geneticist. We asked endocrinologists and a few psychiatrists and gynecologists. And they all said the same thing. Intersex, trans, nonbinary and all the other gradations of normal human variation. And whatever discomfort we may feel in the changing norms of reality, myself included, it is no match for the discomfort and fear felt by those seeking acceptance.

Anti-trans legislation increased over 800% since 2018. 800%. What could justify this unprecedented urgency? Did trans people storm the Capitol? Did they steal classified nuclear intel from the White House and keep it in a humidor in Florida? What is the threat?”

“Now there have been 77 anti-trans sports bills introduced this year alone. There have been more anti-trans bills introduced this year than trans people dominating sports in the history of women’s sports.”

“If my daughter or my son came to me in agony, and I knew there was a program that I could get them into that had positive effects on their mental health, I would swim across rivers and climb mountains and tunnel through whatever I needed to get to save that child’s life. And my guess is you’d do the same.”

Parents of Transgender Youth:

Well, it’s interesting that folks might say that these are woke parents ‘cause my husband and I weren’t really woke about this. We had a child who was telling us that they – that, you know, she’s been a girl her whole life, and we were not really listening. So I am not sure how woke we were….I kind of wish we were more woke. I wish we had been able to hear her sooner. Took us a few years to really listen and appreciate that she was telling us who she was. And when we did, she was – she was like a new child. She just literally lit up, woke up. She woke up when we supported her. We said, ‘we recognize that this is who you are, and we are gonna support you in our house. And we’re gonna support you in your life.’ And when that happened, she’s like, ‘this is amazing.’ She really didn’t have words for it as a 10-year-old. She had been telling us since she was three. And since that time, what we deal with now is a child who is now almost going to college. She’s in high school. And, I told someone the other day, I said, ‘You know, her being trans is the least interesting thing about her.’”

“So the year before she transitioned, I knew – she was verbalizing that she did not want to live. And I said ‘I don’t want to lose my child,’ so we may have had our heads in the sand about what was really going on, acknowledging this. So there was a razor’s edge for sure at that point. Once we actually affirmed this child, she’s actually been fine. She’s on her phone too much. That’s her biggest problem. Once she had the gender-affirming care of her parents – she blossomed.

– Keisha Michaels, PTEC Parent

“First I’d just like to make sure that we clarify the different types of transitions. Because we’ve talked about, there’s no medical intervention. So, Avery socially transitioned at the age of four. So it was just name, pronouns, hair, saying daughter instead of son. Before we did that kind of affirmation, Avery was depressed, talked about death all the time, and actually tried to jump out of our car – at four. She just could not handle it. Doing that kind of social affirmation gave us a kid who smiled again, who said ‘mommy I love you’ all the time. We have a whole year, between three and four, where we don’t have a photo of Avery smiling. And that changed just through social affirmation. So when people call us child abusers and say it’s horrible to do this, they don’t understand the realities.”

“It was completely out of my realm of understanding. I was very conservative, evangelical, you know, Southern Baptist, GOP. But at the age of four, Avery said, ‘Mom you think that I am a boy, but I’m a girl. I’m a girl on the inside,’ and very directly told us. We had no idea what that meant. It was out of our thinking. We thought maybe we have a confused gay boy… We wanted to ask questions. We talked to doctors. We went to the endocrinologists just to check the XX, XYs, all the things. And we had to come to understand that our child knew who they were. And mind you they’re 15 now. This was more than a decade ago. They weren’t influenced by TikTok. They weren’t on Facebook.”

– Debi Jackson, PTEC Parent

Trans People on the Importance of Gender Affirming Care

“Gender dysphoria is a disconnect from your mind and body. So what I could be feeling up here isn’t the same thing I see myself in the mirror as. But gender-affirming care, it helps us see what we feel.” – Anthony Javell

“It took me, I wanna say, almost eight months of sending authorizations, getting medical necessity documents, for example, going to counseling, going to therapy, having all of the documentation lined up, before they actually approved it. So, at that point, I was just so relieved.” – Xaria James

“It finally made me feel, like, home in my body.” – Wyatt Wolff

“Our state representatives claim to be pro-life, but they want to play with children’s lives. This is healthcare, and it shouldn’t be a game.” – Kegan Dees


  • Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.
  • Gender transition is a personal process that can include changing clothes, names, and hairstyles to fit a person’s gender identity.
    • Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.

    • Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time are in the best interest of the child.

    • In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:
      • New name

      • New hairstyle

      • New clothing

      • None of this care is irreversible.

  • Being transgender is not new.
    • Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.

    • But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.

    • And very few transgender people change their mind.

  • ALL gender-affirming care is:
    • Age-appropriate

    • Medically necessary

    • Supported by all major medical organizations

    • Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents

  • And in many cases, this care is lifesaving!
    • A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.

For more information, please visit hrc.org/transgender as well as these resources:

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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