Van Ness, 36, opened up about the heated debate during the Tuesday, October 31, episode of Keke Palmer‘s podcast, “Baby, This is Keke Palmer.” When Palmer, 30, noted that Van Ness’ discussion with Shepard, 48, about transgender issues “went really left, unfortunately,” Van Ness quipped in response, “No, it went real to the right.”
While appearing on “Armchair Expert” in September, Van Ness was brought to tears as he passionately defended the rights of transgender kids and broader issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community. Shepard and Van Ness clashed over whether The New York Times can be considered a left-leaning newspaper while also publishing some articles and op-eds that have been interpreted as anti-trans.
“Some people are very uncomfortable about teenagers transitioning,” Shepard said. “How do we know that the person’s not gonna change their mind? Then there’s another counterargument. If they kill themselves, then that’s really f–king permanent. … To even question it makes you an enemy. I don’t think that’s the way forward.”
“I feel like I’m talking to my dad,” Van Ness responded.
Shepard apologized on air after the tense conversation, which Van Ness described as “trigger city.”
While discussing the situation with Van Ness on her podcast, Palmer asked Van Ness how allies can help “stop” people from thinking that the LGBTQ+ community has an “agenda.” Van Ness proceeded to confess that he still has “lots of feelings” about his conversation with Shepard.
“I’m grateful that he had the courage to release that episode and I do think that he brought a conversation into more people’s homes than would have been having that conversation would he not [have released it],” the Queer Eye personality said on Tuesday.
Van Ness then hinted, “If you listen to podcasts, you know what an edit is. And that was an edit.”
According to Van Ness, he “was not given” an explanation about what would make the final cut despite requesting a transcript of the recording. “I did ask for what that was going to look or sound like, because that was quite a conversation. … There was some significant pieces of that conversation that were left out that did ultimately have me end up in tears,” he claimed.
When Palmer asked what “triggered” Van Ness the most about the discussion, he said the most “upsetting” part wasn’t what Shepard actually said. “It was realizing that this person who represents so much of opinions in the United States has these types of deep-seated opinions,” he explained. “Just, like, realizing how widespread the misinformation and disinformation is around queer people.”
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Shepard has not addressed the controversy, but Van Ness previously hinted that he would share more about the conversation when he was ready. “I don’t quite have words for this yet but I will someday,” Van Ness wrote via Instagram Story in September, sharing a promo image for the “Armchair Expert” episode.
Van Ness later slammed Megyn Kelly after she mocked the emotional episode on her SiriusXM show. “Megyn, whoa. I had to meet you on a press tour in your fourth-hour Today show that got canceled. But you did make millions of dollars on that cancellation so good on you, girl boss power, love it,” Van Ness responded via Instagram, asserting that “advocating for trans inclusion in sports and for trans rights does not take away from women’s rights.”