Van Ness, 36, shared his thoughts via Instagram on Thursday, September 28, and included a clip of Kelly, 52, slamming him on her SiriusXM show. In the snippet, Kelly mocked Van Ness for remarks he made on the Monday, September 25, episode of Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast. (During the podcast appearance, Van Ness got emotional while noting that he is “so tired of having to fight for little kids because they just want to be included.”)
“You know what, Jonathan? Same. Same. I’m so tired too. I’m so tired,” Kelly said, fake crying. “I’m tired of having to stand up for my daughter’s right to play sports with other girls. I’m tired of having to stand up for the volleyball player down in North Carolina.” (Kelly was referring to Payton McNabb, a high school student who urged the North Carolina state legislature to ban transgender athletes from women’s sports teams after she was injured during a September 2022 volleyball game when a transgender athlete spiked a ball into her face.)
Van Ness then responded to the clip. “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,” the Queer Eye personality began.
He continued: “But here’s the thing, I don’t think you would make a video of every single time a high school or collegiate athlete got injured playing volleyball or soccer or basketball or baseball or any of those sports when she gets injured by a cisgender competitor, which happens all the time. Why? Because sports are dangerous. Volleyball is dangerous. Trans women don’t make sports dangerous, they are dangerous.”
Van Ness then noted that “advocating for trans inclusion in sports and for trans rights does not take away from women’s rights.” He emphasized that “women deserve the same access” to opportunities in sports and said that he is “advocating for that all the time.”
Van Ness wrapped up the video by stating: “I believe in women’s rights. I believe in women’s right to choose. I believe in trans rights. So, yeah I’m advocating for all the people. That’s what I try to do and all the best to you.”
The video statement comes days after Van Ness’ heated exchange with Shepard, 38. “Some people are very uncomfortable about teenagers transitioning,” Shepard said as the pair discussed whether The New York Times can be considered a left-leaning newspaper after publishing several articles about gender-affirming care. “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.”
Van Ness countered: “All I’m saying is what we know about misinformation and disinformation is when you have an outsized reaction to something, there’s a good chance that you’re being exposed to misinformation and disinformation. And a lot of the rhetoric around the anti-trans backlash does have a lot of misinformation and disinformation in it.”
He went on to point out that many people “think they’re really fighting” for women when they exclude trans kids from sports and said it’s possible to “not be transphobic” while still having “thoughts that espouse trans misogyny and espouse transphobic ideologies or beliefs.”
The debate eventually ended with Shepard and cohost Monica Padman apologizing to their guest before changing the subject. “It is what it is,” Van Ness said.
Shepard has not addressed the tense conversation at length, but Van Ness shared a screenshot of the title card for the episode via his Instagram Story on Wednesday, September 27, noting: “I don’t quite have words for this yet but I will someday.”