Back in September, Van Ness and Shepard got into a heated debate about transgender children participating in sports that left Van Ness in tears. Following the episode’s release, Shepard earned reams of backlash for his insensitive comments about the dangers of teenagers transitioning: “How do we know that person’s not gonna change their mind?” he asked at the time.
Speaking on Keke Palmer’s podcast this week, Van Ness revealed that his interview with Shepard was heavily edited, saying, “There were some significant pieces of that conversation that were left out that did ultimately have me in tears.”
Van Ness continued: “If you listen to podcasts, you know what an edit is—that was an edit, and that was an edit that I asked for approval or insight into, and was not given. So, after that conversation, I did ask for a transcript and what that was going to look or sound like, because that was quite a conversation, and I was not given insight into that.”
Elsewhere in the Armchair Expert episode, Shepard seemed to insinuate that he did not recognize trans women as women. “Do I wish that the trans woman athlete had access and could play and follow her dream? I do,” he told Van Ness. “Will I elevate her rights over women? We’re pretending that women aren’t the ultimate marginalized class throughout history.”
“I wish that people were as passionate about little kids being able to be included or grow up as they were about fictitious women’s fairness in sports,” Van Ness, who is nonbinary and uses he/she/they pronouns, replied.
The most “upsetting” part of the conversation with Shepard “was realizing that this person who represents so much of opinions in the United States has these types of deep-seated opinions,” Van Ness told Palmer.
Nevertheless, the Queer Eye star added that he was “grateful that [Shepard] 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].”