Current talk show host and former comedian Jon Stewart has come to the defense of medical professionals who provide so-called “gender reassignment” or “gender affirmation” care to children, comparing it to treating “pediatric cancer” and suggesting that it saves lives.
On Friday, the Twitter account of Stewart’s show “The Problem With Jon Stewart” released a six-minute video in which Stewart conducts a contentious interview with Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, claiming that she and those who have fought against giving kids such treatment — which can include cross-sex hormone injections, mastectomies, and even a hysterectomy or orchiectomy — are deliberately ignoring guidelines established by prominent “medical organizations” and designed to save children from committing self-harm.
“Why would the state of Arkansas step in to override the parents, physicians, psychiatrists, endocrinologists who have developed guidelines?” Stewart asked Rutledge. “Why would you override those guidelines?”
Stewart insisted that “the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Endocrine Society” have all fully endorsed transition care, including surgery, as reasonable treatment for children with gender dysphoria. He did not mention that the AMA and other organizations have also demanded the Department of Justice censor those who criticize transgender surgery as propagating “misinformation.”
“What are your qualifications,” Stewart pressed Rutledge, “to step in and say, ‘No. Keeping you from [transgender treatment] is protecting you’?”
Rutledge countered that some data shows that “98%” of children who express gender dysphoria eventually grow out of the condition after they receive counseling and other non-medicinal interventions, but Stewart then suggested she was lying.
“Wow,” he responded. “…That is an incredibly made-up figure.”
In the hopes of persuading Rutledge to his way of thinking, Stewart at one point even compared transgender treatment for minors to “chemotherapy.”
“So, if your child is suffering from pediatric cancer, and the state comes in and says to you, ‘They recommend chemotherapy, but we’re not going to let you do that. You can’t. We think you should get a different opinion, and here’s the organization we think you should get the opinion from,'” Stewart posed as a hypothetical. “…Does that sound like something you would accept?”
Rutledge called the comparison “extreme” and insisted that in life-and-death situations like cancer, if she ever received recommendations for her child that went against her beliefs, she would consult other medical experts.
“I’ve got some bad news for you,” Stewart replied. “Parents with children who have gender dysphoria have lost children to suicide and depression. Because it’s acute.”
For her part, Rutledge remained steadfast that the Arkansas government had passed the transgender treatment ban in the best interest of children and that the state had many experts who had testified publicly that “irreversible” transgender treatment is not always advised, especially with minors. She was unable to furnish Stewart with the names of such experts or the organizations that they represent, but she said she could find those names from the public record and give them to him.
In 2021, Arkansas passed a full ban on transgender medications and surgery for those under 18. However, the law has been temporarily suspended pending further legal review.
The new episode of “The Problem With Jon Stewart” featuring the interview is available on AppleTV+.
Stewart recently made headlines for apologizing for a supposedly transphobic joke he made years ago while still on “The Daily Show.” He now calls the joke “sh****” and “reductive.”