The Joe Rogan podcast had Matt Walsh on the other day. If you don’t know who Matt Walsh is, God bless you! He is one of the numerous conmen in the right-wing-o-sphere that has made his money promoting one of the myriad conservative fearmongering talking points. Some of these guys work pandemic conspiracy angles and anti-mask, anti-vaccine BS, while others, like Matty, work the angle that liberals want to turn all of your boys into girls and girls into boys and “thems” and “theys” and before you know it—communism!*
Walsh created the documentary What is a woman?, which received some promotion on Rogan’s podcast. In the documentary, Walsh used his vacuous conservative Christian anti-intellectualism to try to ridicule the trans rights movement by attacking the concept of womanhood. The angle, held unfortunately by some people like J.K. Rowling, is that the trans movement degrades the concept of what a woman is. The reality is that what a man is and what a woman is have always been a fluid thing. Can you be a heterosexual guy who likes musical theatre? Are you a man if you’ve had an orchiectomy to fight against cancer? What about a hysterectomy? Saying it is simply having a penis or a vagina, having a uterus or having testes, is not simply archaic, it’s not scientifically or socially true. It has never really been.
What men like Walsh and women like Rowling are facing off against is that they are insecure in how they feel about being men and women. That fear has now extended to an overblown and factually incorrect belief that young impressionable children are being tricked into having major surgeries or taking powerful drugs to deal with the general confusions and insecurities of childhood.
Walsh spent the better part of two years doing this very serious documentary and now, months after its release, seems to not have even the most basic information regarding the premise of his life’s work. In fact, his personal understanding of what the evidence is is so far off from reality that when he is asked this simple question and a five-second fact check takes place, his whole world crumbles. It’s worth watching in real time as almost every single step of the way is proof-perfect of how full of shit charlatan-bigots like Walsh are.
“They’ve also staked their professional reputation because that’s the other problem. Not only is it the political incentive and the money, but if they admit that they’re wrong, then they’re also admitting that they have horribly disfigured and abused thousands, maybe millions of kids.” Millions? Thousands? Wow. That’s a lot. Maybe this expert, the guy who spent a couple of years creating a film wrestling with this woke problem, can give us the statistics. Rogan even asks this softball question, because that’s what Rogan does.
“How many people have had this done?” Instead of rattling off a few different numbers, the requisite some people have estimated x but others have estimated a bigger number y platitude, Walsh literally says, “I don’t think we have exact numbers, but if we’re talking about the drugs, I mean, millions.”
Um. Okay. This is the premise of your entire digital content output. It’s the foundation of your “career,” and your passionate crusade against trans children. But, fine. “Millions?” That is a lot. Rogan is surprised, as are we all, and says, “You’re talking about hormone blockers? Millions of kids have been on hormone blockers. Really?”
When you watch the video you can see how hermetically sealed the right-wing-ecosphere for charlatans like Walsh truly is. At this very simple pushback, if it can be called that, Walsh begins to fumble and says, “I’m sure someone’s going to fact check me on that. But my, my, my guess is that we’re in we’re into the millions now at this point.” So … millions.*
You’re sure that someone is going to “fact check” you? You are a self-professed expert in how the movement to provide trans people gender-affirming care is a hysterical fad of abuse. He then proceeds to vaguely reference This Christian Broadcast Network story about how “’Gender-Affirming’ Mastectomies in Children Spike 389% From 2016 to 2019.” Walsh couches it: “I can say for a double mastectomy is the most. I read a report recently that there were over 1,000 done between 2016 and 2019. And when you compare that to how many were done between, you know, 28 in 2015, it’s just it’s a massive increase.”
Even if you read the CBN article, that “28 in 2015” isn’t even a real thing. But whatever. He’s gone from saying “millions” of kids are on hormone blockers right now** to over a three-year period, there were 1,000 kids who got mastectomies. But while the study that Walsh is citing explains that the age range of those mastectomies are between 13 and 17, the majority of those surgeries being for 17-year-olds (and around 5% on children younger than 14). When Rogan says, “You’re talking about pre-pubescent,” Walsh says “Right, minors.”
An aside: Walsh forgets to bring up that during this fictitious 2015 when 28 double mastectomies were being performed on teenagers, “64,470 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed on people age 13-19,” according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Any the ways!
It’s hard to separate how absolutely ignorant Rogan’s question is from the fact that how Walsh affirms this lie is the way disinformation spreads. For example, here’s a very good article that will show you the difference between a well-funded but ultimately flawed set of anti-trans studies versus objective studies that show the percentage of people who “regret” transitioning is unbelievably low. Like percentage points on percentage points low in many cases.
Any the whose! Rogan’s engineer guy pulls up a story on the internets that says the number of young folks receiving puberty blockers is “at least 4,780.” Oh, wait. That’s “over the last five years” that fewer than 5,000 adolescents started puberty blockers “and had a prior gender dysphoria diagnosis.” How does the expert who created a bullshit documentary about it respond to the actual facts? “Yeah. I mean, I would guess, you know, hundreds of thousands does, but I could be wrong.”
Walsh then remarks that people like myself will point out how full of shit he is but that you can’t trust these numbers that have been researched. You need to trust the expert, Walsh, a guy who came up with his research by saying “I would guess,” and has been wrong by orders of magnitude.
*Spoiler alert: There aren’t even half a million kids who identify as trans in our country.
**Spoiler alert: There aren’t even a third of a million kids who identify as trans in our country.
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