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Jon Stewart tackles transgender rights on the season premiere of “The Problem with Jon Stewart”

Jon Stewart tackles transgender rights on the season premiere of “The Problem with Jon Stewart”
Jon Stewart Photo: Screenshot

Apple TV+’s The Problem with Jon Stewart returns for its second season this week with an episode tackling “the gender wars.”

“The world has gone into a bit of a tailspin” over transgender visibility and rights, Stewart jokes at the top of the episode, which dropped a day early on Thursday.

In his opening monologue, the host skewers the anti-trans rhetoric coming from right-wing pundits and politicians like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), rightwing pundit Ben Shapiro, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. He even acknowledged his own “shitty and reductive jokes” about trans people during his stint on The Daily Show in the 90s and early 2000s.

“We are in a new dawn of gender and sex complexity, where those who don’t fit into a simple binary are meant to be seen with humanity,” Stewart explains. “Whatever discomfort we may feel in the changing norms of reality, myself included, it is no match for the discomfort and fear felt by those seeking acceptance.”

Explaining that anti-trans legislation in the U.S. has increased 800 percent since 2018, Stewart wonders, “What could justify this unprecedented urgency? Did trans people storm the Capitol? Did they steal classified nuclear intel from the White House and keep it in a humidor in Florida?”

The episode also includes a discussion of the backlash to trans rights with a panel including parents of trans children Keisha Michaels and Debi Jackson, trans attorney with the ACLU Chase Strangio, and endocrinologist Joshua Safer.

“Politicians are passing laws that say, ‘We’re going to take away the ability of parents to give their children life-saving care,” Strangio says of laws banning gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth.

Stewart also sits down with Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) to talk about the state’s anti-trans “Save Adolescents From Experimentation” Act. Rutledge asserts that 98 percent of young people experiencing gender dysphoria “can move past that.”

“Wow, that’s an incredibly made-up figure,” Stewart pushes back.

The Season 2 premiere of The Problem with Jon Stewart available to stream now for free on Apple TV+.

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