Far-right pundit Matt Walsh is being harshly criticized after he made an anti-trans claim so absurd even the reliably conservative conspiracy theory wielding shock jock Joe Rogan called him out for it.
Speaking on The Joe Rogan Experience—the podcast Rogan has used to troubling effect to spread COVID-19 disinformation and share conspiracies about the integrity of the 2020 general election—the Daily Wire host claimed "millions" of young children are on hormone blockers.
However, the real number is far lower, as Rogan's producer pointed out on the air prompting Rogan to confirm only 4,780 children in the United States have been placed on puberty blockers within the last five years.
You can watch what happened in the video below.
Walsh started out by claiming that drug companies and healthcare providers have benefited financially by prescribing hormone blockers, which help delay unwanted physical changes that don't match someone's gender identity. He insisted that in prescribing these medications, these companies are "also admitting that they have horribly disfigured and abused thousands, maybe millions of kids.”
When Rogan asked Walsh to tell him how many people "have had this done," Walsh did not provide a direct answer.
"Depends on what — I don’t think we have exact numbers, but it’s — if we’re talking about the drugs, it’s, I mean, millions."
When the incredulous Rogan asked for more information, Walsh said that while he expected someone to "fact check me" at some point, he nonetheless believes "we’re into the millions now at this point."
At this point, Rogan's producer Jamie Vernon weighed in, citing a Reuters article that notes that only 4,780 children have been placed on puberty blockers within the last five years. Rogan quipped that the number "would be a big undercount" and Vernon commented that the numbers indicate that fewer "than a thousand people a year" are prescribed hormone blockers.
Walsh then attempted to backtrack, saying:
“I would guess you know, hundreds of thousands at this — but I could be wrong."
“But part of the problem though is that we don’t — it’s, it’s very hard to get numbers on any of this stuff and — you know, who are you gonna trust when they’re telling you the numbers?"
"So that’s — that’s one of the issues with all this stuff."
Many have also criticized Walsh for so blatantly lying on the air.
\u201cI\u2019m glad Rogan actually fact-checked this. But it\u2019s astounding that someone who talks about this issue for a living wouldn\u2019t be better informed. Is that really too much to ask?\u201d— Patrick Chovanec (@Patrick Chovanec) 1667920628
Studies show transgender teens are more likely to be subjected to violence in high school and have higher rates of suicide.
A recent study showed transgender adults with access to puberty blockers as teens were less likely to have suicidal thoughts.
The study, published in Pediatrics, concluded "those who received treatment with pubertal suppression, when compared with those who wanted pubertal suppression but did not receive it, had lower odds of lifetime suicidal ideation."
Walsh's rhetoric also echoed conservative talking points about transgender people that bring to mind the controversy that erupted in Texas earlier this year after Greg Abbott, the state's Republican governor, signed off on legislation that, though ultimately struck down by a federal judge, would have empowered the state to open child abuse investigations into families whose children receive gender affirming procedures.
Republicans have continued to attack transgender people on a regular basis, breathing life into the ongoing "groomer" hysteria accusing LGBTQ+ people of building relationships, trust, and emotional connections with children so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.
Last week, the Florida Board of Medicine issued a ban on gender-affirming medications and surgery for youth with gender dysphoria who aren't already being treated.