Political commentator Jon Stewart took Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to task over an Arkansas law blocking children from receiving gender-affirming medical care.
The two sat down for a conversation on his program The Problem with Jon Stewart ahead of a trial scheduled this month that will determine whether the law will be permanently blocked in the state after a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit temporarily barred the state from enforcing its ban.
Stewart pointed out the state of Arkansas has chosen to "override parents, physicians, psychiatrists, endocrinologists who have developed guidelines" and shut down Rutledge's attempts to justify her belief "we don’t need to allow children to take those medications.”
You can hear what they said in the video below.
Rutledge made the erroneous claim "98 percent" of children with gender dysphoria are able to "move past that," which is incorrect because medical professionals have noted a mismatch between a person's biological sex and their gender identity can have a profoundly negative impact on their everyday life.
Stewart said Rutledge provided "an incredibly made-up figure" and added her claim does not "comport with any of the studies or documentation that exists from these medical organizations."
Rutledge could not offer a response when questioned about the statistic she'd pulled out of thin air, only saying that "we’ll be glad to provide" a legislative history in which the statistic is included. Nor could she name any experts and medical associations who support a ban on gender-affirming medical care, claiming that neither she nor her office expect “a Supreme Court debate.”
Stewart also laughed when Rutledge could not provide an adequate response to his observation that she, as the mother of a four-year-old, would sooner take a doctor’s advice if her child had cancer but not if her child had gender dysphoria.
“You’re making it sound like a 9-year-old walks into a doctor’s office and says, ‘Give me some testosterone,’ and the doctor goes, ‘Oh, thank God, because we’re wanting to create an army of transgenders ― because we’re crazy."
Rutledge was silent.
Many praised Stewart for the way he handled the interview.
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."
Rutledge's remarks also echoed conservative talking points about transgender people that bring to mind the recent controversy that erupted in Texas 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.
Her words offer further examples of the ongoing "groomer" hysteria accusing LGBTQ+ people of building relationships, trust, and emotional connections with children so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.
Some Republicans, such as Mark Burns, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in South Carolina's 4th District, have called for parents and teachers who support LGBTQ+ children to be "executed" for treason.