Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Courage & ‘What Is A Woman?’

The real question behind Matt Walsh's crucial documentary is "what is truth" and who is willing to defend it?

Have you seen Matt Walsh’s excellent documentary “What Is A Woman?” You have to pay for it, so I suggest getting together viewing parties, especially of kids aged 10 and up. I don’t recall that there’s anything that younger kids shouldn’t see, except that they shouldn’t have to be thinking about insanity like transgenderism. However, if they’re getting any of it at school, then they need to see this movie, and then talk about it.

Every traditional church, synagogue, and mosque in America ought to hold watch parties for parents and their children, and then have a guided discussion about it. I cannot stress this enough. My podcast partner Kale Zelden and I interview Walsh yesterday, and I got kind of worked up about how the churches have by and large been AWOL on this issue. Why does it take a Catholic layman to do the work that bishops, especially, as well as priests and pastors, ought to have been doing?



This is absolutely the case. I can think of no more important current issue on which radical Christian discipleship is needed than meeting and countering the trans propaganda that’s everywhere. As Walsh told us yesterday, no one can escape this. And he proves that this gender ideology garbage is flimsy; all it requires is what we conspicuously lack: people with the courage to ask the questions and demand the answers.

As I said, yesterday Kale Zelden and I recorded an interview with Walsh. Here it is:


If you haven’t yet seen the movie, see the trailer, and I hope our interview will encourage you to do so. It’s as good as you’ve heard. It’s very serious, but also, in the first half, very funny. In one passage, Walsh goes to visit Maasai tribesmen in Africa, and asks these people, who live far more primitively than we in the modern West do, what is a woman? These tribesmen realize that we in the West are insane:

You should know that Walsh and his family are paying a price for his courage: he has had many death threats. You can’t take that lightly, not in a time when leftists are being arrested for showing up at a Supreme Court justice’s house with a gun, intending to kill him. It is not cost-free to live not by lies — but what is the cost to one’s own soul to live by the lie for the sake of safety? What is the cost to children? To the future of our society?

Want to talk about courage? Matt Walsh calls Scott Newgent “the hero of the film,” and he’s right. Newgent is a biological woman who, at age 42, was convinced that she was really a man. She went through medical transition — and says the after effects were not at all what she expected. Here’s a clip with Newgent:

Newgent is furious that nobody told her the medical risks of doing all this. She says, of the trans phenomenon, “It got me at 42. Your child doesn’t have a chance.” She is trembling with anger at what the medical profession, the media, lawmakers, and others are doing with the lives and bodies of children. In 2020, Newgent wrote a piece for Quillette about what medical transition is really like. Excerpt:

During my own transition, I had seven surgeries. I also had a massive pulmonary embolism, a helicopter life-flight ride, an emergency ambulance ride, a stress-induced heart attack, sepsis, a 17-month recurring infection due to using the wrong skin during a (failed) phalloplasty, 16 rounds of antibiotics, three weeks of daily IV antibiotics, the loss of all my hair, (only partially successful) arm reconstructive surgery, permanent lung and heart damage, a cut bladder, insomnia-induced hallucinations—oh and frequent loss of consciousness due to pain from the hair on the inside of my urethra. All this led to a form of PTSD that made me a prisoner in my apartment for a year. Between me and my insurance company, medical expenses exceeded $900,000.

During these 17 months of agony, I couldn’t get a urologist to help me. They didn’t feel comfortable taking me on as a patient—since the phalloplasty, like much of the transition process, is experimental. “Could you go back to the original surgeon?” they suggested.

Whenever you question the maximalist activist line on trans affirmation, you are directed to The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (or WPATH) as a reference. But much of what you find there consists of vague phrases such as “up to doctor’s discretion.” Several lawyers suggested I had a slam-dunk medical-malpractice case—until they realized that trans health doesn’t really have a justiciable baseline. As a result, treatment often is subpar, as I have experienced first-hand.

Lupron, the hormone blocker some doctors seem intent on giving to kids like Tylenol, isn’t even FDA-approved to treat children with gender dysphoria. (In 2001, the manufacturer pled guilty to fraudulent sales practices with regard to its marketing as a prostate-cancer drug.) We don’t yet know its long-term effects off-label, despite the fact parents have been assured that its effects are safe and even reversible.

Here is what we do know: The long-term use of synthetic hormone therapy shortens lives. Specifically, these medications are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, bone damage, liver and kidney failure, mental-health complications, and more. Almost a quarter of hormone-therapy patients on high-dose anabolic steroids (such as the testosterone taken by female-to-male transitioners) exhibit major mood-syndrome symptoms. Between three and 12 percent go on to develop symptoms of psychosis.


I have observed that when any argument is raised against a policy of no-questions-asked affirmation, activists seek to pre-empt discussion of the actual data by instead summoning up the specter of suicide—some version of “I would rather have a live daughter than a dead son.” Terrified parents are made to feel as if any expression of concern or skepticism is a gateway to the grave. It’s a passive aggressive form of emotional terrorism.

From my own experience, and from countless conversations with my transgender friends, I can report that most of us regret at least some—though maybe not all—parts of our transition. Even for those who transition successfully, finding peace has stages and takes time. At first, everything is new and exciting. Then, as the years go on, reality sets in, and you have to face up to the reality of biological sex, not to mention the health issues. This is not a life of glitter bombs.

Read it all.

People like Matt Walsh and Scott Newgent are far too rare in our society — which is why we are in the trouble that we are in. Again, I urge you: watch the film, and watch it with your kids, and others in your church or other community. Talk about it. It’s far more important than you might think. Matt, Kale and I talked about how so many normies have no real idea at all how vulnerable their children are to this propaganda. They just hand them smartphones with Internet access, or let them have laptops with no restrictions, and hope for the best. And our churches are full of a leadership class which, even if it doesn’t support this stuff, is terrified of confronting it, because they don’t want to be called bigots, or lose middle-class respectability.

To hell with that. Look around you. Look at what is happening.

In “What Is A Woman?”, Walsh talks by phone to a Canadian father who is in criminal trouble because he “misgendered” his trans child. And this news today from California, via Wesley Smith:

California looks to be well on the way to passing a bill that would treat refusals to allow puberty blocking, transgender surgeries, or other forms of “gender affirming care” as akin to how the law now treats child abuse and abandonment of children brought from out of state. From S.B. 107 which was to be heard in the Judiciary Committee today (my emphasis):

A court of this state has temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is present in this state and the child has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to, or threatened with, mistreatment or abuse, or because the child has been unable to obtain gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care…

If California is an inconvenient forum involving custody fights and other domestic law matters, usually the state’s courts will refuse jurisdiction. But this general rule will not apply to cases involving “gender affirming care” disputes:

In a case where the provision of gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care to the child is at issue, a court of this state shall not determine that it is an inconvenient forum where the law or policy of the other state that may take jurisdiction limits the ability of a parent to obtain gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care for their child.

Usually, if a parent refuses to return a child to another state after visitation, California courts won’t take jurisdiction. But a specific exemption to this general rule is being fashioned when “gender affirming care” is at issue…

Wesley Smith goes on to point out that the bill, which is almost certainly going to become law, would mean that California cares so much about trans that it will refuse to cooperate with any other state whose laws conflict with its own regarding children and trans medical care. Smith:

If so, California will become a transgender sanctuary state, with a law that encourages transgender children to be brought to California to escape court rulings and laws of other jurisdictions when they go against transgender ideology.

This moral panic is really getting out of hand and is tearing the country apart.

Who has the guts to stand up to this and say no, we are not going to live by this lie? We are not going to allow this to be done to children?

In the end, the real question behind “What Is A Woman?” is, “What is truth?” These people assert the right to define reality, and to say that there is no such thing as truth, only power. This is where we are in America today. Matt Walsh sees it. Scott Newgent sees it. Why don’t the rest of us? These are kids. 

I didn’t bring this up explicitly in Live Not By Lies, but we are going to have to start putting together an underground railroad to protect children and dissenting parents from tyrannical authorities in places like California. What I do say in the book is that right now is the time to start forming resistance groups and networks for what is assuredly coming persecution. The trans exploiters cannot defend what they do, philosophically or otherwise — that’s clear from the Walsh film. They can easily defend it de facto, though, because they hold almost all the power in American society today. Every institution is on their side. Many others are cowed into silence by these terrorists.

Not Matt Walsh. Not Scott Newgent. Not the others in this film who put their lives and reputations at risk to speak out against the Big Lie. And you? Where do you stand? Where does your pastor stand?


Want to join the conversation?

Subscribe for as little as $5/mo to start commenting on Rod’s blog.

Join Now