The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Van Ness talks about Pride Month, his new book and storytelling

This conversation will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Helena Andrews-Dyer & Shannon Liao

Jonathan Van Ness joins Washington Post Live on Thursday, June 16 (Video: The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

As an author, a television personality and a hair stylist, Jonathan Van Ness has sprinkled his personal story of success with humor alongside a reckoning for LGBTQ rights. Van Ness joins The Washington Post’s Dave Jorgenson for a conversation about his recent book, “Love That Story,” and the role of storytelling in paving the way for change. This conversation will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Helena Andrews-Dyer & Shannon Liao.

NEXT is a new series on Washington Post Live that brings together rising changemakers, innovators and influencers to talk about issues at the center of the business, social and cultural zeitgeist - from Hollywood to the Hill.

Click here for transcript

Click here to listen to the podcast


“As long as we’re coming from an earnest, honest, respectful place, you can ask what someone’s pronouns are because you want to do it in a respectful great way… When you make a mistake, it’s okay to say ‘I’m sorry,’ and just move on. We don’t want to get too much in a clog about, you know, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, I feel so bad,’… because then it kind of becomes about your guilt. And I think it does become a lot easier to understand the significance of correct pronoun usage when we frame it less about the ally doing the right thing and more about what the trans community is going through at large.” – Jonathan Van Ness (Video: Washington Post Live)
“My adult life… has been about is learning how to parent and nurture and take care of that kid that just did not get taken care of and I think that’s really what healing from trauma looks like is learning to be your own advocate.” – Jonathan Van Ness (Video: Washington Post Live)
“I think that TikTok and Instagram can be valuable places to get information, but I don’t think they’re places that I take the information full stop without vetting and fact-checking it for myself… Let’s get off TikTok and let’s talk to your neighbor, let’s talk to your mom, your dad, your uncle, let’s talk to people who maybe you haven’t spoken to in a while… Maybe it’s about utilizing TikTok but maybe that not being your end-all, be-all… like, more in real life and on social, is what I would say we need to do more of.” ¬– Jonathan Van Ness (Video: Washington Post Live)
“When you look at what’s going on in Florida and when you look at what’s going on in Texas, that’s the roadmap that they want to make national… The people that are the most exposed which is people living in poverty, queer people, people of color, women, gender-nonconforming people… disabled people, those people that have those intersectional overlapping identities, those are the people that are most vulnerable and stand to lose the most in these midterms.” - Jonathan Van Ness (Video: Washington Post Live)

Jonathan Van Ness

Television Personality & Author

Helena Andrews-Dyer

Pop Culture Reporter, The Washington Post

Shannon Liao

Video Games Reporter, The Washington Post