Fox News stunned its audience Friday after it aired a sympathetic transgender story about a biological girl who had "transitioned" beginning at the age of 5 to become a boy.
As part of Fox News' special series called "America Together: LGBTQ+ Pride Month," Fox correspondent Bryan Llenas featured a Southern California family who decided to help make their female child a transgender boy named Ryland, now 14.
Ryland's parents, Jeff and Hillary Whittington, encouraged their biological female child to identify as a male from around the age of 5, with an informal transition.
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Fox reported that a year later – at around 6 years of age – the child had a "coming out" to family, classmates, and others.
Ryland's mother told Fox even before Ryland could speak she could see in his infant eyes how "painful it was for him to even wear feminine clothes."
Shortly after the Fox report aired, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro slammed Fox for airing the pro-transgender segment as a "complete betrayal."
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"Every element of this [Fox News] video is propagandistic, dangerous garbage," Shapiro said.
"The report states that this biologically female child was choosing her gender before she could speak. That is madness."
Shapiro called the so-called transitioning of Ryland as "child abuse."
And he bashed Fox for airing "absolute, horrifying propaganda."
Likewise, Daily Wire host Michael Knowles knocked Fox News for spotlighting a controversial issue that goes against the beliefs of its Christian viewers.
"Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer when my conservative news outlets don't encourage parents to trans their little children," he said.
And Knowles' colleague at the Daily Wire, Matt Walsh, needed a multi-post twitter thread to express his full disappointment in Fox News:
"The poor kid is 14 now with a permanently altered body, condemned to live forever with an identity imposed as a small child. It is horrifying, evil, and sick. And it is what Fox chose to promote."
Popular conservative podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey was similarly shocked by Fox's airing of the transgender-friendly piece.
"I'm stunned that Fox News ran a segment celebrating a girl whose parents 'transitioned' her into a boy when she was 5 because she apparently told them she was a boy 'before [she] could talk.'" Stuckey said, adding, "Absolutely maddening & heartbreaking."
The sentiment was largely the same among regular Fox viewers.
One commenter wrote, via Twitter, "You're done with me now. Stop pushing the woke trans abuse of children. The media is the enemy of the people. That includes Fox News too. Nobody needs your propaganda."
Ryland's story has garnered plenty of national attention in recent months. It coincides with a number of states informally discussing or signing bills which prohibit minors from receiving gender-affirming care — particularly potentially harmful hormone therapies, puberty blockers, or even permanent surgery.
The pro-transgender story on Ryland is not new for Fox News, which has been undergoing a transitioning of sorts itself as it moves away from its more traditional base of viewers.
In March, Fox announced it had hired Caitlyn Jenner as top political contributor for the network.
Caitlyn, former Olympic athlete and TV star Bruce Jenner, had never been a commentator on politics before she ran for California governor as part of the 2021 recall effort. Jenner received just 1 percent of the recall vote.
Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott heralded Jenner's appointment as part of the network's LGBTQ+ outreach.
"Caitlyn's story is an inspiration to us all," Scott said after announcing Jenner's hiring, noting the star was "the most famous transgender woman in the world."
"She is a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community and her illustrious career spans a variety of fields that will be a tremendous asset for our audience."
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