Many people have a difficult time understanding just what the big deal is with transgender people and their fight for equal rights. Despite many transgender activists taking the time to explain, a lot of the time their stories get sensationalized, fetishized or completely misrepresented. But perhaps if a mild, white man explains the importance of fighting for transgender equality, people will better understand?
Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver ranted for a good 16 minutes about the challenges and legal struggles facing transgender men and women in the U.S. He broke it down in easy-to-understand bits, showcasing a variety of examples and stories about different legal fights and challenges occurring within the transgender community.
Peppering his rant with jokes that punch up, attacking the system and those ignorant on the struggles of transgender individuals, Oliver hit a few key issues. He noted that while there have been amazing strides made in the LGBT community in general, there is still a ways to go when it comes to “the T part.”
He starts in on the media, admonishing them for always asking intrusive questions when it comes to trans people. “It is no more OK to ask transgender people about their sex organs than it would be to ask Jimmy Carter whether he’s circumcised,” Oliver says exasperatedly. He then offers up a very simple description of what it actually means to be transgender, as many in the media still seem to be unclear.
When discussing some of the challenges many transgender people still face, Oliver shares the story of two transgender women from West Virginia who were told by the DMV that they would not photograph them for their licenses unless the two removed all of their jewelry, makeup and wigs.
The military is next on Oliver’s list, as he digs into the hypocrisy present regarding those who serve and protect our country. Oliver also tackles politicians who dehumanize transgender individuals and the problem with policing bathrooms.
Transgender individuals face a lot in their daily lives, including increased risks of violence, housing and job discrimination and more. John Oliver plainly puts it out there, explaining just why fighting for transgender rights is so important. Hopefully he catches the attention of folks who may not have put much thought into this before.
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