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While the LGBT community had a slew to celebrate this week — with the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, the unveiling of the Laverne Cox figure at Madame Tussaud’s and various cities’ Pride celebrations — John Oliver insists the media, and the public at large, still has a lot to learn about equal treatment of transgender people.
“Let’s not get too complacent about how far they’ve come, because they still face a host of obstacles,” Oliver said Sunday on Last Week Tonight.
“It’s no more okay to ask transgender people about their sex organs than it would be to ask Jimmy Carter whether or not he’s circumcised,” Oliver explained. “Their decision on this matter is, medically speaking, none of your f—ing business!”
And if the media can get on board with referring to musicians as The Edge or Puff Daddy (or P. Diddy or Diddy), they too can use the proper pronouns for transgender individuals, said Oliver.
“While a handful of transgender people have been winning awards or appearing on magazine covers, the community at large has been facing staggering challenges,” he explained, using statistics of attempted suicide and harassment, from the DMV to the military. Plus, a “bathroom bill” in Arizona will fine $2,500 for using a bathroom with a different gender identity than one’s birth certificate.
“Even when people say the right thing about the transgender community, too often, practical change fails to follow. … Official rules can end up legitimizing prejudices,” Oliver said.
“We are weirdly comfortable celebrating transgender people while simultaneously dehumanizing them at the DMV, pinning awards to them as we drum them out of the military, and constantly quizzing them about their genitalia,” he continued. “Look, this is a civil rights issue, and if you’re not willing to support transgender people for their sake, at least do it for your own. Because we’ve been through this before, we know how this thing ends. If you take an anti-civil rights side and deny people access to something they’re entitled to, history is not going to be kind to you.”
Watch the video below.
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