“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver called out the United States of America for a pattern of praising transgender individuals for their “courage,” but then continuing to deny them their civil rights.
“We are weirdly comfortable celebrating transgender people, while simultaneously dehumanizing them at the DMV,” Oliver said during Sunday’s episode. “Pinning awards to them as we drum them out of the military and constantly quizzing them about their genitalia.”
The HBO personality also used the 16-minute segment to make sure viewers knew what it means for a person to be transgender.
Transgender people have a gender identity that differs from the one assigned to them at birth, Oliver explained. And while some decide to undergo sex reassignment surgery, others do not. “And interestingly, their decision on this matter is, medically speaking, none of your f–king business,” he said to wild applause.
Oliver singled out bathroom access as the issue most representative of the way transgender people are discriminated against in society. He criticized laws preventing transgender people from using the bathroom of their chosen gender and lawmakers who pretend to be sympathetic, but employ “baseless fear-mongering” to justify advancing the discriminatory laws.
“We’ve been through this before, we know how this thing ends,” Oliver said. “If you take the anti-civil rights side and deny people access to something they’re entitled to, history is not going to be kind to you.”