'For all the strides transgender people have made lately, let’s not get too complacent.'
Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox are among those who helped put a public face on transgender rights in the last year, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. That’s the big takeaway from Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, where host John Oliver provided an equal parts poignant, funny and frustrating explainer on transgender rights.
“It’s genuinely crucial we get this right. Because there are more transgender people in the U.S. than you might realize. One study estimates that 700,000 American adults are transgender. That’s more than the population of Boston. And you probably know somebody from Boston,” Oliver said.
During the 16-minute segment, Oliver calls out the media (“It is 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”), conservative politicians (“baseless fear-mongering”), and anyone confused about pronoun usage.
“It’s pretty simple: call them whatever they want to be called. You can do it. We do it all the time,” Oliver said. “David Evans woke up one day and said, ‘Everyone call me The Edge.’ And we all went, ‘Fine, The Edge, are we talking the noun or the verb?'”
Watch the entire segment below.