John Oliver shines a light on the civil-rights struggle in the transgender community

The same-sex marriage victory is only the beginning.


Michelle Jaworski


Published Jun 29, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 11:22 am CDT

The United States may now have marriage equality, but as John Oliver reminded us on Sunday night, there’s still a long way to go until full equality—especially for the transgender community.

Transgender Americans face widespread discrimination, transphobia, disrespect, being barred from using the proper bathroom, bullying at all ages, being banned from the military, harassment at the DMV, and, for many (including public figures), questions about their genitalia. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee once said that he would have pretended to be a girl in order to shower with girls in high school.

“Transgender people have a gender identity that differs from the one they were assigned at birth,” Oliver said. “And that gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation. Gender identity is who you are, sexual orientation is who you love. Some transgender people do undergo hormone therapy or sexual reassignment surgery as part of their transition, some do not. And interestingly, their decision on this matter is, medically speaking, none of your fucking business!”

If you end up on the anti-civil-rights side of this issue, Oliver said, it won’t end well for you. Just like the last time.

Screengrab via LastWeekTonight/YouTube

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*First Published: Jun 29, 2015, 1:41 pm CDT