John Oliver Brilliantly Lambastes the Media’s Tactless Treatment of the Transgender Community


John Oliver excellently exposed some of the archaic attitudes that exist in the media regarding the transgender community on last night’s Last Week Tonight. “If you’re still wondering what to call a transgender person, actually it’s pretty simple, call them whatever they want to be called,” said John Oliver, pointing to fact that we’ve collectively managed to call David Evans “The Edge” and Sean Combs “Puff Daddy” (er then “P. Diddy,” then simply “Diddy” again) at their behest, so it shouldn’t be too hard to refer to someone’s gender as the one they identify with.Oliver cited the story of Logan Ireland, a transgender army airman who, speaking to the New York Times said, “Here in Afghanistan it’s like a vacation for me because I can be myself.” Because back in the U.S. he is referred to female. “It is not a great sign for how we treat transgender people that Afghanistan is a place where you can be yourself,” said Oliver. “Actually, it’s the least likely tourism slogan for Afghanistan.” Officially, the U.S. military has a ban on transgender people enlisting; despite that, there are over 15,000 transgender people in active duty.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, took a special lambasting by Oliver in the segment. In February, Huckabee attacked non-discrimination ordinances for city bathrooms, and advocated “bathroom bills,” which would mean people would have to use the restroom of the gender stated in their birth certificate or face jail time. “I wish someone had told me when I was high school that I could’ve felt like a woman when it was time to take showers during PE,” said Huckabee. “I’m pretty sure I would’ve found my feminine side and said ‘Coach, I think I’m going to take a shower with the girls today.'”

Responding to that, Oliver said: “There is something inherently wrong with forcing us to listen to your f***ed up daydreams of all the sex crimes you would’ve committed if you found a legal loophole.”

Watch the whole segment below: