On June 28th, 2015, Last Week Tonight aired a segment highlighting the importance of transgender rights. Last Week Tonight has earned a reputation covering complex issues, and breaking them down in an easy-to-understand way.
Host and writer John Oliver presents these issues to the audience, using equal parts humour, anger and intelligence. The segment on transgender rights was no different. Several examples of those in the media using offensive and inaccurate language were aired, while Oliver called out the media for their insensitivity to the issue. He gave them some simple advice with respect to how to refer to a transgendered person:
It's pretty simple: call them whatever they want to be called... We do it all the time. 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?'
Oliver also used the segment to criticize the media for asking absolutely ridiculous questions focusing more on celebrity genitalia than issues of actual importance. He followed this up by offering some more helpful advice for the media:
Transgender people have a gender identity that differs from the one they were assigned at birth. 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.
One of the celebrities Oliver discussed was Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner was recently featured on the cover of Vanity Fair. In the accompanying article she discussed her transition, including the media reaction. Jenner had an opportunity to view the segment, and on Saturday gave her approval in a tweet to her 2.6+ million followers.https://twitter.com/Caitlyn_Jenner/status/620040400149938177
Last Week Tonight airs Sundays on HBO, and frequently offers exclusive content via theirYouTube page.