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Every Trans Kid Must Know That They're Loved: John Oliver On Anti-Trans Rhetoric

While meticulously shutting down right wing transphobia, he also criticizes the Left's indifference to trans issues.

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Popular American comedian and TV host, John Oliver is back with another episode of his show, HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. In a nearly 30-minute long segment titled Transgender Rights II, Oliver manages to take down almost every anti-trans argument the Right Wing uses to defend their prejudice against transgender folks.

Using a fine blend of facts, statistics and his signature tongue-in-cheek humor, he not only highlights the transphobic legislations and harassment currently prevalent in the United States but also gives a platform to transgender children and activists fighting for their rights.

You can watch the segment here:

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The segment begins with a montage of Right-Wing celebrities making their favorite transphobic joke: ridiculing trans and genderqueer people's pronouns. Stating how this issue is "clearly more than just bad jokes", Oliver notes that over 100 anti-trans legislations have been introduced in 2022 alone. The comedian further adds, “With all of this happening against a backdrop of violence and threats, including attacks and harassment aimed at hospitals providing gender-affirming care to youth.”

What follows is a well-researched and sensitive debunking of every commonly propagated transphobic argument - from gatekeeping transgender students from participating in sports, equating genderqueer folks to sexual predators to opposing gender-affirmative care for children. John Oliver maintains the delicate balance of facts and humor, throughout, poking fun at transphobes and highlighting how baseless their bigotry is.

Amidst his step-by-step take down of the bigotry exhibited by conservatives, he goes a step forward by criticizing liberals and leftists, as well.

They (The Left) seem at best, reluctant to engage on this issue, and at worst, outright hostile to it - either complaining about pronoun police or arguing that this issue will cost Democrat elections.
JOHN OLIVER TAKES A MOMENT TO CALL OUT THE LEFT'S INDIFERRENCE TO TRANS ISSUES
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Despite the majority of the episode throwing light on right-wing transphobia, Oliver ensures that he uses the platform to uplift transgender children who are currently on the frontlines, fighting for their rights. The episode includes accounts of 11-year-old Texan activist Kai Shappley, Texan athlete Mack Beggs and revolutionary transgender author Julia Serano.

He also takes care to mention that children as young as Kai should never have to take on the role of an activist. "I am glad that Kai is advocating for herself but if a child has to be an activist, we have already failed that child. Because she should just get to be a kid, and enjoy her life."

When supported, trans kids can experience full, vibrant lives. Because trans people are not, by default, unhappier or more prone to suffering than everyone else. That is something that we are putting on them.
JOHN OLIVER ON THE IMPORTANCE OF TRANS JOY

This brings him to the end of the segment where he arguably highlights the most pivotal takeaway from the ongoing debate on transgender rights. Instead of only focusing on the plight of the trans community, he ensures to mention, “Hope and joy are crucial. They are the fuel to power the ongoing fight for equality. And while there is a lot of fear and uncertainty right now it is worth remembering that progress, while not always linear, is always possible, because we're working toward the goal of every trans kid knowing that they are loved, valued, and indispensable.”

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