Brow Beat

John Oliver Explains Why Transgender People’s Genitals Are None of Your Business

On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, days after the Supreme Court ruled that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, John Oliver reminded his viewers that the fight for LGBT rights is far from over. More specifically, he spent 16 minutes on the serious issues that still affect the transgender community.

After airing several clips of transgender people fielding wildly inappropriate personal questions from the media about their genitalia, Oliver offered a quick primer to get everyone up to speed on transgender people and their bodies:


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 f—ing business.

But as bad as these prying questions are, Oliver reminded viewers they’re nothing compared to other issues transgender people face (for example, in one survey, 35 percent of transgender and gender-nonconforming people reported having been physically assaulted), with a lot of the discrimination coming from government institutions like the military and the DMV. And in case anyone’s still not convinced about taking these issues seriously, Oliver reminds viewers that history doesn’t often look back kindly on those who fight against civil rights. “There is no biopic where Liam Neeson kicks the shit out of a suffragist,” Oliver points out (next to a fake poster for “Schindler’s Fist”), adding, “You are not going to get a monument that says at the base of it, ‘He told people where to shit.’ ”