Transgender Rights II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | Transcript

John Oliver discusses the latest round of attacks on transgender rights, what’s at stake, and the filthiest of the “Peanuts” characters.
Transgender Rights II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 9 Episode 26
Aired on October 16, 2022

Main segment: Transgender health care, youth, and transphobia in the United States (“Transgender Rights II”)
Other segment: Latest developments in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and aftermath of the 2022 Crimean Bridge explosion

* * *

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

[Cheers and applause]

John: Welcome to last week tonight. I’m John Oliver, thanks so much for joining us. It’s been a busy week. The January 6th panel voted to subpoena Donald Trump, Alex Jones continued his losing record in the legal Info Wars, and a virtual Mark Zuckerberg announced that “Legs are coming soon! Are you excited?” Which sounds less like an update to a multi-billion dollar metaverse and more like a new section on Wikifeet. But we’re going to begin with the war in Ukraine, which has seen a significant escalation.

Russia’s punishing missile barrage this week captured on dash cams and other cameras across the country. The brutal retaliation for the blast on the bridge connecting Russia to Crimea directed by hard-line commander Sergei Surovikin.

John: It’s true: Surovikin’s appointment was announced just hours after the bridge explosion, which sends a real message. Because he’s not only known for his brutal tactics in Syria, he’s been nicknamed “general Armageddon.” And no one brings in a guy named “general Armageddon’ to do “fewer” war crimes. Look at him! He’s somehow terrifying, while also looking like an angry baby forced into a fun outfit. Now, the scale of the retaliation this week may seem extreme, but that bridge was a big deal to Putin. Russia began building it right after annexing Crimea in 2014, and Putin celebrated its opening by proudly driving across it himself. The Russian state even funded a rom-com set during the bridge’s construction, called “The Crimean Bridge: Made with Love!” It’s basically a bridge-based “Love Actually.” Just to take a quick look at the trailer.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

Welcome to the Krymskiy Bridge, the biggest bridge in Russia!

John: Listen to me: this movie is all I can think about. Did I watch all 100 minutes of it on YouTube? Yes. Am I going to tell you all about it? I am. Basically, a bunch of characters meet and fall in love somewhere near the construction site of the Crimean bridge. This is Varya, a young archaeologist who is doing archaeology at the beach all the time. She’s romantically pursued by Viktor, the slick p-r man, and Dima, the young, beefy construction worker. During the movie, Dima is, a, accused of arson near the Crimean bridge, b, saves a fellow construction worker who falls off the Crimean bridge, and c, takes control of a crashing plane and lands it safely on– you guessed it– the Crimean bridge. Meanwhile, a journalist named Tikhon arrives to write an article about the bridge’s history, and falls in love with Alya, who’s the classic romcom archetype of “beautiful, shy fishmonger.” Alya, we learn, was actually orphaned when her dad dozed off behind the wheel after spending hours in traffic that wouldn’t have existed if there had only been a — say it with me — Crimean bridge. The movie ends with the new bridge completed, the characters pairing off, and everyone marching across it into illegally annexed territory. This movie is my whole brain now. Do not watch it or it will take over your life. The point is, Putin’s clearly very angry his bridge got blown up. But his war effort is notably struggling. There’ve been reports of thousands of Russian men leaving the country to escape the draft, and stories like this one, about a man sheltering in Georgia.

Aleksei takes us to the shelter he now calls home after driving seven days from Moscow, with little more than his guitar.



Ghostbusters. ♪ ♪

Better that than a rifle, he says.

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! [Laughter]

John: Now look, if you told me “a Russian man traveled seven straight days to cross the border with almost nothing but his guitar and now he’s going to play you a little something” my guess as to what that something was would have been, in order: sad Russian folk song his mother used to play at night; sad Russian folk song his mother used to play in the morning; and Wonderwall. [Laughter] But it would have taken me infinity guesses to get to “acoustic ghostbusters.” The worry is that, in Putin’s desperation, he may resort to nuclear weapons — a worry not assuaged by sights like this parade of pro-Kremlin supporters in Moscow, featuring a nuclear missile mascot walking down the street. So it’s no wonder Ukraine is stepping up its calls for outside help. Zelensky addressed the G-7 this week, and Ukraine’s defense ministry’s Twitter account posted this video, thanking France for supplying it with artillery — and asking for more.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

John: What a weird time to be alive. That’s an appeal for military aid, set to Serge Gainsbourg’s “Je t’aime”, and featuring the visuals of an e-card from JibJab. And the fact that came from the defense ministry means someone in Ukraine got a military order of “go be horny on Twitter” and they answered that call. Look: eight months in, things in Ukraine are still extremely serious, and the only thing we can say with relative certainty right now is that whatever Putin does next will be much like “The Crimean Bridge: Made with Love!”: Ill-advised, messy, and something absolutely nobody but him wanted.

* * *

John: Our main story tonight concerns LGBTQ rights, something we’ve actually gotten better at discussing, given that this is how CBS news covered the existence of gay people in 1967.

The homosexuals, with CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace.

There is a growing concern about homosexuals in society, about their increasing visibility. This man is 27, college educated. He was unable to hold a job because of his inability to contain his homosexual inclinations.

John: Okay, that’s a big “yikes” from me — from the wildly homophobic language; to the fact this man’s identity was concealed by placing him behind a plant, to the title “The Homosexuals” which sounds less like the name of a news report and more like how your grandpa refers to the fab five. Specifically, we’re going to talk about transgender rights. We actually first talked about this seven years ago, and the good news is, since then, more people do seem comfortable coming out as trans and gender nonconforming. Which is great! But as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, in the past few years some on the right have truly lost their minds about trans rights, perhaps best encapsulated by their new favorite joke.

My name is J.R. Majewski, and my pronouns are patriot and ass kicker.

My pronouns? Conservative. Patriot.

I’d like to declare something right now. My pronouns are U-S-A. How bout it.

I’m Ted Cruz, and my pronoun is “kiss my ass.”

John: I do not like that man Ted Cruz. I do not like his shitty views. I do not like him saying “ass,” do not like him serving sass. I do not like him in a seat, do not like him holding meat. I do not like him when he’s smoochin’, I do not like him with mnuchin. Hate his stupid pronoun bit. That man Ted Cruz is full of shit.

But it’s clearly more than just bad jokes — this year alone, over 100 anti trans bills have been introduced in state houses, and 12 states have signed or enacted them, 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. And frustratingly, there are many on the left who 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 democrats elections.

If you go to the middle of the county, people would say if your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to-and-and go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula for most people.

John: Wow. “It”? Michael Bloomberg can fuck all the way off. Also while this fun-sized billionaire is clearly good at a lot of things — like making money, and end of list — maybe don’t take advice on a “winning formula” for elections from a man who spent over over a billion dollars of his own money to lose a presidential bid in just 14 weeks. But set aside the notion that it’s worth sacrificing protections for a vulnerable group, to chase a “winning formula.” Let’s also remember that it’s not actually “the left” talking about trans rights non-stop — it’s republicans, who see an advantage in demagoguing this issue. And to ignore that is to allow them to have real, calamitous impacts on people’s lives. A few years ago, vice profiled a girl named Kai Shappley. And just watch how happy she is, talking about her hopes for her future, until she remembers something that changes her mood.

Mama says I might grow up to be president.”



What would you change about the world if you were president?

Let trans people be free and go to the bathroom they want to go to.

Are you able to use the girls’ bathroom at school?

No, and now they just put security guards up for the bathroom security or whatever. Oh, I hate that.

John: That’s brutal. It’s so dark that it’s genuinely hard to watch. Which would also coincidentally, be a pretty accurate tagline for “House of the Dragon.” But the point is, given what’s at stake here, tonight, let’s talk about this latest round of attacks on trans rights, where it’s coming from, and what it’s doing. And before we begin: we’re going to be taking the arguments behind a lot of these anti-trans bills seriously, because of what they’re doing, but not sincerely, because so often, they seem to be based more on political calculation than on what’s actually happening. A good example is that in recent years, 18 states have passed laws aimed at “protecting youth sports”, and south Dakota governor Kristi Noem even made her state’s bill a centerpiece of a campaign ad.

In South Dakota, only girls play girls’ sports. Why? Because of governor Kristi Noem’s leadership. Noem has been protecting girls’ sports for years and never backed down.

Now, governor Noem has a bill that will give South Dakota the strongest law in the nation protecting female sports. Doing the work, delivering results. Governor Kristi Noem.

John: If you’d time travelled here from the past and the first thing you saw was this ad, you’d think two things. One: wow, the campaign centers around youth sports, I guess literally every other problem in America has been solved. And two: she is “not” pulling off that cowboy hat. And you’d be right — about the hat part. People like Noem love stoking fear over the specter of trans athletes — girls, specifically — having an unfair advantage, and taking away scholarship opportunities. But there are vanishingly few examples nationwide of trans athletes attempting to compete at all. In Noem’s state specifically, the head of their high school sports association could name exactly one transgender female athlete who’d competed, and who graduated several years ago. So there are more athletes “in this shot” from Noem’s ad, then there are trans girls known to have competed in South Dakota schools. But even if there were more, discriminating against them would still, obviously, be wrong. And it’d still be weird that state legislatures were getting involved in decisions usually made by organizations governing the sports in question. And it’s worth knowing: even at the elite level, conversations around this aren’t being handled with flat-out bans. The I-O-C has announced it’ll set rules on a sport-by-sport basis, but working on the general principle that “no athlete should be excluded from competition on the assumption of an advantage due to their gender.” And it’s pretty remarkable that a trans athlete could theoretically compete in the Olympics, but not South Dakota under-12 soccer. A sport that genuinely only exists to obliterate parents’ weekends. States’ blunt-force approach has led to absurd situations like that of Mack Beggs, who as a Texas high schooler wanted to wrestle boys, but was forced by state rules to wrestle girls. When he won a state championship, lawmakers tried to pass a law that would’ve made it impossible for athletes like him to compete, period. Which is absurd, because as one of the wrestlers Mack actually defeated pointed out, none of these people seemed to think through the reality of Mack’s situation.

Do you really honestly think someone would change their entire gender just so they would win state? No, that’s not how it works.

John: Right, this obviously wasn’t an effort to cheat. Kids aren’t plotting big, deceitful school sports-related cheating schemes just to get what they want — you’re thinking of Lori Loughlin. That’s who you’re thinking of here, you are confused. So much of the conversation around anti-trans laws involves massively overheated rhetoric that doesn’t match the reality of kids’ actual situations. And interestingly, a lot of it’s been fueled by some of the same players behind the Critical Race Theory panic, who, as we discussed in February, were using it as a wedge issue to promote school choice. In fact, one key architect of the C-R-T panic, Christopher Rufo, recently pivoted to attacking trans rights, and has openly discussed the strategy behind that.

What I’m looking at and it’s just kind of an ongoing series, I just started it, is to take that same system of reporting, that same style of reporting as I did with critical race theory. But now taking a look at gender ideology. What’s happening right now is, parents are feeling that, they’re feeling the oof this is kind of weird, I’m kind of uncomfortable with this, but I’m scared to speak out. And so what we have to do is we have to give them the kind of media narrative kind of a justification or validation or substantiation of their concerns to say, “hey, this is the kind of thing they’re teaching in schools.’ And then we have to give them the language where they can speak about it with confidence. They can speak about it directly and they can speak about it with the requisite level of aggressiveness that it’s going to take to say, “hey, wait a minute, we have to stop this.’

John: Yeah, he’s basically giving people a script to repeat. Say what you want about Chris Rufo — like, for instance, that he’s a fear-mongering troll who looks like what would happen if someone made the recipe for Ryan Gosling, but forgot to add the hotness — he is very deliberate in how he tries to influence public opinion. Rufo’s suggested branding the discussion of trans issues under the umbrella of “Radical Gender Theory”, and tweeted out that “conservatives should start using the phrase “trans stripper” in lieu of “drag queen.” It has a more lurid set of connotations and shifts the debate to sexualization.” And sure — anything can have a more lurid and sexual set of connotations if you just rename it. I’ll show you: rain? “Sky jizz.” Much worse. Immersion blender? “Soup vibrator.” Spaghetti sauce? “Noodle lube.” See, it works on anything! But in the conservative playbook, that tactic is a really big one — — linking discussion of gender identity to sexual predation and teachers “grooming” students. A related tactic is arguing that the rise in kids identifying as trans is due to a “social contagion” — that it’s just a mass delusion, a trendy fad that’s rapidly spreading among young people. Just listen to Abigail Shrier, a vocal proponent of that theory, laying it all out.

If you want to see brainwash, check out these young teenagers who suddenly decide they’re transgender they immediately cut off their families. They very often drop out of school. They are very often start tattooing themselves and using drugs and they are creating a-a world for themselves that is so healthy, so built around sexuality, and the-they lose all their hobbies. Their only hobby is being transgender.

John: Okay, so there’s a lot there, but let me just address the claim that trans kids lose all their hobbies. I’ll point out that when they try to have some — like, I dunno, school sports, for example — a bunch of asshole adults try to keep them from it. Shrier sometimes dresses her argument up by using the term “rapid-onset gender dysphoria”, which is total horseshit. It comes from a study published by a researcher in 2018, hypothesizing that some kids identify as trans due to peer pressure. But it is worth knowing: that study was based on a survey of parents, not actual trans kids, and it targeted parents from organizations dedicated to opposing trans ideology. Which is instantly disqualifying. It’s like citing a study claiming that all postal workers are terrifying hell-demons sent to attack your family, but then learning that the researchers only surveyed a collection of anxious dogs — that’s some heavy sampling bias that clearly skewed your results. And to be very clear, there’s ample evidence of gender variance throughout human history, and as far back as historians have found evidence of trans people, they’ve found trans children. As for the “rapid rise” in kids identifying as trans, as the writer Julia Serano has pointed out, when you look at a chart of left-handedness among Americans over the 20th century, you see a massive spike when we stopped forcing kids to write with their right hand, and then a plateau — that doesn’t mean everyone became left-handed or there was a “rapid onset southpaw dysphoria”, it means people were free to be who they fucking were. And to the extent that some young people are just exploring their gender identity, how is that a bad thing? Who the fuck are they hurting? Watching the conversation around this, it’s hard not to feel like, to the extent there is any “social contagion” here, it’s among adults, who’ve whipped themselves into such a frenzy that they can find themselves repeating some humiliating nonsense. Perhaps the stupidest of which is a new talking point about what accommodating children’s gender identity has led to.

I even heard from one person who recently said that a that-that a student identified as a cat and wanted a litter box.

They think they’re a cat, a cat. They put tails on and they demand that they have a litter box in the school.

We’ve literally got kids who think they’re cats and dogs using litter boxes in classrooms.

I’m still hearing from students and parents. They believe there is a litter box in that school. And when everybody will turn the other cheek to allegations. A rumor is just a rumor until it becomes true.

John: The fact you seem to genuinely think that’s happening is just heartbreakingly stupid. Because when you think about it for literally two seconds, the whole thing falls apart. For one, if kids were using litter boxes in class, a state representative from Minnesota wouldn’t be the one breaking that news to you. You would have fucking heard about it. If a kid shat in a litterbox in first period, it would be the only thing anyone in that state was talking about by lunch. Minnesota would change its state motto to “Minnesota — y’know, the state where that kid shit in a litterbox.” And notably, young people are showing up in public forums where adults are fearmongering about letting trans kids into youth sports and bathrooms, and trying to talk some sense into them.

I will not let a board full of people who barely represent me tell me who I am and what I can do. Grow up and fix your behavior.

I’m not worried about a trans person harassing me, I’m worried about if I’m gonna fail Spanish in my next class.

I have used these bathrooms repeatedly alongside trans people and have never once felt threatened. You know who I have felt threatened by? The actions of this school board.

You’ve embarrassed yourselves, Gardner, and the state of Kansas, for your lack of knowledge in sex and gender studies. You’ve also highlighted the severely inadequate sex education we give our students today.

John: Yeah, the adults in those rooms just got humiliated by teenagers — as we all know, the most brutal form of humiliation there is. And credit to those teenagers for showing up, and skipping whatever young people are doing these days, like hanging out at the vape tok store or whatever — I don’t know, I’ll be dead soon. So much of the fear of and arguments against transgender people seems to flow from misinformation and misunderstanding. And maybe the biggest and most dangerous area of ignorance surrounds the concept of “gender-affirming care.” In recent years, four states have enacted bans or restrictions on youth access to it, and over a dozen more have considered similar legislation this year alone. And they’ve been fueled by a lack of basic knowledge around what gender affirming care actually consists of, summed up by comments like this:

If a child walked into a doctor’s office and said, “doc, I want you to cut my fingers off.’ The doc would say, “you’ve got some problems, kid. We need to refer you to a psychiatrist.’ If the same child walks into that doctor’s office and says, “doc, I want you to cut my uterus out,’ the doctor would say-that doctor would say, “oh, well, you’re a wonderful, brave person. You’re so right. We do need to cut your uterus out as soon as possible. Let’s get this young lady over to the operating room.

John: What are you talking about? Every bit of that is unrealistic starting with no one in this country has been able to have a conversation with the doctor without first discussing insurance to the notion of a young child using the term “doc.” Why is the fictional child in this bullshit scenario using the same vocabulary as a chaotic rabbit from the nineteen forties? None of this makes sense. But to hear some tell it, as soon as a child declares themselves trans, there is an immediate, irreversible, surgical decision undertaken. And there just isn’t! So let’s break down exactly what “gender-affirming care” consists of. Because, in younger children, it can mean nothing more than a social transition — like calling them by a new name, or giving them a new haircut or clothing — or providing them with psychological or behavioral supports. Because, to be clear: pre-pubescent children are not eligible for medical interventions. Now, at the onset of puberty, an adolescent and their family might consider puberty blockers — hormones that delay puberty. And importantly, if that treatment is suspended, then puberty will resume, meaning this is “reversible.” Think of it like a pause button — the thing that you can’t do easily on the HBO Max app. Now, the next potential medical intervention is usually hormone therapy, which boosts levels of testosterone or estrogen. Opponents of gender-affirming care make a lot of alarmist claims about hormone therapy — from saying it’s experimental, which it’s not, to arguing that it sterilizes people. And look: for some, in specific situations, there can be risks to fertility. But for others, the effect is anticipated to be reversible, if the medication is discontinued. But there is definitely an informed decision to be made there. And you’ll notice that none of what I’ve mentioned so far is surgery. But when it does come to that, some teens may be eligible, for instance, for “top surgery”, or chest masculinization. But you should know: not only is that pretty rare, it — like all of this — would only happen after a team of medical professionals discussed all its risks and benefits with their patient and their patient’s parent or guardian, all of whom would have to sign off. It’s a long, involved process, even before you get to the fact that it’s incredibly expensive, which is why working-class families, families of color and people with less resources are way less able to access it. Basically, no kid is casually dropping into an operating room because they just decided to get their uterus removed with the impulsive recklessness normally associated with getting bangs. That has an absolutely ridiculous and the notion that the state thing to say. Would suddenly interfere in any of this is understandably infuriating for both trans kids and their parents. Just watch this mom, in Arkansas — where legislators were banning, among other things, hormone therapy for young people — describe what it did for her son, who suffered from severe depression before transitioning.

I’d say like a month to two months in, I started seeing that kid come back, come out of his shell, talk to us more, laugh.

What did that feel like as a mom?

It was like, that’s it. This has– this has been the answer all along. Why would anybody want to take that away from them? There’s no reason why you should be butting into my care for my child.

What do you want to say to these legislators?

Fuck you.

John: Right. Because transitioning isn’t taking your kid away from you — in some cases, it can be giving you your kid back. This is not one of those instances where it’s okay to butt into someone’s care for their child. This isn’t Pig-Pen. Do you need help, Pig-Pen? Blink your filthy eyes if you need help, pig-pen. The benefits of providing care are immense, and the risks of withholding it are dire. A survey of around 28,000 trans people found that, of those who wanted hormone therapy and didn’t receive it 58% reported suicidal thoughts in a given year. Which is why the three major professional associations of child and adolescent doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists have endorsed gender-affirming care and condemned efforts to deny it. And you may’ve seen or heard from a small subset of people who “detransitioned.” But it’s worth knowing, such cases are rare and highly individualized. Studies show an average of just two percent of people who transition express regret, and that the vast majority of those who have opted to detransition, did so not because of changes in their gender identity, but due to external factors, such as stigma and lack of social support. And look — I could keep reading you stats and studies — I “do” love doing that. Or I could just let you watch this boy talk about what it felt like to have someone actually see him for who he was.

Dylan explained how as early as fourth grade, he’d had confusing feelings that stretched on until his teenage years.

I really wanted to cut my hair, like, really bad. And so when I did that, that felt really good. And then I held the door for somebody and they said thank you, sir, and I was, like, “oh, yeah. That-yeah, that.’

Just little things-

Little things. That “sir’ put words to how I was feeling. And I was like, “oh, yeah, that-that felt nice.’

John: Yeah, that’s incredible. For some, a haircut is just a routine activity where you go to your barber, ask for the “business in the front, business in the back,” and leave. But for a trans kid, it can be a life-changing experience. That boy is currently suing his state’s AG, in a trial that starts tomorrow. And he’s not the only trans kid who’s found himself forced to become an activist. Kai, from earlier? She’s now 11, and went to the Texas state legislature last year, to speak out against bills that would ban doctors and parents from providing gender affirming care to young people. And she fucking crushed it.

Hello, my name is Kai Shappley. I love ballet, math, science, and geology. I spend my free time with my cats, chickens, facetiming my friends, and dreaming of when I will finally meet Dolly Parton. I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices. It just-it makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids like me to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist. God made me. God loves me for who I am and god does not make mistakes.

John: She is awesome. I whole-heartedly agree with almost everything she says there. Though in the interest of fairness god “does” make mistakes, if he didn’t, how would you explain goblin sharks. Look at this fuckin’ guy. He looks like an eel wearing a shark costume that doesn’t quite fit. A “sick” eel. “Errgh.” Look at this mess, it looks like he’s goin’ “errgh.” If god doesn’t make mistakes, how do you justify the existence of this stupid creep that looks like a child tried to draw a xenomorph from memory? Again, I support Kai with my whole heart, but to say god doesn’t make mistakes is just not true. He does, and they look like this. And look: I’m glad kai’s 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. And I’m actually glad you got to hear her talk about ballet and facetime and Dolly Parton, because there’s something that, too often, gets left out of these stories, and that’s joy. While opponents of trans rights will say these kids are either a menace or brainwashed, their defenders will often gravitate toward the same sad statistics I’ve shown you tonight, of depression and suicide. And while that’s understandable on one level — it’s the most devastating harm that can be inflicted by these bills — -it’s not the whole story, which is that, 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’s something that we’re putting on them. You just saw, who’s suing his state a-g, will point out — he’s got other, teenage-boy stuff going on, too.

I’m 15. I shouldn’t have to do this. I have-shouldn’t have to sue the state of Arkansas because they are trying to tell me how I can and can’t live. And my collection of hats and my trans flag that I got for Christmas.

This soft-spoken teenager is more comfortable in his bedroom.

He’s a bearded dragon. Come here.

Surrounded by his fish and bearded dragon lizards.

And so he’s got a missing foot and a crooked tail. And, you know, he’s just-he needed an extra bit of love.

John: Yeah, Dylan should get to be a kid. And spend his time with his collection of hats and feeding his bearded dragons. Whatever it is that bearded dragons eat. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never owned a bearded dragon. Although I’d probably get along great with that one because I, too, am a love-starved pale creature with a lopsided ass. All the kids we’ve seen tonight shouldn’t need to be activists — they should get to dress how they want, go to the right bathroom for them and play the sports they want to play. Remember Mack? When he got to college, he was placed on the men’s wrestling team, and look how happy that made him:

All I ever wanted to do was wrestle men, and now that I am, it’s freakin’ dope. It’s freakin’ dope.

John: Yeah. It is freakin’ dope. Do you see that joy? Hold it in your mind going forward. Not because the road ahead isn’t rough, but because, as the trans actress Michaela Jae Rodriguez points out, it’s important not to lose sight of what’s at the end of it.

When it comes to legislatives and-and laws being passed, we have to constantly stay diligent and make sure that they don’t get passed and call up as much as we can, but I think also while doing so we have to live our lives, and show people how happy we are. We can’t live in the sorrow, though there’s many struggles when it comes to us. In the times of adversity and in the times of despair, I choose hope and joy, and I let those shower all over those haters and people who don’t see it fit for us. And it usually wins. It has won.

John: Exactly. Hope and joy are crucial. They’re the fuel that powers the ongoing fight for equality. And while there’s a lot of fear and uncertainty right now, it’s worth remembering that progress — while not always linear — is always possible. Because we’re working toward the goal of every trans kid knowing they are loved, valued, and indispensable, as Dolly-Parton-loving, weird-pet-owning, freaking dope individuals, and never going back to a point where anyone feels that, if they appear on TV, they have to hide behind a fucking plant.

That’s our show. Thanks so much for watching. We are off next week. Back October 30th. Good night.

[Cheers and applause]

♪ ♪


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More

Weekly Magazine

Get the best articles once a week directly to your inbox!