Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Transgender Rights II
October 17, 2022 9:29 AM - Season 9, Episode 26 - Subscribe

This week.... Russia's forces, under the direction of General Sergey "Armageddon" Surovikin, strike back at Ukraine for destroying the Crimea Bridge by firing missiles at Ukrainian cities. And Now: More Electrifying Small Talk From San Antonio's "Daytime With Kimberly & Esteban." Main story: the struggle for transgender rights, and Republican efforts to use it to drive supporters to the polls, often using ridiculous exaggerations or outright lies to do so (as is their standard practice). On Youtube (27 minutes). Last Week Tonight is off next week.

Some advice: if you're like me, and when you watch Last Week Tonight you suffer from pain from your eyes rolling up with great force whenever they present one of the dozen or so clips of Republican commentators saying astoundingly stupid things each week, the HBO Max web page offers a button that skips you ahead 15 seconds. Please, do your poor eyeballs a favor and make use of it today.

What constitutes gender affirming care in the US? This list is transcribed mostly from the episode, and is included here just to have to available in text form:

- Up to the age of eight, it's purely social, because prepubescent children are not eligible for medical intervention.
- At the onset of puberty, an adolescent and their family may consider puberty blockers, treatments that delay the onset of puberty. If that treatment ends, then puberty will resume. It is reversible.
- The next step after that is usually hormone therapy, which boosts levels of testosterone or estrogen. It is not experimental. For some there may be medical risks involved; there are informed decisions to be made there.
- Some teens may be eligible for surgery, depending on the situation, but only after medical professionals discuss the risks and benefits with the patient and their parents or guardians. It's a long and involved process that is very expensive, which is why low income families are much less able to access it.
posted by JHarris (6 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Haven't watched yet, but just wanted to say thanks for posting these so faithfully!
posted by mochapickle at 10:32 AM on October 17, 2022 [3 favorites]

I appreciated the emphasis on joy (also guards for school bathrooms? wtf!) as a response and a goal. That was a strong note to end on.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:32 PM on October 17, 2022 [7 favorites]

The whole goblin shark joke took away from a really beautiful moment, but otherwise I really appreciated that's he's using his megaphone to help trans folks. Hopefully, this will keep go-along lefties from throwing us under the bus when the time comes. Maybe some of them will learn how to be a good ally from this demonstration.
posted by kokaku at 6:02 AM on October 18, 2022 [5 favorites]

My child was counseled extensively that starting estrogen might make her unable to keep making sperm and thus impact her ability to have biological children. She was offered the chance (for a fee) to have her sperm stored prior to treatment. She refused.

I did struggle slightly trying to imagine making that choice at 14. But, she has to live in her body and her ability to create a child is not important to me at all, next to her well-being. She has other options if she wants to parent someday.

But this is exactly the kind of difficult, sensitive and personal decision that antitrans people seize on as evidence of a child being "mutilated." What they don't talk about is how my usually silent and serious-faced child beams when she's called ma'am or she by others. How much she loves hanging out with other trans kids. How unwavering she's been since she came out. How much this is her decision. How kids deserve the right to decide who they are. Even at 14.

It strikes me how this weirdness around gender, kids, and their sexual organs is similar to the hysteria over HPV vaccines, teen access to sex information, contraception and abortion, and just in general the ways we treat kids like property to be used and not people to be supported.
posted by emjaybee at 7:38 PM on October 18, 2022 [10 favorites]

FWIW I interpreted the goblin shark joke as being primarily intended for Kai and other kids that JO knows are going to watch this episode / segment -- I didn't find it super funny, but I bet kids would.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:25 AM on October 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah – I agree that the swerve from serious moment to comedy and back felt more severe this episode. But on balance, it was the message that we need to see from more allies. The joy that was shared at the end? Whew, I felt that!

JO was definitely the person to help eviscerate the so-called arguments against trans rights. But I appreciated in this episode (as with others) he lifted up the voices of the kids who were impacted, and are impacted, by adults trying to score points and control people's bodies.
posted by hijinx at 12:59 PM on October 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

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