When Caitlyn Jenner made her Vanity Fair debut, there was a massive outpouring of support and praise for her bravery and self-acceptance. There were also bigots. But then came a third group, the “who cares” crowd. The one aspect of the internet I confront every day and can never understand. If you truly don’t care about something, why take the time to tell the world?
Some people just didn’t see why what a Kardashian was doing mattered, even when it does. Historically. Between this, the rise in the discussion of transgender rights, and the nationwide legalization of marriage equality, we’ve made some great strides. But hold up, because we’re still in a place where many think it’s cool to casually ask trans people what’s in their undies.
On Last Week Tonight, Pajiba 10 contender John Oliver has something to say about that. And we suspect you know someone who could be made a better (read: less socially oblivious) person for seeing this:
Relevant bits for those of you who can’t spend 16 minutes straight avoiding your job right now:
-“Transgender people have a gender identity that differs from the one they were assigned at birth. And 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!”
-If we can survive all the name changes of Puff Daddy (who we don’t even like) we can figure out the courtesies of calling trans people by the pronouns they prefer. Don’t call anyone “it.” Ever.
-Nearly 700,000 American adults identify as transgender. That’s more than the population of Boston. So if you don’t know a trans person, you may well in your lifetime.
-Despite a lot of good news, trans people still face some really grim statistics. 41% attempt suicide. They are four times more likely to make less than $10,000 a year compared to the general population. Trans kids in school are far more likely to experience harassment, physical assault and sexual violence. Transgender troops cannot enlist in the military. Yet many are in the armed forces (15,500 of them), and could be fired over it. And in many places trans people can’t even use the bathrooms they’d prefer without risking a $25k fine.
Basically, we—as a society—are still learning how to be respectful of the trans community. But praising trans people for their courage, and then yelling “not in my backyard/bathroom/army” is hypocritical and shitty. And we—as a country—need to fucking knock it off.
Kristy Puchko lives in
perpetual fear that ice cream will become self-aware New York City.