America made great strides last week by legalizing same-sex marriage, but as John Oliver pointed out last night, there's still plenty of work to be done for the transgender community. Ignorant Americans, even some well-known media "professionals", continue to struggle with how to address transgender individuals, even going so far as to ask them inappropriate questions on national television.
I thought we all learned in high school that teaching history is important so that we aren't doomed to repeat it. We've seen the civil rights movement, the women's rights movement, the gay rights movement, and while there are still very real struggles for each of these communities, it appears that the defining purpose of each movement, equality, is still lost on plenty of Americans.
Why is it so difficult to grasp that you can't ask a transgender individual what they look like under their clothes on national TV? You would never propose that question to a cisgender guest.
This past year, transgender individuals have been much more prevalent in the media, with Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox becoming well-known names, but it's obvious that there's plenty left to do in providing them basic human rights. The 700,000 individuals in America that identify as transgender also identify as Americans, and because of that, they should be awarded the same human rights as everyone else.
An important step in providing these rights is simply educating Americans about what it means to be transgender. John Oliver does everyone a favor and differentiates between gender identity and sexual orientation, but I think the most important thing he does is point out that what any person chooses to do with their body is
"none of your fucking business."