John Oliver returned for another episode of Last Week Tonight, this time slamming HBO’s House of the Dragon. The comedian took a jab at the dark scenes in the Game of Thrones spinoff, which have proven to be divisive among viewers.

While the topic was transgender rights and a young girl expressing her dissatisfaction with the school’s bathroom situation, Oliver attempted to lighten the mood by making fun of the HBO fantasy series.

“That’s brutal,” Oliver exclaimed. “It’s so dark it’s genuinely hard to watch, which, coincidentally, would also be a pretty accurate tagline for House of the Dragon,” Oliver added.

After the airing of episode 7 of House of the Dragon, many complained about how dark some scenes were. The episodes appeared to have been recorded during the day but were darkened in post-production to make it appear it was evening. 

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Later in the segment, Oliver dug deeper into trans rights in the US and discussed gender-affirming care or care that is designed to affirm a person’s gender identity -“To hear some describe it, as soon as a youngster declares themselves to be trans, there is a quick, irrevocable surgical choice performed, and there really isn’t,” Oliver stated.

For many, gender-affirming care entails more of a social transition, such as having a new haircut or being addressed by a new name, Oliver explained, “since prepubescent children are not eligible for medical interventions. Additionally, some families might think about puberty blockers.”

Oliver pointed out that if the medication is stopped, puberty will return.

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The Sunday episode of John Oliver was devoted to dissecting and dispelling the avalanche of myths and scare tactics surrounding transgender rights in America.

Oliver began by saying that “In the past few years, some on the right have truly lost their minds about trans rights,” before cutting to a sequence of videos in which American politicians make fun of the concept of pronouns.

A record amount of anti-transgender laws would be passed in America this year, Oliver said, looking beyond the public figures who are “stoking fear” about trans rights (part of the ongoing unfair, unfavourable press coverage trans people endure).

“So much of the fear of and opposition to transgender people appears to stem from misinformation and misunderstanding,” he said.

The host showed clips from the VICE documentary Transgender in Texas and Hulu’s Changing the Game, which featured trans kids fighting for the right to participate in sports.

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“When trans kids are supported, they can live full, vibrant lives,” Oliver says. “Trans people are not inherently unhappier or more vulnerable to suffering than anyone else. That is something we are imposing on them.”

Oliver also investigated gender-affirming care, which, according to Columbia University, “greatly improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender diverse, transgender, and nonbinary children and adolescents.” The fact that you seem to genuinely believe that’s happening is just heartbreakingly stupid,” Oliver says of hoaxes such as false claims about kids identifying as cats.

His parting words were – “To the extent that some young people are just exploring their gender identity, how exactly is that a bad thing?” he stated, “who the fuck are they hurting?”