July 23, 2014

Dan Savage Is A Gay Idiot: OOPS He Did It Again

Sex columnist Dan Savage
I’m a gay man and I’m almost 50. I watched my peers when I was a very young adult fuck themselves to death. 
 
Dan Savage --- Death, Sex & Money Podcast

By Roy Steele

I really don’t know what to think of Dan Savage. I think that his heart is in the right place mostly, and that largely he’s been a good ambassador for the LGBT movement. He’s handsome, smart and articulate. He doesn’t shy away from verbal tussles, and he’s not afraid to call out religious hypocrisy when he sees it. Those are all pluses in my book.

Dan’s take down of Rick ‘Sicko’ Santorum is legendary, and that action alone will hold a special place in my heart forever.

Then there’s the controversy that seems to follow him everywhere. He has a habit of opening mouth and inserting his own foot fairly often, and that’s where he gets a big fat demerit.


I became aware of Dan Savage a few years ago, in connection with his “It Gets Better” campaign. Dan is a published author, a syndicated sex columnist, podcaster, and the editorial director of the Seattle Stranger, an alternative weekly newspaper in Seattle, Washington.

In addition to all that, he also travels the country visiting college campuses, to promote the “It Gets Better” campaign, and to speak to students about sex, love, and relationships. It seems that he gets paid a hefty $25,000 per speaking engagement.

One thing I can’t get my head around is the fact that Dan doesn’t have a degree in counselling or sex therapy, or the medical field, and yet he doles out advice as an expert.

Last Fall, Dan was hired to be the keynote speaker for Pride Week, at the University of Utah for $25,000. Over 200 students signed a petition asking him to forgo his fee, and donate it to a scholarship fund that would benefit queer students.

The students wrote:
Due to Dan Savage’s transphobic, biphobic, and ableist opinions and remarks, we cannot simply accept him as a “key” representation of our community. Dan Savage is not representational of the basic values of Queer solidarity such as inclusion and acceptance. 
The most discomforting reality for us is that Dan Savage is seen as a strong voice within a movement that is often misrepresented, commoditized, and mocked within our social consciousness which he participates in through the guise of “comedy.” 
We feel that the “It Gets Better” campaign does not enable direct action, or the larger idea of creating safer and more equal communities, rather it falsely assures vulnerable Queer individuals, mostly targeting youth, that things will just “get better” without action.
Smart kids! I’m not going to get into the charge that Dan is transphobic, biphobic, or ableist. Others far more qualified than I have addressed those issues in the past, and I don’t want to rehash that here.

Most people are unaware that Dan Savage is a controversial figure within the gay community, as well as outside the gay community, and I’ve written about that before.
Dan “It Gets Better” Savage, the telegenic musical theatre buff,  and sex-advice columnist, seems to be more like a ‘substitute’ leader, than an actual LGBT spokesperson. After declaring that he’d be happy to “hate fuck” Senator Santorum, on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, and mentioning the ‘santorum’ that would be a by-product, he also said he wished all Republicans were dead. 
I have to admit, when I watched the show, I wasn’t sure that I’d heard right. I paused and rewound, and he did say it. While he apologized in his column, there are many viewers that will never read his blog. Republican agitators are already in an uproar about it, and that’s the kind of attention we don’t really need.
Well he did it again, and it’s really getting tiresome.

University of Utah students protest Dan Savage's appearance

Dan was a guest on the “Death, Sex & Money” podcast, hosted by Anna Sale. The podcast is produced by WNYC, the public radio station in New York City. The “Death, Sex & Money” website says that it’s a “podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation. Host Anna Sale talks to celebrities you’ve heard of—and regular people you haven’t—about the Big Stuff: relationships, money, family, work and making it all count while we’re here.”

The title of this week’s podcast is “Dan Savage Says Cheating Happens. And That’s OK.”
Anna Sale: For more than 20 years now, he’s been answering sex advice questions. In graphic detail, with a gleeful dirtiness. So yes, this episode includes saltier language than usual.
A lot of the questions are about what’s a deal-breaker, and what’s worth working through. Particularly around infidelity and monogamy.  
Dan Savage: And gay people— we do know more about sex. We have more sex, we’re better at it, because we have to communicate with each other in a way that straight people don’t. You know, when an opposite sex couple, a boy and a girl, when they get to consent, when they get to yes, we are going to have sex -- and they stop talking to each other. They stop communicating, and negotiating. When two dudes get to yes, it’s the beginning of the negotiations -- it’s the beginning of another conversation.
In a discussion with the host about monogamy, this allegedly ‘sex positive’ sex advice columnist said:
Dan Savage: I’m a gay man and I’m almost 50. I watched my peers when I was a very young adult fuck themselves to death. I was there for that. There’s a price to untrammeled promiscuity and sexual adventuring. An emotional and a physical price. But there’s a balance that needs to be struck.
I listened to the podcast, and then sought out the transcript. As is the habit when I see Dan on television, or listen to him via radio or a podcast, I find that some things that he says are shocking and incredulous. Then I rewind the media, to see if I heard correctly.

I listened to it twice, and I read those words over and over, to see if I could come to a different conclusion or interpretation.

Dan Savage believes that gay men fucked themselves to death, and he’s perfectly comfortable demonizing and denigrating those who are HIV positive. He thinks that if you’re too promiscuous, you’re going to get AIDS and die. That price we pay for what he characterizes as “untrammeled promiscuity and sexual adventuring,” is AIDS and a certain death.

His ill advised statement is consistent with what he’s said in the past. In a 2011 interview he said the same thing.
Straight people need to have more sex, and more sex partners, than they do. Gay people need to have fewer sex partners than we can. There’s a balance. We need to find it.
His line of thinking is synonymous with what right-wingers say about the gay community. Right-wing extremists think that AIDS is God’s retribution for being gay.

They are both wrong.

Dan Savage is NOT a spokesman for the gay community at all, despite the efforts of media organizations, to elevate him to that post. I’m sure that he likes his position, because it sells his books and supports his lifestyle, with the large speaking fees he commands.

Dan’s remarks are self serving, hyperbolic, and they stigmatize people living with HIV.

At a time when the US Department of Justice is encouraging states to reform their laws that criminalize HIV, in order to align laws with scientifically supported factors, ignorant comments like that hurt our community.

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people, and those with HIV.

Lambda Legal reports that “almost thirty years after the first cases of infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were reported, ignorance and fear about HIV and bias against people affected by HIV continue to fuel stigma and discrimination in this country. Individuals living with HIV have been detrimentally affected in every aspect of life, including experiencing denial and termination of employment; denial of needed medical care; loss of insurance coverage; erosion of social support networks; eviction from homes; disruption of family relationships; social isolation; depression; unwarranted criminal prosecution; and excessive criminal sentences.”

They produced an evidence based report on the stigma and discrimination that those with HIV experience today, and that can be found here.

In an article about Dan’s 2013 speech at the University of Utah, written by Anna Drysdale for the Daily Utah Chronicle, she noted that Dan was surprised that gay students were protesting his speech.
A swarm of students armed with posters gathered on the side of the Union Ballroom Wednesday night to protest the selection of the keynote speaker for LGBT Pride Week.
Savage often draws crowds of both fans and protesters, so he was not surprised by the student protesters on the edge of the Union Ballroom, though he didn’t expect them to be LGBT advocates.
“Sometimes there are protests, sometimes they are the conservative and the religious groups, which is frankly what I expected in Utah,” Savage said during his lecture.
He added that he had no agenda coming to the U and that he had already apologized for many of the quotes cited by the student protesters and that many were taken out of context.
He already apologized for the bad things he’s said, and like any good Republican politician claims, his remarks were “taken out of context.”

Dan says that he’s a gay man and almost fifty, and I think that it’s time he started acting like a grown gay man.
straight talk in a queer world            jiveinthe415.com

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