Image by Josh Rodriguez/Creative Commons
Asexual people should stay at home. Bisexual people are not worth trying to settle down with. Sh*male. Tr*nny. These are all things said by renown activist Dan Savage.
Dan Savage is a well-known gay man in the queer community. He is the author of a sex advice column “Savage Love” and the creator of the It Gets Better Foundation which uses celebrities and activists to record video messages with the phrase “it gets better” for bullied queer youth. While he is known for his advocacy in the queer community, many activists and communities have been fighting against his ignorance and insensitivity towards marginalized queer identities for years.
The asexual community has repeatedly spoken against Dan Savage, especially after his involvement in the documentary (A)sexual. In the film, he states:
“Well it’s funny to think about, you’ve got the gays marching for the right to be cocksucking homosexuals, and then you have the asexuals marching for the right to not do anything. Which is hilarious. Like, you didn’t need to march for that right. You just need to stay home, not do anything.”
“Transpobic people should not be leaders in the LGBT community. Bi-phobic people should not be leaders in LGBT community. Ace-phobic people should not be leaders in LGBT community.“
During the summer, Savage spoke at the University of Chicago where he repeatedly used the word “tr*nny” in an effort to reclaim the word. After a student spoke out against the use of the word, they left the event and started a petition to prohibit the use of transphobic slurs on campus. The university has not condoned Savage or his use of the word because it was not directed at someone.
“The tr*nny activists are going to jump down my throat for this, but… it seems to me that your ex could’ve put off the sex change until after his son was out of high school… Perhaps I’m a transphobic bigot, but I honestly think waiting a measly 36 months to cut your dick is a sacrifice any father should be willing to make for his 15-year-old son.”
In an interview with Gawker in 2013, Savage was asked why people believe he is transphobic. His response clarified exactly what type of person he is:
“There was this moment where “tr*nny”—that word—was reclassified as a hate term on a par with the N word and then retroactively all usage was ratcheted up to anti trans hate speech. We all know more about trans issues than 20 years ago. I’m not trans phobic. It’s hard to prove that you’re not transphobic. It’s like the “When did you stop beating your wife?” question again. I had Buck Angel and Kate Bornstein giving advice on my podcast for 20 years. If I’m the enemy of trans people, then they’re in trouble. What are the Keith Ablows of the world if I’m Adolf Hitler?”
But the t-word is not the only slur Savage uses. In Savage Love, a writer had an affair with a trans sex worker and did not like it. Savage’s response is that he should not worry because gay men will not be with trans sex workers so he can still call himself straight:
“…going down on a sh*male escort shores up your heterosexual bona fides. Gay guys don’t frequent and/or fellate sh*male escorts (on purpose or by accident); getting with shemales is an entirely straight-male pursuit.”
The trans and asexual community are not the only groups that Savage does not care about insulting. Repeatedly, Savage has been accused of biphobia. Multiple times in his columns he has made statements like the following:
“Sorry, but avoiding bi guys is a good rule of thumb for gay men looking for long-term relationships…I’m not saying bi guys are bad people, or they don’t make great one-night stands. Bushes, bathhouses, and sleazy gay bars are crawling with bi guys. But if a guy wants more, he’ll have an easier time getting it from another gay man.”
Savage continues to perpetuate the idea that bisexual individuals cannot be trusted since they are attracted to more than one gender identity. This is harmful for the bisexual community and forces many people to stay in the closet out of shame and fear.
Transpobic people should not be leaders in the LGBT community. Bi-phobic people should not be leaders in LGBT community. Ace-phobic people should not be leaders in LGBT community.
Dan Savage is not a person that should be a major voice for gay men. People who support Savage needs to re-evaluate his perceptions of his own community and issue sincere apology to all of the people that his words and actions have offended.