Savage on gay marriage, fatherhood and what’s next
SEATTLE — Seattleite Dan Savage is perhaps the most popular sex and relationship advice columnist in America. He’s outspoken on just about every topic, and that gets people talking.
His new book is American Savage, where he reflects on many of the social and political issues of our time, including the rapid change that is taking place on the issue of gay marriage.
Here are some excerpts from his interview:
Dan: “We’re reaching a tipping point culturally. The example I always like to give is really weird. I was a very strange child once upon a time. I would watch “Firing Line,” William Buckley’s show on PBS with my father when I was like 7. And I remember a time when you could go on TV and argue against integration, argue against interracial marriage, say just blatantly, what would be considered a blatantly racist thing, and that was considered a respectable political position. You would be welcome back next week to continue arguing that position. And then one day on those issues we just kind of reached a cultural tipping point. That was no longer fit for public consumption. We reached kind of a cultural consensus about racial discrimination being wrong. And we are reaching that same cultural consensus, it feels, now about the rights and the humanity of LGBT people, which is why we are seeing this acceleration. And all of that stems from gay people and lesbian people and bisexual people and transgendered people being out to their families.”
Adoption and Fatherhood
(15 years ago Savage and his partner Terry Miller adopted a newborn and became role models for many other gay and lesbian couples to do the same.)
C.R. What’s it like for him having not just Dan Savage, I mean, he’s got two gay dads, and he’s running around as a fifteen year old with a bunch of other kids?
Dan: 15 year old straight kid! So, to all those people who think that, you know, we were told, a lot of people opposed adoptions by gay couples, that out kids would grow up to be gay, as if gay is a bad thing to grow up to be, which I don’t think it is. But that’s not the way it works. It’s not how it works. You know, if that was how it works, how did D.J., our son, who has me, the loudest mouth fag in the country as a dad, and Terry who is like a gay dj [disc jockey], how did he manage to scrap together heterosexuality in our oppressive gay environment? Probably because it’s innate and you are born straight or are born gay.
Dan: I don’t know, continue to run my mouth and argue! An advice column is just such a sweet gig. I’m going to be like Ann Landers. They will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands. I’ll be writing that column til the day I drop, at her desk.
C.R.: You bought her desk at one point.
Dan: I bought Ann Landers desk. It’s in my office at The Stranger. I write my sex advice column at the same desk where Ann Landers wrote her column for 40 years. It’s really a privilege and an honor to get these emails everyday from people who just open up to you about their problems and their sexual interest and frustrations and they want your help. And who doesn’t like to think and write and talk about sex? Most people do it for free and I get paid to do it, and that’s awesome and I’m never going to stop.