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Seattle’s Dan Savage

Seattleite Dan Savage is arguably the most popular sex and relationship advice columnist in America.  He’s outspoken on just about every topic, but he’s always entertaining and thought-provoking.

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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:

Gay Marriage

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.

What’s next?

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.

SEATTLE — Seattleite Dan Savage is arguably the most popular sex and relationship advice columnist in America.  He’s outspoken on just about every topic, but he’s always entertaining and thought-provoking.

savageIn his new book, “American Savage”, he writes about a number of social and relationship issues.

Here are some extended excerpts from the interview with Q13 FOX News:

On marital infidelity:

“There are circumstances over the multi-decade course of a truly long-term relationship, and in that time sex becomes less and less important.  It becomes more of a partnership, parents, family, property, community, status, really all these things are also a part of marriage.  And, you know, if one person is completely done with sex and the other person is not done with sex, what do advise people to do in that circumstance?  Divorce?  Traumatize the children?  Perhaps leave one partner in the lurch if that partner is dependent economically, or for health insurance on the other.  I look at that and I say, you know, do what you need to do to stay married and stay sane.  And maybe that involves cheating, but as the lesser of two evils. Divorce is an evil. Cheating is an evil. There are circumstances which cheating is the lesser evil.”

On being called “sex-centric”:

“I’m not sex-centric.  I look at a marriage, and I see a loving bond, a commitment, a shared history.  I see children, I see property.  I see two families that were blended together, all of their relatives now identifying with each other also as family.  I look at that and I say, all of that should outweigh an infidelity.  All of that should be given more weight than one accidental evening in a hotel on a business trip.  It’s the people who say that this explodes all of this who put too much emphasis on sex.  They’re overvaluing sex.  I’m undervaluing sex.  I’m saying sex is less important than everything else a marriage is about.”

On his anti-Bible comments:

The heat in the reaction to my comments about the Bible exist in direct proportion to how I’ve nailed it.  You have these people waving the Old Testament in our faces, the clobber passages from Leviticus that gay people should be put to death.  Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve is an Old Testament reference.  And yet there is all this other stuff in the Old Testament that they ignore.  All these other things that are also abominations.  A girl who is not a virgin on her wedding night should be dragged to her father’s doorstep and stoned to death.  Why don’t we hear about that?  How come the clobber passages in Old Testament about gay people are still in force, but all the clobber passages in the Old Testament about heterosexual conduct are no longer operative?  And when you say that to people who are literally citing Leviticus and screaming it in your face, it makes them very upset when you call them on it.  And when they say the Bible is the inerrant word of God and then you say, well, slavery, the Bible got slavery wrong.  The easiest moral question humanity has ever faced, as Sam Harris writes in letter to a Christian nation, the Bible got it wrong.  They got something as obvious and as easy as slavery wrong.  What are the odds that it got human sexuality wrong?  About a thousand percent I’d say.”

On whether he ever had an “IT GETS BETTER” inspiration:

“I was in line in a movie theater when I was, I don’t know, 11 or 12 years old, already very self-conscious about how different I was, but not having a name for it, not really understanding it.  And there were two men in front of us, 1976, Logan’s Run, Water Tower Place (Chicago), that’s how much I remember it.  Two men ahead of us in line who were holding hands, two young gay men.  And I saw them and my mother pulled me toward her, not my other siblings, just me, and looked at my father and said, Those men are weird.  And looked at them and went, oh that’s it, they’re weird like I’m weird, I get it.  And they looked happy, and I thought, I’ll be OK, because look at them….It stuck with my all of my life.  Makes me cry when I think about it.  The bravery of those guys, you know, to be openly gay guys in Water Tower place in the north side of Chicago in 1976, holding hands at the movies, that was risky and that sent a message that like hit me when I was 12.  It didn’t make me gay, I was already gay.  But it made me realize that I would grow up and I would find love and that was a possibility for me.”