Why We Don’t Need Dan Savage



Quick Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are not affiliated with Andrew Marin or the Marin Foundation. These are expressly my own words.


The other day, popular Gay Rights advocate Dan Savage, wrote a review of Jeff Chu’s book in the New York Times, but, as in everything that Dan Savage does, he made it primarily about himself.


Savage is an atheist with an incredibly myopic view of Christianity. In his eyes, every denomination in America is best friends with the Westboro Baptists. Who is to say what brought him to this place of atheism? (although, there are a lot of likely reasons, including Fundamentalist Christians). Someone who is NOT a fundamentalist Christian, someone I consider a good friend, Andrew Marin, was one of the targets of Savage’s awful awful review of Chu’s book. His ongoing hatred for Andrew and the Marin Foundation reached a new low in this article, a grossly inaccurate article.


He [Chu] gives an approving nod to the sneakily homophobic Marin Foundation, an evangelical group that shows up at gay pride parades holding signs that say, “We’re sorry!” and offering hugs to paradegoers who have been harmed by religion. But Andrew Marin, the group’s founder and public face, has urged his followers to target Christian teenagers struggling with “same-sex attraction” because they’re easier to talk out of being gay. Marin has refused to say that gay sex isn’t a sin, and he seems to believe that gay people can change their sexual orientation. The more you learn about the Marin Foundation, the more it looks like Westboro Baptist in the drag of false contrition: God hates you — now with hugs! Chu blasts M.C.C., but Marin gets a pass.


K- first off, Andrew as Fred Phelps??? Savage should have already lost you with that statement. Andrew and the Marin Foundation couldn’t have more daylight between Westboro than they already do. Andrew has lived and worked in the heart of the gay community for over a decade of his life. People on his staff are gay. He goes to gay bars with his friends. I am baffled by this assertion.


Andrew has already explained the part about “targeting” teenagers as an error on his part. He was young, just getting started, still shaking off some of the ugly from his evangelical roots, and for years now he has advocated against ex gay therapy. But, of course, that’s not good enough for Savage. He will play and replay that clip as reason enough to hate Christians, because that is all that seems to drive him.


If you want to read a better explanation for why Andrew has not specifically stated whether same-sex relationships are sinful, read this blog post, or this one that I wrote awhile back.


In the interest of full disclosure, Savage actually has quite the reputation of being incredibly insensitive to the LGBT community… and well, everybody else.




Here’s what he said about bisexual people.


“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.”


Here’s what he said about women that resist their husband’s sexual antics.


“There the guy was, boned for you, and he was brave enough to put his desires out there, to make himself vulnerable (which is what the ladies are always saying they want, right?), and you lobbed the ol’ “What?!?” bomb at him and made him feel like a freak. Is it any wonder that he quickly moved on to “other things” and, one would hope, better sex partners?”


Here’s what he said about survivors of rape.

“I’m extremely sorry that you were raped, DRARS, although your baseless accusations of rape make me doubt you when you claim to be a survivor of rape. The feminist bloggers are going to accuse me of thought crimes: If a woman says she was raped then, by God, she was raped. (Tell it to the lacrosse team.) But if my reaction to your letter is a thought crime, I can only plead entrapment: I wouldn’t have had these illegal thoughts if you hadn’t sent me such a stupid letter in the first place… Finally, DRARS, I hereby withdraw my consent for you to read Savage Love. If you continue to read my column against my will, well, we all know what word to apply to your actions.”


He believes racists are way less of a threat to African Americans than African-American homophobes are to gay people.

I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.


He calls asexuals secret “fags”

“I appreciate the feedback, Stephanie, and I’m sorry I offended you. But… um… I couldn’t help but think, as I read your letter, that your boyfriend is either a fool or a fag. But if it works for you guys—if a romantic relationship devoid of sexual attraction and activity works for you guys—then it works for you guys. Who am I to argue with success?”


Every time Savage says something like this, something stupid and insulting and offensive, it exposes himself as the hypocrite he is. He has the It Gets Better campaign, which has actually done A LOT OF GOOD nationwide in erasing homophobia. Ironically though, it is a campaign about ending bullying.


The It Gets Better campaign was the brain child of Savage, but, it really became its own thing. For instance, Savage is openly hostile to religion, yet there are so many contributions from churches towards the It Gets Better campaign, calling on LGBT youth to join more understanding congregations. You should really check them out, they’re quite encouraging!


And in the weird, wild world of Dan Savage, he is the anti-bullying king, (except, of course, when it comes to Christians of all stripes, transgender, bisexual and asexual people, women, and of course, rape victims.) He is, almost astonishingly, inconsistent with his own ethics.


And the worst part about all of this?

Dan Savage portrays himself as the face of LGBT America.

This militant, snarky, bully, is viewed, by the media, as the face of LGBT America.

But, he’s not.

He is an extremist.

He is an outlier.

As one gay columnist put it in Newsweek, he’s the “gay santorum”.

“This false choice has harmed LGBT people, especially young people, to no end. It has marginalized queer people of faith, stoked the fears of religious people that gay-rights advocates are opposed to religious values, and has led directly to the very bullying that Savage’s “It Gets Better” project has sought to prevent. It’s bad enough when this bullshit, if you will, comes from a religious reactionary. But for it to come from a self-appointed spokesman for the gay community is far worse. It leaves no place for a gay religious person to exist and confirms to gay kids in religious communities that there will be no place for them once they come out. Worse, it mistakenly confirms to their parents and pastors that for a child to be gay means that she or he cannot also be religious.

But the truth is that there are many LGBT people who do not regard the Bible as bullshit. They lead open, affirming, sex-positive, and religious lives in every Christian and Jewish denomination in America. That includes gay evangelicals who are also Biblical literalists, gay Orthodox Jews who are committed to Jewish law, and queers of every religion who refuse the choice that Savage—like Rick Santorum, Focus on the Family, and other messengers of intolerance—insists that they make between God and gay. Our very lives refute Savage’s oversimplifications.”


The reality is, there are so many other, wiser, loving, Godly advocates for LGBT people than Dan Savage.

Like Andrew Marin

And Justin Lee

And Matthew Vines

And Rachel Held Evans

And Tony Jones

And Mel White

And, of course, Macklemore

It is important to speak out about Dan Savage because he has positioned himself as a leader in gay rights. He must be held accountable for his hateful rhetoric, the same way right wing conservatives have to be held accountable for their hateful words. And yet, while most of whatever flings from Savage’s mouth makes my stomach turn, I have to remind myself, through gritted teeth and rolling eyes, that he too is beloved by God. He is.





PS: What do YOU think?

Am I off base here?