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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Glitter, Transphobia, and Hate Speech

Posted by on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 7:55 AM

So my gay ass—already pretty sparkly—got glitterbombed at the University of California at Irvine last Monday. This went up on Bilerico yesterday:

According to my source at the event, Savage was in the middle of answering a question from a student who was wondering if her boyfriend was a freak because he watched porn featuring trans women. Savage suggested that her boyfriend was a freak, while freely using the terms "shemale" and "freaky tranny porn." That is when two individuals ran up and threw glitter on him yelling "Transphobe!"

So: a "source" says that I stood on a stage at UCI and "freely" tossed the word "shemale" and the phrase "freaky tranny porn" around and called someone who was into trans porn—and presumably attracted to trans people—a "freak," comments which inspired two "individuals" to run up and toss glitter at me. Now there's a Change.org petition—I've already signed it, won't you?—scolding me for my use of "trans-phobic language" and demanding that I apologize for being a such naughty cissy.

The folks who've signed the petition—most with their hearts in the right place—have been misled.

Here's what went down: I was doing a "Savage Love Live" Q&A at UCI. People submit questions anonymously, just like they would for a regular column, using whatever language or terminology they're comfortable with. I read their questions aloud—verbatim—and offer some on-the-fly advice. Here's the complete transcript of my "transphobic" comments at UCI (the italics indicate when I'm reading the anonymously submitted question):

DAN: [READING FROM CARD] My boyfriend is straight but he enjoys anal sex and he asks me to make love to him in his butt all the time. [ASIDE:] You have no one to blame but yourself. [READING FROM CARD] Also, he likes watching she-male porn. Could you tell me why he is acting like this? [ANSWER:] Um, I'm gunna go out on a limb here and say it's because he likes shemale porn and he enjoys anal stimulation. He's acting like this because he's a very freaky boy. If you're into him, and you're willing to go there for him, there are a lot of straight guys who are into transexual sex-workers, transexual porn, she-males for lack of a better term, although some people think that's very offensive—

It was at that moment—just as I was beginning to address the problem with the term "shemale"—that I was glitterbombed.

I did say "shemale." I read the question as-written, repeated the term in my response, and then used "transexual" in place of "shemale" ("transexual sex-worker," "transexual porn"), modeling the use of less offensive terms, before circling back to "shemale" in order to unpack why some find it offensive. I never used the phrase "freaky tranny porn." I never said the word "tranny" at UCI at all; indeed, I've made a conscious effort to stop using "tranny" after the memo went out last year declaring the word an off-limits "hate term." (Mike Signorile wrote a good post about the rapidly changing take on the word "tranny" here.)

As for "freaky boy": that boy is a bit of a freak and anyone who reads my column knows that I'm pro-freak, pro-kink, pro-porn, pro-just-about-everything. I'm a freak myself, as I've said numerous times, I married a freak, some of my best friends are freaks. "Freak," in the context of "Savage Love," is a freakin' compliment. More to the point: I didn't tell the girl who asked the question to dump her boyfriend because he enjoys trans porn; indeed, I urged her to keep dating him if she was into him and willing to go there (anal, allowing him to enjoy his porn). And this is nothing new with me: I've long taken the side of people who are trans or attracted to trans folks. Here's a column I wrote about trans issues in 1999. (Try not to get bogged down on the headline, thought policepersons, as columnists don't write their own headlines.) And the advice I was giving to trans/trans-attracted people in 1999 isn't much different from the advice I gave earlier this year. (Is this the kind of advice that a transphobic sex-advice columnist doles out? Is this? Or this?)

Back to what went down at UCI: It's clear from the transcript—and it's clear from the way that my remarks are being actively and maliciously misrepresented—that the people pushing this "Dan Savage is transphobic!" meme are not honest actors. False accusations of engaging in hate speech are themselves a form hate speech—particularly in the hothouse environment of LGBT activism. Any honest reader of my column, like any honest person who attended my Q&A at UCI, knows that not only I am not transphobic, I'm pretty rabidly pro-trans.

Or: If I'm the enemy of trans people everywhere, trans people everywhere could use more enemies like me.

UPDATE: Someone who was at the UCI event describes in his own words what went down in a comment at JMG. The commenter misattributes "freaky tranny porn" to me, based on the Bilerico report, but he gets the rest of the details right.

UPDATE 2: This just in from someone who signed that Change.org petition:

I signed this petition at the request of a trusted friend and, after I signed it, I immediately regretted it after I realized the nature of the petition. Please accept my apologies... I should have been more careful with what I was signing. Thank you for your continued efforts and all that you do. You have been a great influence on my life and those around me.

UPDATE 3: Some folks are slamming trans activists and trans people generally in the comments thread here and on some other blogs. Please don't do that. And for the record: not one of the folks who've glittered me—one at Eugene, three at UCI—is actually trans. I know, right? They've all been "allies" of the trans community. (Allies of? Or embarrassments to?) That self-righteous, attack-your-allies, too-angry-to-listen bug isn't unique to Ts; it's been documented in Ls, Gs, and Bs too. (I myself have succumbed on, oh, one or two occasions.) Also for the record: the day after my talk at UCI, I met and spoke with a trans student—hey there, C—and we had a perfectly delightful, perfectly rational, and mutually enlightening conversation about transphobia, porn, sex, whether "shemale" is ever okay, his coming out process (recent), my coming out process (not so much), and how he needs to stop smoking. (Really, C. Stop smoking.) It was the best conversation I had at UCI, it was a private conversation (it wasn't filmed), and it was with a trans man.

So, non-trans commenters, please don't make generalizations about all trans people based on the actions of a few... non-trans people. [Scroll down: apparently one of the GBers is trans.]

UPDATE 4: More damning evidence of my transphobia emerges! A commenter at JMG:

Dan Savage raises over $5000 (from his largely "straight" readership, mind you) for an African American trans woman's funeral after her murder.

Dan Savage raises over $2000 (from his largely "straight" readership, mind you) for a young trans student kicked out of the same school in Mississippi that Constance McMillan was kicked out of.

Here's his support of a brutally beaten trans woman in Michigan.

Dan Savage raises the remaining needed funds (from his largely "straight" readership, mind you) for trans porn star and acitivist Buck Angel to finish a documentary about his life/work.

Like I said yesterday: If I'm the enemy of trans people everywhere, trans people everywhere could use more enemies like me.

And if I may address this piece of batshittery:

You may notice that Dan Savage managed to get the glitter bombers arrested, which tends to be a particularly dangerous experience for trans people. If cis folk with the privilege not to get so badly harmed once they do inevitably get arrested were willing to do it, more power to them.

I didn't get anyone arrested. There was security at the event—there's always security at television shoots because the presence of TV cameras brings out the crazies—and campus police officers went looking for the GBers while I was briefly backstage getting de-glittered. I went back on stage and continued with the talk. I didn't know that someone had been arrested until the talk was over 90 minutes later when the police came backstage and told me they had caught one of the people who "assaulted" me. I laughed when they said "assaulted" because, you know, we were talking about glitter. The cops asked if I wanted to press charges, I said no, and I asked them not to hassle the GBer they'd nabbed. I've had no further contact with the police.

And this is my favorite comment:

Savage is so addicted to attention and also seems to have such few scruples that I wouldn't be surprised if he hired this last group of glitter-bombers to do what they did just so he could play the victim and also create this post with impunity. I would not put such behavior past him. Its already been revealed they were not transwomen.

I glittered myself! And the GBers weren't brave cis folks putting their privileged bodies on the line in defense of their trans allies! They were working for me! And I had one of them arrested!

UPDATE 5: Oh, right—the glass jar.

I was at the Eugene, OR filming. I hope this doesn't upset some of you.

I think DSWC is a bio female, and straight. My friends know her, and while they have gone to pains to say she is an ally of the LGBT community, she was wrong here. She has been known to be an ally in LGBT causes before, and is well liked. But this is really unfair to Mr. Savage.

I don't remember enough about the Eugene, OR speech to say whether Dan had said anything that night to deserve the glitter bomb. I do remember it happened early and she yelled something about being a rape apologist. The thing I find really bad on her part is that she threw the large heavy glass container at his head after she threw the glitter. It made a very loud "clunk" when it hit the floor that could be heard throughout the auditorium. After the talk some other students looked and there was a dent in the stage floor where it hit. It barely missed Mr. Savage's head. If it would have hit him, she could have done serious damage to him. A concussion or worse. She doesn't seem to be showing any shame on the blog post that this author, has linked to, but this was seriously dangerous.

Just as the witness from the other school commented, once Mr. Savage was cleaned he went on with his conversation and we all laughed, groaned, blushed and had a really good time. Dan spent a few minutes talking about trans issues as well. All very sex positive.

Just thought you all should know. Someone out there is not telling the truth. Whether it is DSWC or the author of this post.

If I hadn't have ducked, or if I didn't see it coming (which I might not have, what with glitter in my eyes and all), that glass jar would've hit me square in the face. As luck would have it, I did see it coming, and was able to dodge it. So there was that too.

UPDATE 6: The Eugene GBer Tweets that she's a trans woman and demands a correction:

eugenegber.jpg

Rose was the GBer who threw the jar at my head but she wasn't the GBer who was arrested; that was one of the GBers at UCI.

UPDATE 7: A reader writes...

I just want to add one more voice to the chorus of sane and reasonable trans folks who respect what you've done for the T in GLBT. I'm a long-time fan of the column/podcast, and I think that queer folks who think that you're the enemy need to get some serious perspective (and I tell the ones I know that, though I doubt they listen). I'm always wary of the "X doesn't speak for ME!" cries, because in most cases no one ever fucking said they did, but it worries me a little to see the reactions in the comments threads and to see people piling on trans folks for the insanity of the glitter bombers—I promise we're not all douchebags!

And of course there's still some room for improvement in how you talk about trans issues, but you know that, and it doesn't detract from all the real and concrete support you give to the community. So, thanks again for all your hard work.

At least glitter isn't much of a punishment for someone of your fabulousness. Glad you ducked the jar.

Wendell

 

Comments (274) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Hawke 1
Dan, I am getting mighty pissed at my own community. Several seem to get their tranny panties in a bunch over any perceived insult. Sorry for the glitter bomb, not all of us trannies thought you deserved it.
Posted by Hawke http://facebook.com/thehawke on November 15, 2011 at 8:00 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
200 comments by 6:00pm Pacific.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 15, 2011 at 8:01 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 3
Shemale shemale shemale shemale shemale.

Grow the fuck up, people. Dan has done more for the alphabet-soup world than just about anybody alive. If that's not good enough for you, maybe you're the one with the problem.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on November 15, 2011 at 8:03 AM · Report this
Vince 4
Cheeses and crackers! They should save their bullshit for their real enemies. Assholes. This is what happens as every fucking word gets banned because somebody is a cry baby.
Posted by Vince on November 15, 2011 at 8:05 AM · Report this
Nutsy 5
Dan, I've been reading your column for 10 years. You're a lot of things, but certainly not transphobic or sexist, as others claim. People who say that need to a) work on their reading comprehension, b) remember who the real enemies are and c) lighten the fuck up once in a while.
Posted by Nutsy on November 15, 2011 at 8:06 AM · Report this
6
"Any honest reader of my column.... knows that I'm not only not transphobic, I'm pro-trans."

As one of those people, yup, I know it's true and therefore I knew that the glitter bombing stories were bullshit. I think it's more a matter of the PC police than the trangender police. I wouldn't read Dan Savage if he was PC.

Just read Tobi Hill-Meyer's response to someone correcting her that Dan was only re-reading the question: http://www.bilerico.com/2011/11/dan_sava… She says then don't quote the question--change the words. Total PC thought police.
Posted by Lumpmoose on November 15, 2011 at 8:07 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 7
And Matt, you're way off. By 6 p.m., it'll be well over 300.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on November 15, 2011 at 8:10 AM · Report this
8
yeah people- cut Danny some slack!

he's the Faggot Al Sharpton;

sure he is a lying bigot sack of shit

butt he's OUR lying bigot sack of shit...
Posted by we luv our little danny, anal warts and all..... on November 15, 2011 at 8:11 AM · Report this
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on November 15, 2011 at 8:13 AM · Report this
10
butt we especially luv all the bitch squealing when the PC police turn their wrath on a HomoLiberal Hero.
we thought you girls said glitterbombing was good clean fun and only uptight pricks got upset about it....
Posted by zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz on November 15, 2011 at 8:15 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 11
@ 7, I've never been much of a gambler. I only take safe bets.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 15, 2011 at 8:15 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 12
Ah. But 300 is a safe bet. We've already got the troll frothing at the mouth. Once SB gets here, it's up, up and away.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on November 15, 2011 at 8:19 AM · Report this
13
That troll responsible for posts 8 and 10 continues to slay me. It's like he sits around waiting for Savage to post something just so he can make up a silly name and continue his crusade. I picture him sitting in a room with no windows, the only light emanating from his computer monitor as he continually refreshes Slog on Internet Explorer. He mutters an awful lot, in my minds eye.
Posted by Bonzer Terriffic on November 15, 2011 at 8:20 AM · Report this
Fnarf 14
Misled. You were misled. Not mislead. Mislead is in the present indicative tense, not the past.

True fact: I was probably 25 before I stopped pronouncing that word "myzlled", and I didn't get caught out until I used IT in the present: "misle". "Don't try and misle me".

Talk about your freaks.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 15, 2011 at 8:20 AM · Report this
kim in portland 15
Having attended one of these, not this specific event, I can confirm that you read the cards exactly as written. I think I heard a variation of this question back then. I can't see why you would do something different this time.

Yes, you sparkle something wonderful as always, Dan. And, I'm glad that it doesn't seem to trouble you. Clearly there are some very wounded feelings amongst our brothers and sisters, though. Can we help with soothing those feelings, is their a better, neutral terms that can be used instead of those one sees in the alt weeklies? I don't think ignoring the complaint will work, glitter bombing may lead to further bombing and/or worse, because they see you as appointing yourself their representative and not listening to them (Read the thread discussions). Maybe using more neutral terms is a way to show them that it gets better for them too?

Take care, Dan. Keep up the good work.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on November 15, 2011 at 8:24 AM · Report this
16
Well, Fnarf, you know how I've always been present-indicative-tense-phobic, right?

Sorry, fixed, thanks.

xo
Posted by Dan Savage on November 15, 2011 at 8:26 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 17
Dear buthurt people glitterbombing Dan,

If you think Dan is your enemy, you're doing it wrong.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on November 15, 2011 at 8:31 AM · Report this
18
15

we give it a ten.....
Posted by Olympic AssKissUp Judge on November 15, 2011 at 8:32 AM · Report this
19
Dan, you're still doing the MTV thing, right? Presumably that means you have a TV crew recording your talks, so am I right in assuming there is video evidence of what actually went down? I don't really doubt your version of events, but I wonder how in a room full of college students and a TV crew, no video could exist? Are you not releasing it to not give them attention, or because MTV wants the footage for themselves?

Frankly I'm very skeptical that this is some group of zealots who actually consider Dan (!!) an enemy of transexuals. This sounds more like pure trolling by the emotionally immature. Just as many "ancarchists" have no fucking clue about actual anarchist philosophy (hint: it does not involve burning down a footlocker) its possible that these are mere hooligans dressed up as LGBT activists because that was the handy label.
Posted by Lynx on November 15, 2011 at 8:33 AM · Report this
20
15

that's a pretty fucking long tedious explanation for someone who is not troubled.

our little Danny is nothing if not prickly......
Posted by Sparkles on November 15, 2011 at 8:35 AM · Report this
21
@15 Dan's not ignoring the complaint but indicating that he's already changed his terminology. The glitter-bombers are confused about how quotations work, thought police or attention whores.

And I wouldn't call them thought police if they merely want people to use more respectful terms. They're thought police if they want to scrub those terms from all language, even if that language is being used to explain why the terms are offensive in the first place, as Dan was doing here.
Posted by Lumpmoose on November 15, 2011 at 8:35 AM · Report this
geoz 22
I like all that you said on this Dan, but one thing. When you say collumnists don't write their own headlines, I blanch a little. I'm sure it is true, but it certainly doesn't have to be true. Is this such a deeply entrenched behavior of the machine that, even though it might degrade your own column, you have no control? Find a pair and fix the problem - which I say with admiration and humility and complete ignorance of the obstacles.
Posted by geoz on November 15, 2011 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Sketch 23
As I was reading the first quote, before I even got to your response, I thought, "This *really* doesn't sound like something Dan would say." I wonder what people are hoping to achieve by claiming enemies where there are none? It's not like they don't have enough actual ones to worry about...

So, is glitter as hard to get rid of as everyone says?
Posted by Sketch on November 15, 2011 at 8:36 AM · Report this
24
@10 I'll admit I thought it was funny when Newt got glitterbombed because he's an asshole. When Tim Pawlenty (a conservative Republican, but by all reports a very nice man) was GBed I didn't approve.

About Dan being glitterbombed, to bad Terry wasn't there to do this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7vhgw2s6…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on November 15, 2011 at 8:37 AM · Report this
25
19

that must be it-

these are college republican pranksters trying to sow discord among the peaceful perverted people......
Posted by ShitterBombed on November 15, 2011 at 8:37 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 26
"This is something that I love, listen I'm about to teach
Every single girl should embrace their inner freaky freak.
Don't be scared, don't be shy, yes you gotta let it be.
I can give instructions if ya like to, like to hear me speak.
Let me see those hand cuffs off
Let me see that leather gear
Kiss him, slap him, pull his hair
Make him yo bitch in here
He wanna see you get down low
He wanna hear you, hear you go
I can be a freak, every day of every week"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rN5XmvRu…
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on November 15, 2011 at 8:37 AM · Report this
27
While I generally like and respect Savage, there is something so hypocritical of his attitudes toward trans people when he himself is part of a community that would have commonly gotten the same reaction twenty years ago (and still does in many places).

Acceptance of difference starts with admitting that other people's lifestyles really don't affect yours, and swallowing your disgust. The parents of straights who say, "He's gay? Whatevs," were saying, "Ick, but it really doesn't affect me."

I don't expect someone who is happy with their gender to understand how someone feels when they aren't in the right body. But no one is going to come at Savage and demand he transition. He has the right to feel disgusted by the process of transitioning, but if he's an evolved person, he swallows that and treats everyone with respect and compassion.
Posted by TickiBicki on November 15, 2011 at 8:40 AM · Report this
28
He's dissed bears as well. A self-described twink wrote to his column saying he's into bears, but he gets ingored by them and asked what he should do. He gave a general, try to make friends with some of them, yadda, yadda, yadda and then ended it with commenting how he doesn't understand why he'd wanna be with fat, smelly guys.

He's a douche.
Posted by PapaBear on November 15, 2011 at 8:41 AM · Report this
29
Dan wasn't being asked for Dan's personal tastes. If the writer above is correct, Dan was being asked about how the other guy should handle his desire for bears when bears do not seem to want him. I am starting to think, as I said before, part of the problem is that there is an audience for his shtick. Dan is entitled to his desires. He's entitled to dump on other people for theirs because its not necessary for him to have said that in this context. It was just gratuitous.
Posted by Your'sInHere on November 15, 2011 at 8:42 AM · Report this
30
UPDATE: Savage just texted me to clarify that the words being objected to were actually used in a question he read from an audience member. In his response to the question, Savage noted that some folks "have trouble" with the terms. He laughed off the incident, adding that he finds the accusations against him and the act of glitter-bombing to be "ridiculous."
Posted by ReDickYouLouse on November 15, 2011 at 8:43 AM · Report this
kim in portland 31
@ Lumpmoose,

Perhaps my reading comprehension stinks, but I got the impression that a good number of those on the Bilerico post think that they are being ignored. The last time I read it there was no acknowledgment by the author that Dan addressed the issue and there was atleast one call for stronger (but not violent) action to get his attention. That was what I was specifically addressing, their thinking that they are being ignored.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on November 15, 2011 at 8:45 AM · Report this
32
How many times is this excuse going to be used?

At the end of the day if you offend people, don't come whining that its ""ridiculous."

By the way, I see this kind of mind set a lot with PARTS (I cap that so I don't hear how I am discussing all) of the gay community a lot. They feel is their right to be as rude as they want to be to anyone else, and not be criticized for it.
Posted by I am a lawyer by training. on November 15, 2011 at 8:45 AM · Report this
33
The thing for me is I do agree with a lot of Savage's advice. That's why it's off-puttingly incongruous to me when a needlessly stereotypical insult is thrown in with the reasonable common sense. Gratuitous cruelty is the opposite of reason and undermines trust.
Posted by Dan is Cruel on November 15, 2011 at 8:47 AM · Report this
34
Eh, I think expecting that from a columnist of Dan's stature given his reputation is asking a bit much. I mean, I 'trust' Dan to give somewhat relative information thats honest and reasonable.

But I don't trust him not to dig into his readers if they present the chance, either out of their own ignorance or for a point to make a column enjoyable.

Its his bread and butter and how he and his family lives. I don't think he has a single degree in Psychology, sociology, or sexual health if I'm not mistaken.
Posted by Dan is the Steve Jobs of Perverts on November 15, 2011 at 8:48 AM · Report this
35
Therein lies a problem, you trust Savage to be truthful and tell correct information but he does not do that.

He has had people tell him when he's dead wrong about certain sex acts, fetishes, BDSM, and kink, bisexuality and bisexual issues, and Trans/intersex issues-yet he refuses to admit that he's wrong or correct himself and actually publish the correct information.

There is no excuse for when Savage went on his racist bitch fit about African American voters in the state of CA how he thought that black voters in CA are the sole reason that prop 8 passed.
Posted by Dan is Racist on November 15, 2011 at 8:49 AM · Report this
36
well said! there is way too much hate and discrimination within the gay comm..er i mean between the gay groups, sterotypes , and subcultures .. there is no community.

How can we expect the world to accept us and give us equal rights , when we can't even get along.
Posted by HowNowBrownCow? on November 15, 2011 at 8:51 AM · Report this
37
@31 This blog post is the first time he's directly addressed the glitter bombings, as far as I know. So from that standpoint, they were being ignored up until now.
Posted by Lumpmoose on November 15, 2011 at 8:51 AM · Report this
Fnarf 38
@16, just don't get me started on the subjunctive mood (or mode; good god, what is WITH you people?). Compared to that, a little trans porn is nothing.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 15, 2011 at 8:52 AM · Report this
39
"But I have a hispanic friend.."

"But I have a gay friend...."

"But I have a trans friend..."

Different groups, same lazy defense. I don't care how many trans friends you have or what words they use. The word insulting to a lot of people and cis people shouldn't use it, period.

And trans people don't need you to tell us who our enemies are.
Posted by STFUsivousplais on November 15, 2011 at 8:53 AM · Report this
40
Yeah. Its a brilliant way to non violently protest someone.

I listen to Dans podcast and know he;s done a lot of good but I've also heard plenty of evidence that he's transphobic and almost none that he's changed his spots. I dunno if he deserves glitterbombing per se but its a valid form of protest. and a striking one.
Posted by Dan looks Fab in glitter and a dingy Tshirt on November 15, 2011 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Fnarf 41
@11, @12, a team of trolls now. My money is on 200 ANONYMOUS comments alone.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 15, 2011 at 8:55 AM · Report this
42
#occupysavagesglitteryass
Posted by Adrian Ryan on November 15, 2011 at 8:55 AM · Report this
43
I think what bothers the trans people is that when he talks about trans people he doesn't go out of his way to make them feel more positive about themselves, and admonish his audience to be accepting. He should add some kind words to what he says when he discusses trans people because they are highly sensitive about his tone, and need to be thrown a bone. A little kindness can go a long way.
Posted by Savage:"Lets BONE those Trans People!!!uwahahaha!!" on November 15, 2011 at 8:56 AM · Report this
44
I think the real problem is that we're in an age where everyone in the sex-positive/lgbtq/etc. culture assumes they have a right not to be offended, and when they are, they chalk it up to oppression or patriarchy or transphobia. So many important debates about individual rights and identities get bogged down in petty language games, where everyone's in a competition to be the most oppressed person.
A great example of this is a tumblr I found recently where an anonymous reader asked the person a question along the lines of "Hey, I really enjoy your writing and opinions on sex issues. I was wondering, what's it like to be trans? What have you experienced personally with coming out and the trans culture?" The blogger replied that she could not begin to express how angry she was that the anonymous fan would assume being trans is associated with a collective experience, that the anon was an oppressor and the reason that she hated walking out of her apartment, and was the cause of her inner shame and depression.
I agree that privilege exists in all way, shapes, and forms, and is often invisible to the opressor. But just because someone uses a term that another individual doesn't like doesn't mean that we should cast all discussions in a black/white, transphobic/transpositive debate.
Posted by Jerry23048234 on November 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM · Report this
geoz 45
I went to the site indicated in the first line and I DO understand that people are angry, but it seems misdirected. There is enough to be angry about without Dan Savage, and there is a lot less to be angry about because of Dan Savage. Flaming this site doesn't change my mind about Savage either.
Posted by geoz on November 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM · Report this
46
Go eat a bag of dicks! "Tranny" is just a shortening of "transsexual" or "transgender", just like "homo" is a shortening of "homosexual". Neither term is derogatory.
Posted by A1Sauce on November 15, 2011 at 8:59 AM · Report this
47
Dan Savage is rightly and deeply concerned about gay bullying.
I find it sad that he thinks Transgender concerns are a big joke.
Posted by Dan thinks Transgender concerns are a big joke. on November 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM · Report this
nseattlite 48
Am I the only one to note that if people came armed with glitter, they would more than likely find a moment to glitter-bomb Dan???
Posted by nseattlite on November 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM · Report this
49
@28
Lighten up. As a younger guy who's into bears, I laughed out loud when Dan made the bear comments. I think it was intended to be edgy and funny, not intended to be insulting. All the bear friends I have loved it.

Making fun of what other people find attractive is one of the oldest gay pasttimes. My friends tease me for my taste in men, but who cares? Occasionally someone will be truly nasty and insulting about it, but that's extremely rare.
Posted by Nice Try, Get Help on November 15, 2011 at 9:01 AM · Report this
50
Considering that he is being called transphobic so frequently that he now says he is "used to it," it's hard to understand how he can continue to see himself as a spokesperson for the LGBT community rather than solely a gay spokesperson.
Posted by GaySpokesThing on November 15, 2011 at 9:02 AM · Report this
51
If this comment had been directed toward gay men you woud have screamed "bigotry" asshollery" et al. Since Dan Savage is gay he gets a pass. Too many seem to think he can do no wrong.


Dan Savage fits very well into the white affluent gay male subgroup and he connects with them.

He does not connect with those that fall outside of that narrow sexual, socioeconomic and racial spectrum.

Pointing out this fact is met with accusations of not "getting" Dan Savage.

We get his ignorance and contempt and are sick of it.
Posted by Sick of Dan on November 15, 2011 at 9:03 AM · Report this
52 Comment Pulled (SockPuppetry) Comment Policy
53
So, if Dan Savage thinks glitter-bombing is "ridiculous," and Joe Jervis thinks that it's "yawn"-worthy, then why do we cheer when it's used against MIchele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, etc.?

Am I missing something?
Posted by doublestandard on November 15, 2011 at 9:05 AM · Report this
Fenrox 54
Dan, You are a good sport. Thank you for being great.
Posted by Fenrox on November 15, 2011 at 9:06 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 55
@Fnarf, yeah, this one could break the record.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on November 15, 2011 at 9:07 AM · Report this
ryanayr 56
Anyone who has ever read more than a couple Savage Loves understands your positions and snarky tone. However, when filming for an MTV show at a college, your positions and tone may not be so well understood, especially by highly opinionated college students, and perhaps some people wanted free publicity via MTV. Also, 48 is right, most people don't normally walk around armed with a bunch of glitter for no reason. I suspect this was premeditated glitterbombing in the first degree, whatever the reason.
Posted by ryanayr on November 15, 2011 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Lance Thrustwell 57
Had to join the party!

Here's the thing. I understand anger about use of genuine hate speech. I *even* understand anger at someone not in a minority group misguidedly using an in-group term they haven't been invited to use (e.g. a white person attempting to use "nigger" as a term of jocular familiarity). I DON'T understand people becoming angry about terms that haven't even acquired the status of hate speech - i.e. 'tranny.' I don't think real homophobes and bigots even use that term. They do use "freak," but Dan's use of that is clearly affectionate (and in-groupy).
Posted by Lance Thrustwell on November 15, 2011 at 9:12 AM · Report this
jackdee 58
@48 Good point. These people came there, with their preconceived ideas about Dan readily in place, just ACHING to find anything that Dan said highly offensive.

It's really sad to see that a group of people is so ready to find offense in everything everyone says, that they would treat one of their greater allies as an enemy...
Posted by jackdee on November 15, 2011 at 9:13 AM · Report this
BEG 59
UCI?

1) I'm not surprised, there's some real hair trigger ppl there
2) HOW DID I NOT KNOW YOU WERE SPEAKING AT UCI?!?!?

aaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhh!
Posted by BEG http://twitter.com/#!/browneyedgirl65 on November 15, 2011 at 9:15 AM · Report this
60
Perhaps the trans community should embraces words they find offensive as gay men have embraced cock sucker, faggot, queer.

Like Lenny Bruce said, "the word's suppression gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness". Take way the power of the word by co-opting it.
Posted by jeffg166 on November 15, 2011 at 9:17 AM · Report this
61
I am intentionally going to use "tranny" and "shemale" from now on.

Fucking imbecilic infantile retards...
Posted by Mattyx on November 15, 2011 at 9:26 AM · Report this
Womyn2me 62
@53, why would you think we cheer when idiots do it to Bachman and Gingrich? Its just as stupid.
Posted by Womyn2me http://http:\\www.shelleyandlaura.com on November 15, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on November 15, 2011 at 9:34 AM · Report this
Lance Thrustwell 64
@61 - as a member of the infantile/imbecilic community, I take offense at your comment [drool, cry].
Posted by Lance Thrustwell on November 15, 2011 at 9:34 AM · Report this
65
@62
That's actually a comment the troll pasted from the joemygod thread about the glitterbombing. Just ignore.
Posted by don't bother on November 15, 2011 at 9:43 AM · Report this
66
Not surprising they were attracted by the prospect of their footage making it into the reality program. Moths to the publicity flame. Silly kids.
Posted by gloomy gus on November 15, 2011 at 9:44 AM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 67
@21
I agree, I don't like how labels get tossed around, especially in the hyperbolic fashion which is all the rage these days. Instead of 'thought police,' these folks are more like 'purity whiners.'
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on November 15, 2011 at 9:44 AM · Report this
More, I Say! 68
Jesus, tried to read some comments on Bilerico but didn't get far before my head exploded. It's clear to them that Savage uses activism to promote his position as spokesgay of the LGBTs...because that makes perfect sense. Use the activism to GET the fame, not that all that hard work pays off or whatever...
Posted by More, I Say! on November 15, 2011 at 9:46 AM · Report this
seandr 69
Doesn't exactly break the stereotype of trannies being unhappy, over sensitive, humorless, victim-junkies.
Posted by seandr on November 15, 2011 at 9:47 AM · Report this
70
If the Trans community thinks Dan Savage is the enemy, they need to get educated about who real 'civil rights' enemies are and how they act. Have some bloody context -- Dan is NOT your enemy.
Posted by Loverly on November 15, 2011 at 9:47 AM · Report this
yookah 71
I see this kind of misrepresentation and misdirected hate of Dan surprisingly often in the tumblr "social justice circle jerk" community (god I love the woman who coined that term) and it's gotten to the point where the blatant lies are so aggravating to me that I've had to blacklist his name so I don't see any posts about him, because I know whatever is being said is just a load of ignorant bullshit. I'm glad you addressed this, Dan! Too bad those circle jerkers have their heads too far up their own asses to do any research other than screaming "transphobe" any time someone utters "she-male," regardless of context. Now I'm off to play my DS and listen to the latest lovecast.
Posted by yookah on November 15, 2011 at 9:50 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 72
Right you are, Seandr. Maybe they just need to change their fucking tampon.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on November 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM · Report this
73
I wonder if one of the glitter-bombers put that question into the pile in the first place? Or maybe they put a bunch of leading questions in there, in hopes of Dan reading one of them? Seems like they were setting it all up, just waiting for their chance.

I so hope Dan just laughed, shook off the glitter, and finished unpacking what he was about to say. Can't wait to see this episode on MTV.
Posted by SeattleKim on November 15, 2011 at 9:55 AM · Report this
gr8lakesgrrl 74
Sheesh, 71 and it's not even 10 am Pacific. Busy, busy trolls today!
Posted by gr8lakesgrrl on November 15, 2011 at 9:56 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 75
I admit, rather shallowly, that when I read the first sentence:

So my gay ass—already pretty sparkly—got glitterbombed at the University of California at Irvine last Monday.

...I got lost in a few moments of imagining Dan's ass twinkling like a Twilight vampire.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH http://biggayfrathouse.typepad.com/blog/ on November 15, 2011 at 10:00 AM · Report this
76
Yep, I have to agree -- it's yet another case in which the letter of the law is taken for the spirit of the law, in which the word is branded as having 'intrinsically hateful' meaning (poor word, how could it be its fault?), and people forget that, in language and communication, there's nothing without context.

People who want to change society so often get trapped in the wrong wars. Changing words instead of hearts and minds -- that's one of Satan's most efficient traps to get people to do bad things even when they have good, nay the best, intentions.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:01 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 77
Maleshe Maleshe Maleshe, that's Hebrew for Transexual. Men come first all the time bitch!
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on November 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM · Report this
78
@Dan, it's quite clear to me you're not transphobic. You've said it many times, you've given really good advice to trans people in your column, you've made it clear that you're more interested in the person and his/her happiness than in the choices made.

This was just an attempt to attack your credentials as 'someone with something to say' to our society about sexual minorities. An attempt at branding you as some kind of bigot. I do wonder if the question was indeed placed in the pile on purpose, so as to provoke the incident. (In which case this should be evidence that you are becoming a famous sexual-minority-rights advocate, Dan. You're pissing off the dogmatic, and now they can't just brush you aside.)
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM · Report this
79
all 76 people above should kill themselves for being fucking morons and posting in these comments.

does anyone give this much of a shit about dan savage, featured MTV writer?
Posted by Swearengen on November 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM · Report this
80
Heh. Glitterbombing homophobes turns them into raging lunatics because you've just emasculated them, and that's what they hate so much about homos.

Glitterbombing *homos* on the other hand... that's kind of like tossing catnip at a cat, isn't it?
Posted by gromm on November 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM · Report this
81
@10, you thought wrong. Read more.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM · Report this
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on November 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM · Report this
83
@79: Yes, actually I like Dan because he writes a good column and he fights the good fight.

Now, what *I* would like to know, is why you care so much to rage blindly like that - even sign up for a Stranger.com account! That's quite a lot of motivation you've got there for someone who "doesn't care".
Posted by gromm on November 15, 2011 at 10:12 AM · Report this
84
he has no entitlement to the word "freak," especially since this is language that is often used to demonize, eroticize, and exoticize trans bodies and people. Just last year at CSULB, a transman was cornered, beaten, and got the word "IT" carved in to his chest with a knife, being called a freak and a tranny. The term "freak" can easily be claimed by folk who have privilege, people who don't have to worry about violence towards their "freakiness" because they can put it away, hide it in the private. I appreciate the transcript and the response, but at the same time, you need to be careful about which words you claim (especially if they are words which you aren't a victim of their violence).

It's a huge deal. Words are powerful. Words with negative connotations get mapped on to those bodies. Sure, we're reclaiming words like queer, dyke, fag--to an extent--but we claim them because we are trying to heal from the violence that those words have had on our communities. To reclaim "freak," "shemale" "transexual" "tranny" and the like when it's NOT YOUR WORD or you were never the target of the violence of the word is to be extremely insensitive, if not ignorant to the history of violence associated with that word. I appreciate the transcript--I was there in the audience--but what I don't appreciate it is the demonizing of trans folk and the activists. Trans people in that room WERE UNCOMFORTABLE. Unless you want to tell me that they don't know what transphobia is, and that you know what it's like better than trans people do..... the trans people in the audience got the perception and the feeling of transphobia. Maybe it didn't come DIRECTLY FROM DAN SAVAGE. But the space itself was transphobic, and Dan cracking jokes at the expense of others in the room (the girl who wrote the question, trans folk) didn't help to create a space where trans people felt like they had allies. And that should concern all of us.
More...
Posted by kamheron on November 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM · Report this
85
@68, who wrote:
Jesus, tried to read some comments on Bilerico but didn't get far before my head exploded. It's clear to them that Savage uses activism to promote his position as spokesgay of the LGBTs...because that makes perfect sense. Use the activism to GET the fame, not that all that hard work pays off or whatever...


Indeed. It's all about getting angry at the enemy (we've already had that great awareness session in which we decided who the enemy is and isn't, and that can never be changed, right...), and not about thinking anymore. Revenge. Revenge, sweet revenge!...

It seems that the transgender acceptance movement will go through this phase other such social movements went through -- anger, "you're-all-bigots-if-you-don't-accept-my-dogma..." Anti-racism did, feminism did, gay activism did (still does in some places, I hear -- here's GLAAD to provide an example).

Maybe there's a phase in which people just want to express how ANGRY they are at something (anti-transgender prejudice) and don't much care about how they express this anger, what they aim it at, and what the consequences are. If you throw enough glitter bomb arounds, some will hit the right targets, right?

Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM · Report this
More, I Say! 86
@84, sorry, Dan can't use the word "Freak" now? Because homos were never regarded as freaks? Are you insane?
Posted by More, I Say! on November 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM · Report this
87
@kamheron, I disagree entirely with you, in fact so fundamentally, all I can say is your efforts are going to backfire.

Words don't exist outside of context. There is no such thing as an intrisincally hateful word, only usage makes it so. The word "banana" could morph into a hate word, just like the word "gay" did for a while.

I'm sure trans people in that room WERE INCOMFORTABLE. But was there some reason for them to be incomfortable about -- or were they incomfortable like a mother who thought she had caught her son snorting cocaine, when in fact he was just making soap bubles with his nose?

People can BE INCOMFORTABLE because of what they IMAGINE is going on. It doens't follow that it is really going on. Yes, you can BE INCOMFORTABLE for the wrong reasons, or because you misunderstood someone or something. That's very frequent actually.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 88
@79: Grow the fuck up.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on November 15, 2011 at 10:25 AM · Report this
More, I Say! 89
@85 exactly! I mean, I think I get it - I used to feel like this about a lot of things (words, especially) when I was figuring out that I was a freak in my adolescence and felt really persecuted about it. I wanted to be angry about it, in a weird way.
I suppose more than anything I needed to express to someone who would understand me what I wanted to say to those commenters, so thanks.
Posted by More, I Say! on November 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM · Report this
90
@kamheron, ALL WORDS ARE MY WORDS, because I speak this friggin' language and words are part of it, not part of external reality. You can't change this fact; you'd have to reach into my head and change the language there in order to do that, and this is (as of yet) impossible.

All words are everybody's, to do with as they please. Even trademarking words ultimately doesn't work: even if you invented it, if it is really good it ends up entering the language and belonging to everybody.

All words are everybody's.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM · Report this
91
@84 What we have here is a failure to communicate. It's as if the sex-positive community and the trans community are speaking two different languages that use the same word sounds for different meanings.

In sex-positive speak, "freak" means very sex-positive, and is most often a term of either admiration, or warm humor. It is unrelated to the same word used in a transphobic context. Those who can't see the difference have some issues they need to deal with. Now.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on November 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM · Report this
92
All my friends are freaks.
Posted by Deena on November 15, 2011 at 10:35 AM · Report this
93
let's do an example. nigger.

everyone will be up in arms over it. because you recognize how violent the word is. It's not "It's my word so I'm going to use it how I please." That's idealist. and insane. You wouldn't say this to someone who is targeted by the violence of colonialism and slavery because you realize it's messed up.

yes, queer folk were targeted by the word "freak." Are they still now? To a certain extent, yes. Are trans people still constantly hailed by the word? Yes. Ever looked at trans porn? I suggest you do before you start to get the idea in your head that being a "freak" is a positive thing.
Posted by kamheron on November 15, 2011 at 10:37 AM · Report this
94
Jesus H. Christ. "Controversies" like this make me SO glad I'm on the East Coast.
Posted by ShanghaiLil on November 15, 2011 at 10:37 AM · Report this
95
@89, so am I. I'm into D/s and other kinky stuff, I even have a little bit of a scat fetish (something even Dan often expresses distaste for; some of his older columns on the topic... :-!...)

Yes, there was a time in which I thought I just wanted to shout and scream against those who thought I was a freak (even though they didn't know my kinks, there were plenty of other more conventional reasons for doing that).

Then I realized that screaming angriy at people I don't like is exactly what my enemies were doing to me -- is exactly what bigots do with gays, lebians, transgendered people, and other queerfolk in general.

If they were wrong to tell us "what's right and what's wrong" in sexual orientation, why is Mr kamheron above any more wrong in telling us what words are mine and what words aren't? Looks like the same thing to me.

The sad thing is that transgedered people indeed do suffer a lot -- maybe it's because they suffer a lot that some of them lash out like Mr kamheron above against people for simply using certain words, paying no attention to the idea behind it. Their heart is in the right place -- they want to care for those who were hurt. Their methods, though, are despicable, and doomed to failure. Telling others you know their intentions better than they do themselves is always doomed to failure.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:38 AM · Report this
96
UPDATE 3

Dan had a conversation with a trans man.

O.M.F.G!.....

Dan got close enough to a real live trans man to have a conversation!

and they say there are no more Saints.....
Posted by They are So So WRONG on November 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM · Report this
97
96

we hear Pat Boone once had a conversation with a real live homosexual.....
Posted by Separated at Birth on November 15, 2011 at 10:41 AM · Report this
98
I'm not interested in a semantics battle, perse. But ya'll have some serious internalized transphobia to work through. I know that Dan is working through them, a close friend of mine had a lengthy conversation with him about trans politics after the show. Ya'll should do the same, or you should just be honest and drop the T from the LGB(T) acronym.
Posted by kamheron on November 15, 2011 at 10:41 AM · Report this
99
Sorry, but the glitter bomb in Eugene was by a trans person. Dan, I'm not sure why you thought it wasn't.
Posted by wesbi on November 15, 2011 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Dan 100
I have been reading Dan's column since the "Hey Faggot" days and just have never seen him be transphobic. I've been around transfolks most my out gay life and for much of that that time they used the word tranny all the time. I remember many columns that Dan gave sound, smart advise to Transpeople. But you can't please everyone all the time. It's like when QueerNation started and many Gays had a problem with the word queer. My guess that in 5 years the Trans Community will embrace the word tranny just like most gays have embraced the word queer. Oh and to PapaBear-Fuck off! You still obviously still have an issue with being fat, hairy & stinky. And I am a bear.
Posted by Dan on November 15, 2011 at 10:46 AM · Report this
101
and btw dan, 2 of the 3 people at UCI were trans. I cannot name names or out them because of legal trouble (which I hope you don't press, especially if you look at the history of police at UCI, look at Irvine 19 and the Irvine 11).
Posted by kamheron on November 15, 2011 at 10:56 AM · Report this
102
@93 (mr kamheron), of course nigger is my word. In more ways than you can think.

It so happens I'm Brazilian. The English word "nigger" -- via "Negro" -- comes from Portuguese "negro", which is a beautiful word to describe the black color. Just as English-language poets might talk about "dark as the night", or talk about how mesmerizing someone's "dark eyes" are, Portuguese poets talk about "olhos negros" and how deeply beautiful they are. (Do you know the Russian song "ochi chornye", a beautiful song I love to listen to? Its tranlsation into English is Dark Eyes, but in Portuguese it is -- you guessed it -- "olhos negros", nigger eyes.

So yes, this is my word, in more ways perhaps than it is yours, since my mother tongue is the language that gave birth to it. And yes, I could use it to someone who was targeted by slavery and colonialism -- only I'd try to make sure it is used in a way that doesn't hurt. (Given the history of this word, that is difficult, but by no means impossible.)

Remember the South Park episode in which Ron Marsh was branded as a "nigger guy" because he used the word "nigger" in public once? (If you don't, it's here.) Watch that episode again, and try to tell me that the word "nigger" is being used there to hurt the modern-day descendants of slaves. It isn't.

Of course many people were made to suffer via this word. And here's the problem: you confuse the action -- making them suffer -- with the word. As if words couldn't be used to do all kinds of things, good and bad. As if words had only one use, one intrinsic "hatefulness" about them.

With respect to "freak", read what @91 (BrooklynReader) wrote above, and think about it for a while. Think about language and words, and how they change through time, and what makes that happen.

It's a complicated world, and trying to oversimplify things by claiming "freak" or "nigger" or "faggot" are only 'bad' words that nobody should use reeks of Victorian puritanism plus old-style grammatical/lexical prescriptivism: there is only one "right" language, and if you don't use it you're "baaad".

No, there isn't. The world just ain't that simple.
More...
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:57 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 103
"So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways,
All my underdogs,
We will never be never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty dirty little freaks
Won't you come on and come on and raise your glass,
Just come on and come on and raise your glass"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjVNlG5cZ…
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on November 15, 2011 at 10:57 AM · Report this
104
This is a waste of bandwidth.
Posted by GloriaGaynor on November 15, 2011 at 10:59 AM · Report this
105
The fact that you think you can clearly identify trans people further erases those who have to pass as cis to survive. I hope you rethink demonizing activists who were actually intimately affected by your words. Know that there were tears shed by this entire ordeal (but moreso at the comments of your fans on blogs than what you actually did). I appreciate your 3rd update.
Posted by kamheron on November 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM · Report this
106
@98, I have no interlized transphobia. Perhaps it's you who has interlized lexophobia?

Consider that carefully: maybe you're the one who is afraid of words, because you think they're "baad" even in a vacuum? That is what I'd call "lexophobic".

Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM · Report this
107
@106 then you're not an ally to the trans community, at the very least. Because if a trans person (and I'm sure most would agree with me) is hurt by a word or an expression, and you think it's ok for someone (including yourself) to use it, not only is it inconsiderate, but it's blatantly ignorant (or even willful).
Posted by kamheron on November 15, 2011 at 11:03 AM · Report this
108
@105, the fact you think you can identify transphobic people just by looking at words further erases your friends and supporters -- those you don't know you have. I hope you rethink demonizing words as a means of achieving social change -- it didn't work in Soviet Russia, it isn't going to work here.

Know that tears are shed also when hate is used against mere words.

Your heart is in the right place. Your mouth isn't. That's all. And this is not likely to change. Thanks for your input, and have a nice day.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 11:04 AM · Report this
109
@107, if one of my trans friends were hurt by a word, I'd worry about this person and his/her feelings, not about the word. I'd also worry about the intention of those who tried to hurt him/her, again not about the word.

If you insist in fighting against words, you'll never save people. As simple as that.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 11:05 AM · Report this
110
Speaking as a transsexual, I'd LOVE to have many more "enemies" like Dan and far, far fewer "allies" like those glitterbombing morons!
Posted by Will B. on November 15, 2011 at 11:08 AM · Report this
111
@107, some people (in my country even) are offended by the word "American". Does this make you an inconsiderate, or blatantly ignorant (or even willful) every time you use it?

Words are empty puffs of airs; what they're used for is what is important. Your problem is not words. It's people and what they think and do. Concentrate on the real enemy, not on some paper tiger made of imagination and wishful thinking.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 11:08 AM · Report this
venomlash 112
Toasting in a reactionary bread.
Posted by venomlash on November 15, 2011 at 11:10 AM · Report this
113
@110, I wished kamheron above would pay attention to transgendered people like you. To him, you're invisible, because he's so sure of his holy doctrine he can't really see you!...
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 11:11 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 114
Ah. Guess we won't get to 300 posts after all; it seems like this one has mostly run out of gas.

Unless ankylosaur posts another 200 comments, of course, which is always a possibility.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on November 15, 2011 at 11:12 AM · Report this
115
I believe Dan because whenever I've read claims that he's prejudiced against any group backed up by link, quote or other evidence, I've always found it to be either a misinterpretation, a matter of context (e.g. dan being sarcastic, a qualifying statement left out) or a matter of the critics personal opinion (that isn't generally agreed upon even by the group in question).
Posted by niko4ever on November 15, 2011 at 11:18 AM · Report this
116
Really, C. Stop smoking.

Cause 20% of smokers get HIV.

And that's bad.
Posted by Dah Savage on November 15, 2011 at 11:18 AM · Report this
117
@114, if you help me we could do it. :-) After all, this would be good fro transgender visibility, right?
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 11:19 AM · Report this
118
Edit: Oh, or a statement he retracted once he knew better.
Posted by niko4ever on November 15, 2011 at 11:19 AM · Report this
BEG 119
@84 Can't give you that one. Freak gets tossed my way all the time, as a disabled individual. I've used the word myself -- and never in a context of transgenderism. Sometimes it's not all about you.
Posted by BEG http://twitter.com/#!/browneyedgirl65 on November 15, 2011 at 11:19 AM · Report this
Dingo 120
What's a little odd is that you used the better term transsexual twice and followed it with "she-male for lack of a better term."
Posted by Dingo on November 15, 2011 at 11:20 AM · Report this
121
jesus christ why are some trans people so sensative? meh get some counseling if you're so fucking fragile.
Posted by Lynneland on November 15, 2011 at 11:26 AM · Report this
122
@110, The one thing to hope for is that, despite the glitterbombing and the lack of understanding of some transgender activists, Dan will continue his advice-column-turned-activism-sorta in favor of sexual minorities.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 11:27 AM · Report this
123
Does a man-made vagina look like a can of spam dropped from a great height?
Posted by Doot on November 15, 2011 at 11:31 AM · Report this
sirkowski 124
not one of the folks who've glittered me—one at Eugene, three at UCI—is actually trans.

The typical PC police. e_e
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on November 15, 2011 at 11:36 AM · Report this
kim in portland 125
@79,

Sadly I must state that I am disinclined to accept your request...

"all 76 people above should kill themselves for being fucking morons and posting in these comments"

I'm hopeful that this was your attempt at 'humor'? I'm inclined to think that degrees in biology and chemistry, in addition to post graduate work, is indeed an indication of my being an excellent example of a "moron". Thank you. :-) As for the "posting in these comments", you have also committed this 'sin'. Anyway, I hope your day improves.

Kind regards,
k
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on November 15, 2011 at 11:38 AM · Report this
Scrufff 126
Long time fan and have probably read everything Dan's ever written from his early days as a columnist when the column was called "Hey Faggot" to his published books to his blogs.

1. I agree that the glitter bomb was a premeditated act. Those bombers were lying in wait for anything Dan might say regarding the trans community to glitter bomb is ass, and like a poster above, the very question itself may have been planted as an excuse to glitter bomb Mr. Savage. Just say'n.

2. I don't get why some in the trans community would get their silk panties/cotton BVD's all twisted in a bunch for the use of of tranny. One of the best gay clubs in San Francisco (arguably the most PC place on the planet) is Trannyshack. From the website:

"Trannyshack, San Francisco’s infamous drag performance night club, shocked and delighted packed audiences every Tuesday night at midnight for over twelve years. Defying all expectations, Trannyshack incorporated everything from low brow trash to high brow performance art, and became famous (or, infamous) worldwide as the quintessential San Francisco experience. No visit to the City was complete without a stop at Trannyshack.

The club has been featured in Out (which named it one of the top 10 reasons to move to San Francisco), Genre, Instinct, and Paper magazines and won numerous Best of the Bay awards, and was filmed for an independent feature length documentary , titled “Filthy Gorgeous: The Trannyshack Story” . Trannyshack is now branching out its empire, with shows in LA, London, Waikiki, Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, and Reno enjoying great success."

I've been to it in both SF and LA and each time the place has been packed with everyone from audience and performers alike having a great time. In LA where i live the longest running gay event is a themed party called "Dragstrip 66", where the term "Tranny" is often integrated cleverly in its themed nights. Maybe all these trans gendered folks don't go clubbing much but they should try it, these events are the bomb (grin).

3. I've noticed for some reason that Dan has become something of a lightning rod topic on some gay sites. Recently on both Towleroad and Queerty - Dan's glitter bombing episodes have been met with some much vitriol that its surprising (on Queerty last week there was over 300 comments re: Dan's glitter bombing). Dan is out there fighting the good fight with humor and aplomb, using words like fag, freak, faggot etc, but still articulating excellent arguments for GLBT rights.

So dissenters, unless you've got some connections that's going to get you on CNN, Bill Maher, MSNBC or any other national media outlet and once on, you can speak eloquently about GLBT issues and often against anti gay bigots who have "god" on their side, why don't you haters just STFU and go after those who really hate us all.

Dan's a hero in my book. Dan please keep up the good work!!!!!!
More...
Posted by Scrufff on November 15, 2011 at 11:43 AM · Report this
127
Wow. Ankylosaur, you are insufferable, not to mention obtuse.
Posted by MK8 on November 15, 2011 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 128
@ 114, we still have six hours. But yeah, that was an impressive outburst by the anonymous troll, wasn't it?
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 15, 2011 at 11:53 AM · Report this
129
Speaking only for myself as a trans person, I find Savage's transphobia evidenced less by his specific choice of language and more by the fact that he has given some extremely transphobic responses to transpeople who have written to his column over the years, and more recently he has been buddying up to notorious transphobe Alice Dreger, even going so far as to attack trans readers who try to point out to him how she is harming the trans community with her misguided "advocacy."
Posted by somanynamesarealreadytaken on November 15, 2011 at 11:57 AM · Report this
sirkowski 130
Voldemort!
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on November 15, 2011 at 12:11 PM · Report this
131
I love your work and admire you so much. Clearly, the glitter bomber was prepared to glitter bomb you and just couldn't wait to find an opportunity to do so. That was dumb. No one is a greater champion of people who are self-identified as, or perceived to be, anything other than vanilla heterosexuals.
Posted by lchernow on November 15, 2011 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Hawke 132
Lots of fucking cowards on this thread. Otherwise, they wouldn't post their drivel anonymously. I've heard that the glitter-bombers weren't even trans. As a member of the trans community, I'd just like to say that glitter-bombing Dan Savage is not being a good ally.
Posted by Hawke http://facebook.com/thehawke on November 15, 2011 at 12:14 PM · Report this
133
128

yeah.

we rule.
Posted by ya'll drool on November 15, 2011 at 12:18 PM · Report this
134
132

you must be new here.
Posted by relax. we'll use lube. maybe. on November 15, 2011 at 12:20 PM · Report this
135
@76: People who want to change society so often get trapped in the wrong wars. Changing words instead of hearts and minds -- that's one of Satan's most efficient traps to get people to do bad things even when they have good, nay the best, intentions.

Well put and too true.

This whole discussion is giving me horrible flashbacks to teaching college classes in African American studies as a group of students were attempting to ban the n word from the campus. Sometimes I think I have PTSD from the sheer exhaustion and frustration of all those pointless harangues against one's allies.

My personal favorite was when a white student told me that I needed to remove the Civil Rights Movement from my course on the 1960s because "We can't discuss the Civil Rights Movement unless there's a black person in the room." A PC monitor--yeah, I'm sure said black students relish that unpaid work.

Fucking Sigh.
Posted by maddy811 on November 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM · Report this
136
Dan,
I appreciate your 'clarification' to the incident but what I fail to understand and is why you are not actively engaging trans community activists in a dialogue or attempting to bring in Trans folks to guest comment on your column or go to other lengths to show that you are actively working to 'get better on Trans issues'. As Joe Ippolito pointed out on your last post there are two amazing Trans conferences you could attend, one right in Seattle - Gender Odyssee one in Philly - Philly Trans Health Conference. Even your use of Transsexual rather than Trans woman or Trans porn shows that your language is stuck in the 1980's. Trans people in general stopped using "Transsexual" as an umbrella term in the mid-90's, that's now nearly 15 years ago. I'm not going to nitpick, I appreciate your call to cool down your rabid fans from baselessly slinging slurs at Trans people and or mischaracterizing our reactions as 'rapid' or needing 'prozac' which only further reenforce demeaning cultural stereotypes. As a kinky fag you should know best. What people say matters. I have on no less than 20 occasions listened or heard you attack right-wingers for their language and 'not getting it right'. I get it, you used 'word for word' from cards. At similar events I generally rephrase for the audience. As a public figure you have an obligation to model for your audience. I have a hard time imagining you reading word for word the N word to describe people of color, the C or B word to describe women, W-B word to describe Mexicans, and so on if they were 'word for word' on a card. I think it is reasonable that Trans people are asking you for a public apology and at least SHOW that you are making positive steps towards being more educated about Trans issues as the US public generally accept you as an "Authority" on all things kink, queer, and trans. Can you not follow the examples of people who have said other slurs (even if they claim they were taken out of context?): Isaiah Washington. Brett Ratner. etc..etc..
More...
Posted by Sj936 on November 15, 2011 at 12:40 PM · Report this
137
@135, I've had a couple of similar experiences (though nothing as bad as your n-word-banning war). You have my sympathy.

So many people are so animistic they think "wrongness" is in symbols or objects -- the whip is bad, not the whip-holder;

My impression is that there simply always are too many people who want to tell others they know better. "I know what you think; evidence: this symbol here, which of course can mean only one thing..." Or even, "my language use is better than your language use."

Don't the modern-day snobs love to be superior, even when they are not? And they know better than that. I'm sure they know Rick Santorum wouldn't become a friend or ally simply by changing all his vocabulary use to suit their preferences. Ricky would still be comparing them to animals -- but in PC terms. What a big step forward, eh?
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM · Report this
138
@136, I disagree with some of what you say; among other things, that a certain group of people gets to decide what the language use of others should be; that's not how language works. What people say does matter, but what matters is what they say, not the specific words they chose. Context.

But I certainly agree that it would be a good idea if trans activists (especially if they're trans people themselves) were invited to co-host the podcast or to guest-blog on slog. In fact, now that you pointed this out, I myself wonder why Dan never did that.

Dan, how about it? Sounds like a good idea to me.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 12:51 PM · Report this
139
@36
I have a feeling even if Dan did do everything Trans activists ask, they'd still find a way to be mad at him. Just look at the reactions to the It Gets Better project. Even when he does something good they find a way to twist it. Over at Bilerico they even referred to the google commercial featuring IGB as "blood money." Dan is damned if he does damned if he doesn't.
Posted by too bad on November 15, 2011 at 12:52 PM · Report this
140
Superfreak! Superfreak! She's super freaky!
(reclaiming the word 'freak' since the 1970's)

I just have to say that it's very disturbing how fascist the supposed progressive left seems to be getting regarding censorship. As was said earlier: "People who want to change society so often get trapped in the wrong wars. Changing words instead of hearts and minds"
Personally, I often hear things that I find offensive to me. But I always try to "hear" what is being said in context. I ask myself, "does this person MEAN to be offensive?" If the answer is no, then I do not take offense.
Seriously, there's nothing inherently offensive about the word "tranny." What I care about is whether someone is actually going to insult me or discriminate against me, not whether they've picked the correct word-du-jour.
Posted by Superfreak! on November 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM · Report this
141
@138 Dan had Buck Angel answer questions on the Lovecast: http://www.thestranger.com/SavageLovePod… and the column: http://www.avclub.com/articles/june-8-20…
Posted by Lumpmoose on November 15, 2011 at 1:03 PM · Report this
142
What i'd like to hear is,

"I'm always working to better my understanding of the complex human relations that i claim to be an expert, in addition to further refining how i express myself so nobody can be confused or hurt by my statements."

Not, "I was misquoted"

I've read enough "Savage Love" to know that your heart is in the right place and you're right 98% of the time. That doesn't mean you don't occasionally say dumb shit. If you're not learning from this episode, it's probably going to happen again.
Posted by ClowDog57 on November 15, 2011 at 1:20 PM · Report this
143
@142, he -was- misquoted. You shouldn't have to apologize for something you didn't actually do.
Posted by Sathya on November 15, 2011 at 1:34 PM · Report this
144
The attention whores, errrr, glitterbombers obviously planted the question so they could make a spectacle. You don't go to a Dan taping with glitter and a plan to get removed and then leave it to chance if trans issues will be discussed. They probably think they are actually doing something constructive.

For the person on Bilerico that says Dan should have, "changed the word," well, they obviously don't understand how quotations work. In his answer, Dan did change the word. The only time he did use the word shemale was to preface a discussion on why the word was offensive. Seems like he was fighting the good fight, as usual.

Some people don't understand the difference between being active and being constructive. I mean, these people live in Orange County, and they find Dan offensive? They can't really find greater enemies to trangender rights in Orange Fucking County?
Posted by mshawn on November 15, 2011 at 1:34 PM · Report this
145
Oops, I meant tranny. Not shemale.
Posted by mshawn on November 15, 2011 at 1:39 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 146
@142: Poor, insincere critics don't lead to revelations.

If someone's going to make legitimate points, that's one thing. "friends of the family" who malign based on outright lies aren't interested in him learning, either. They just want to humiliate and gain attention/praise for their works.

It's pathetic and these people deserve nothing for their efforts.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 15, 2011 at 1:39 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 147
You should probably read the article again without skimming.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 15, 2011 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 148
Wasting a perfectly good glitterbomb on Dan-fucking-Savage is wrong and misguided. Does any really think he's transphobic? He probably has a transgendered nanny for his kid. Somebody brought glitter to the hall and just waited for an off-color remark. Diminishes the purpose and intent.
Posted by Bauhaus I on November 15, 2011 at 1:41 PM · Report this
149
@142
"...so nobody can be confused or hurt by my statements"

Fuck that. It's never gonna happen unless you are silent.
Posted by Mr. J on November 15, 2011 at 1:48 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 150
@148: "REG: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the
Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.
P.F.J.: Yeah...
JUDITH: Splitters.
P.F.J.: Splitters...
FRANCIS: And the Judean Popular People's Front.
P.F.J.: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters...
LORETTA: And the People's Front of Judea.
P.F.J.: Yeah. Splitters. Splitters...
REG: What?
LORETTA: The People's Front of Judea. Splitters.
REG: We're the People's Front of Judea!
LORETTA: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.
REG: People's Front! C-huh.
FRANCIS: Whatever happened to the Popular Front, Reg?
REG: He's over there.
P.F.J.: Splitter!"
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM · Report this
venomlash 151
Man, I almost wish Responsible Doc would show up.
Posted by venomlash on November 15, 2011 at 2:13 PM · Report this
152
And Tobi Hill-Meyer at Bilerico is soooooo sorry. Really, Dan.

Here's the humble apology:

"Further Update: Dan Savage has posted a response and a copy of the transcript from the event. I would like to apologize because, as if often the case with eye witnesses, my source appears to have gotten some of the details wrong."

No. Tobi Hill-Meyer got it wrong. Didn't ask Dan's camp what happened. Just, you know, wrote the story based on "my source" and vetted it with the mob. Hmmm. Sounds unprofessional and broke all 3 of the rules of journalism, which are:

1. Get the facts.
2. Get the facts.
3. Get the facts.
Posted by Ray_Harwick on November 15, 2011 at 2:27 PM · Report this
153
This kind of reaction comes with the territory of gaining fame and being successful as an "accidental gay leader." I would not be surprised if the glitter-bombers were not conservative plants. In any case, anyone who has read your column knows that you are not transphobic. I am sympathetic to people who are sensitive to language, but context is everything. Your original column, "Hey F-----," was in its time striking and helped to destigmatize the epithet; it would not be appropriate now. Similarly, our sensitivities toward other words have also evolved, so it isn't fair to take things out of context.
Posted by JayJonson on November 15, 2011 at 2:28 PM · Report this
154
University of Oregon, Dan! And I'm sorry that that happened. It made me embarrassed for my school when it happened
Posted by anaw on November 15, 2011 at 2:38 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 155
@152: You forgot- "It's important to remember that the criticism about Dan Savage's behavior was not about his words that night but about his ongoing and recent behavior over an extended time period. I will write more regarding this response later today."

Your source hasn't gotten "some of the details wrong", they have ALL THE PERTINENT DETAILS wrong.

But, of course, it doesn't matter whether this is true or not, or whether he was being positive towards trans-individuals, all that matters is the narrative we've got going!
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 15, 2011 at 3:09 PM · Report this
156
to the commentors: just because someone has done some good work for white, cis, gay people doesn't mean they get a free pass when they use slurs like tranny and shemale. it means they still have work to do.

we all have to unlearn the hate we are indoctrinated with at young ages, about how certain people are superior than others simply because of the colour of the skin, who they choose to have sex with, and how they lead their lives.

shouldn't we all be working together to ensure we have the most accepting, celebrated, united queer community possible? as opposed to criticizing those who criticize?! you're just proving so many queer people's complaints and concerns about cis gay people not caring about trans/genderqueer folks. it's sad.
Posted by garconniere on November 15, 2011 at 3:15 PM · Report this
157
to the commentors: just because someone has done some good work for white, cis, gay people doesn't mean they get a free pass when they use slurs like tranny and shemale. it means they still have work to do.

we all have to unlearn the hate we are indoctrinated with at young ages, about how certain people are superior than others simply because of the colour of the skin, who they choose to have sex with, and how they lead their lives.

shouldn't we all be working together to ensure we have the most accepting, celebrated, united queer community possible? as opposed to criticizing those who criticize?! you're just proving so many queer people's complaints and concerns about cis gay people not caring about trans/genderqueer folks. it's sad.
Posted by garconniere on November 15, 2011 at 3:18 PM · Report this
158
to the commentors: just because someone has done some good work for white, cis, gay people doesn't mean they get a free pass when they use slurs like tranny and shemale. it means they still have work to do.

we all have to unlearn the hate we are indoctrinated with at young ages, about how certain people are superior than others simply because of the colour of the skin, who they choose to have sex with, and how they lead their lives.

shouldn't we all be working together to ensure we have the most accepting, celebrated, united queer community possible? as opposed to criticizing those who criticize?! you're just proving so many queer people's complaints and concerns about cis gay people not caring about trans/genderqueer folks. it's sad.
Posted by garconniere on November 15, 2011 at 3:19 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 159
@156: "to the commentors: just because someone has done some good work for white, cis, gay people doesn't mean they get a free pass when they use slurs like tranny and shemale. it means they still have work to do."

Try reading the topic next time.

Posted by undead ayn rand on November 15, 2011 at 3:19 PM · Report this
160
@kamheron: Actually, the issue here is that "freak" has multiple definitions. The N word does not, so it's not a good comparison. ("Fag" does, but none that are relevant in this country/time period.) Dan's use of the word "freak" did not refer to trans people, it referred to someone who has non-vanilla sexual tastes. You can argue with that usage if you want, but make sure you're arguing with the right usage!
Posted by Belle Starr on November 15, 2011 at 3:20 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 161
@160: Exactly. This is in the context of "getting freaky", "letting one's freak flag fly", etc. It's synonymous with kink, and not universally ill-mannered.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 15, 2011 at 3:22 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 162
Sounds like the loons at PETA to me.
Posted by OutInBumF on November 15, 2011 at 3:28 PM · Report this
163
@159

ditto

@156

Except Dan only said those words because he was reading the question aloud to the audience. And Dan hasn't only done good work for white, cis, gay people. In 2008 he encouraged sloggers to donate money to Duanna Johnson's funeral expenses. Johnson was a black trans woman who was brutally murdered. In 2010 Dan raised money for a young trans student who was kicked out of school in Mississippi as well.
Posted by kv on November 15, 2011 at 3:32 PM · Report this
164
I think Dan should read those questions exactly as written. It makes more of an impact if he reads it, then if there are words that could cause a problem, he gets a chance to educate everyone in the audience as to why it is insensitive, and how it should be phrased. If he just edits the text in his head and reads the PC version, that education doesn't happen. It is just so ironic that he was in the process of doing just that when he got glitterbombed.

If you want Dan to become a better ally, just fucking talk to him. Don't glitterbomb him. That is a stupid way to try and get your point across. It makes you look bad and you actually lose people who are trying to be your ally. I'm straight, but I have a lot of friends in the GLBT community, including trans people. Do I now have to live in fear that I might accidentally say something that has just become a bad word? Fuck that. I understand how difficult it is to fight the amount of transphobia that is out there, but you gotta get a little bit of a thick skin too. Don't fight your friends, if they accidentally say something that hurts you. Fucking TALK to them for Christ's sake.
Posted by SeattleKim on November 15, 2011 at 4:11 PM · Report this
wingedkat 165
I don't really see the advantage to transsexuals of swapping the word "transsexual" for "shemale" when talking about porn (which is what Dan was doing in this case).

My understanding is that the chaser quality of that porn is part of the reason words like "tranny" and "shemale" are disliked... so I'm not sure how renaming it helps. I'd imagine transsexual porn to encompass a completely different kind of porn, actually.

Kinda like how slut porn is a kind of porn that features females, but if I insisted on calling it female porn people would have the wrong idea of what I'm talking about.
Posted by wingedkat on November 15, 2011 at 4:12 PM · Report this
wingedkat 166
Sorry, apparently I should have used "transpeople". No offense intended.
Posted by wingedkat on November 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM · Report this
167
@2: It's a bit of a stretch, but I think we might be able to. Maybe.
Posted by gabjoh on November 15, 2011 at 4:23 PM · Report this
168
Oh Dan, you're evolving, I get it and appreciate it, but if you're going to use your past writing as proof that you aren't transphobic, be honest about all of your track record.

Because you see, this is what a transphobic ignoramus writes. http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Savag…
Posted by KJPall on November 15, 2011 at 4:26 PM · Report this
169
I feel better about this issue after reading this. It does seem like you were pretty grossly misrepresented. It's too bad that you got glittered because us trans folk are always on such high alert in this social climate. Thank you for taking the time to really explain all this.
Posted by Gwenhwyvar on November 15, 2011 at 4:39 PM · Report this
170
I dropped my change.org account after reading this article. This kind of hyperbole completely misses the point of why we love Dan. The fact he got glitter bombed shows that these people were out to get him for something that he's known for doing; giving honest no BS answers to questions that need to be answered in a no BS way. This approach has proved itself to be the correct way to talk about sex. No shame and to the point. Don't dilute yourself with politics, LET YO' FREAK FLAG FLY!
Posted by urbanmtnman on November 15, 2011 at 4:40 PM · Report this
171
kamheron is right.

I'm cis-gendered and those words are not mine. It's not fucking hard to stop using words that hurt people or to learn what pronouns someone wants you to call them by. Comments like anklysaurs, that use semantic arguments to demand ownership of words, usually come from people with the self-entitlement that comes from a place of privilege. Arguments like this ignore the history of systematic oppression behind these words. The point of words is that they have meaning. Words like these make people want to kill themselves. I want to live in a world where all my friends feel respected.

Is it really worthwhile to whine about some words you should remove from your vocabulary? I'd rather spend my time trying to make the spaces I'm in as safe and accessible to everyone as I can,
Posted by Momo_is_tired on November 15, 2011 at 4:42 PM · Report this
172
I dropped my change.org account after reading this article. This kind of hyperbole completely misses the point of why we love Dan. The fact he got glitter bombed shows that these people were out to get him for something that he's known for doing; giving honest no BS answers to questions that need to be answered in a no BS way. This approach has proved itself to be the correct way to talk about sex. No shame and to the point. Don't dilute yourself with politics, LET YO' FREAK FLAG FLY!
Posted by urbanmtnman on November 15, 2011 at 4:45 PM · Report this
173
Bitten by your own hyperbolic, paranoid political correctness. Good times.
Posted by Spindles on November 15, 2011 at 4:50 PM · Report this
174
"Comments like anklysaurs, that use semantic arguments to demand ownership of words, usually come from people with the self-entitlement that comes from a place of privilege."

Actually. No. They come from decades of some pretty rigorous research in linguistics; the discipline he has spent a lifetime in; what the Tea Party would call "elitist" to counter the idea that brutal facts have no meaning to those who don't care about facts. Anklysaur's fundamental position, born out by decade of research, is that when you try to banish uncomfortable language, it simply gets replaced by equally effective linguistic ways of inflicting pain. I've sure you've taken note of how the phrase "family values" has come to be regarded as a dog whistle that makes people gag. That's what Mr. Ank is pointing out. You have a Dan Savage who is destroying the pain of a sexually related set of identities so people can feel free to talk about their own internal conflicts with them and trans people and their advocates don't even know it. I'll be you there are MORE people coming out of the trans closet because of Dan ever was possible before. Dan is, if anything, an accidental advocate and an intentional commentator on ALL the groups represented in LGBTQ. He frees us to have conversations over things that have forever made us all squirm.
Posted by Ray_Harwick on November 15, 2011 at 5:06 PM · Report this
175
Glad to hear your side of things, Dan. This kind of bullshit drove me away from "trans communities" quite a while ago. If living my life without drawing attention to my victimhood and kvetching about other people's language is privilege, then sign me the fuck up.
Posted by Zuulabelle http://www.mellophant.com on November 15, 2011 at 5:34 PM · Report this
176
Wheee!! What fun. It's always so amazing watching people have a fit and fall into it over NOTHING! That poster over at Bilrico demonstrates some of the dangers of Internet "news". It seems like everyone is acting like TMZ and that ilk. Never let the truth get in the way of a story that will ramp everyone up.

You really need bullet points for all the stuff you want to coment on so here goes

1. I hate the phrase "cis" whatever--mostly because it's stupid. Or rather stoopid.
2. Re-phrasing what other people have written is elitist and condescending
3. I don't know if we should drop the "T" but think about it--shouldn't we really drop the "B" part? They're always getting arrested in bathrooms and kidnapping their children from the other partner and running off to Central America after they've found Jesus or resigning in disgrace after they've given their Israeli boyfriend a state job. Makes the rest of us look bad.
4. Some of us are just waiting to get our feelings hurt and find grievances everywhere they look.
5. When I asked someone for facts to back up what they were saying I was told to "do my own research" and the stuff they sent me to was so freaking innocuous I thought I had typed it incorrectly.
Posted by sfhally on November 15, 2011 at 5:46 PM · Report this
177
Dan, When you modify the emotionally neutral term cisgendered, into cissy, I feel a bit disheartened and frustrated since my need for communication and respect for vocabulary wasn't met. Cisgendered, similar to heterosexual, is intended to detach people from stigma. You have become such an influential person from the LGBT community that what you say can have a strong impact in the relatively public audience. Even if you are reiterating what other people have said, even if you're trying to break down the PC nature of modern language, acknowledge that for some, it could be their initial exposure into sex-positive stuff. That being said, I'd like to see a disclaimer so that it can ease the negative emotional impact. Please take more responsibility for what you say by recognizing that your statements might offend people. This means, expect criticism, whether in the form of a glitter shower, or a more than two line dialogue.
Posted by Recognize on November 15, 2011 at 6:09 PM · Report this
178
@2, 7 no dice...
Posted by EricaP on November 15, 2011 at 6:15 PM · Report this
179
@171: "Comments like anklysaurs, that use semantic arguments to demand ownership of words, usually come from people with the self-entitlement that comes from a place of privilege. Arguments like this ignore the history of systematic oppression behind these words."

Ideologically correct analysis, but short on facts and historical complexities. If you insist on the history behind the words, you have to address the history of the use of "tranny" within the community as an endearing term.

You also have to address the pesky fact that Dan used "freak" not to describe transpeople, but the "boyfriend" who enjoys a certain kind of porn.

Yes, ideological analysis says that "transexual" carries with it an oppressive structure of meaning, and yes it is such a "1980s" word (or whatever era). The word "homosexual" is also like that, and sometimes it makes me, as a gay man, uncomfortable to hear it. That does not give me, as a gay man, the right to assume homophobia in the speaker of this word, it does not excuse me from addressing the lived complexity of the person using this word. Also, it does not disallow me, or anyone else who wants to signal alliance, to use this word ironically, edgily, or even straight-faced, depending on the occasion of speaking.

I, nor anyone else, do not have to right to be protected from discomfort.

Yes, you're fighting for your right to speak on your own terms, but by attacking the right of others (especially allies) to speak on their terms, you're turning people off, because it is basically hypocrisy.
Posted by ravished on November 15, 2011 at 6:28 PM · Report this
180
I'm sorry you encountered a glittering here in Eugene. The report made me cringe- especially after reading the diatribe from a local Trans advocate in the issue of the Eugene Weekly. I've lived here for over 25 years and Eugenians have made being offended an art form practiced on every stupid issue you can think of on a regular basis.

Like others have pointed out Dan is not the enemy, mainstream society is- stop trying to be like PETA: well meaning but totally ineffectual.
Posted by alisamc http://amcstubbornturtle.blogspot.com/ on November 15, 2011 at 6:29 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 181
@ 178, I guess some epic shitstorms just aren't that epic.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 15, 2011 at 6:30 PM · Report this
debug 182
Glitter bombing a gay man doesn't make much sense. Trans-folk need to get their own relevant protest symbol...maybe origami bombing?
Posted by debug on November 15, 2011 at 6:30 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 183
False accusations of engaging in hate speech are themselves a form hate speech


No. Saying you disagree with someone, or disapprove of their words or ideas, is not the same as hate speech. This reminds me of right-wing pundits applying the term "hate speech" to the opinions of anyone who happens to disagree with them. Not cool.

Other than that, though, I'm totally with Dan on this.
Posted by Sea Otter on November 15, 2011 at 6:30 PM · Report this
Sea Otter 184
(That is, I agree that the accusation of "hate speech" is silly and unfair, but disagree that that in itself constitutes hate speech. Let's get some perspective here.)
Posted by Sea Otter on November 15, 2011 at 6:33 PM · Report this
Hawke 185
I'm extremely shocked that this post didn't have 300 comments by 6PM, knowing how my community gets all pissy whenever anyone says "boo."
Posted by Hawke http://facebook.com/thehawke on November 15, 2011 at 6:44 PM · Report this
186
@84: kamheron, thank you for writing the first comment in this and other thread that gives a critique of Dan but with a tone that keeps communication open.

Yes, I also feel there are ignorances in the dominant gay culture that prevents effective alliance across racial/class/gender lines. Some commenters here sound like some white people being defensive when told they have internalised/unexamined racism that needs to be worked through. (For what it's worth: speaking from the perspective of a non-white, non-American gay man). It's especially hard for liberal-minded people who self-identify as non-racist.

BUT, taking the ideological high ground and playing the privilege-spotting game is not going to change anything. Mainly because the ideological game is usually short on facts and complexities. When you wrote "nigger" to demonstrate offence, it was very ironic because you're writing behind an internet pseudonym and there's no way for any one to tell if you're black or not. My first reaction was: this is obviously someone who is "allowed" to use that word.

And who dishes out these licenses? Not you, not the ideologically correct, not even the victims of oppression can dictate the terms. People with creativity and access to social networks do: MCs, Louis CK, South Park, Dan Savage, etc.

In South Africa, it is not the the "privileged" - educated, middle class, politically progressive across colour lines - who reclaim hurtful words. They are uncomfortable and want to ban words in the courts. The people most frequently flinging edgy racial jokes are the working class and unemployed. It's a very real survival strategy - but you understand that, or you wouldn't be fighting over words. But it's ironic that you elevate semantics when done by you or other "downtrodden", and demean it when done by the perceived "privileged".

If you can't get your allies to understand and accept your language, either a) get your own pop star and get it out there, make it hip, or b) the language policing is not gonna fly. Try another strategy.

And these allies - Dan, and commenters on this blog, and yes even privileged white gay men - whatever their/our blindspots - are rooting for personal creativity, empowerment and happiness. Use this positive energy, whatever its flaws.
More...
Posted by ravished on November 15, 2011 at 6:56 PM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 187
This was only touched on briefly above, that Dan was deliberately targeted - in a premeditated attack, 'cuz who goes to an event with glitter unless it's with the intent to use it (okay ... wallet, comb, tissue pack, keys, glitter ... yeah, I'm ready) - because he's perceived to be a successful gay leader.

What most likely provoked the attackers (or whoever hired them, if they were indeed plants) is that Dan makes money from public speaking. THAT is what makes them see red.
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on November 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM · Report this
188
Was your spelling of "cissy" a pun on cis-trans chemical structures? Because if so.... <33333333333333
Posted by tabletopjosephine on November 15, 2011 at 8:27 PM · Report this
189
I understand why folks would get upset over the term "shemale" even if they misinterpreted what Dan was trying to say. People, don't judge -- it doesn't make you any tougher to not care about hateful language than it makes those who do get offended by such language weaker. Prejudiced language and humor can have an insidious effect, and make people less sensitive to the group being targeted. Not to mention it is extremely hurtful to be the target of such epithets. By calling someone a "shemale" you are invalidating her worth by turning her into a joke and set of stereotypes. The same is true about calling someone a "n****r", whore, poof, what have you.

That said, agree with @187 it seems premeditated.
Posted by Feminist_sub on November 15, 2011 at 9:06 PM · Report this
190
@141: how about more Buck Angel with Dan?
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 9:33 PM · Report this
191
@148, who wrote:
. Somebody brought glitter to the hall and just waited for an off-color remark. Diminishes the purpose and intent.

Yep. That about sums it up.
It's so sad to think these people (who, as Dan says, were probably mostly, if not all, non-trans) don't realize they're doing a disservice to their own cause by making it appear petty and unjustified.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 9:39 PM · Report this
192
@153(JayJonson), who wrote:
I am sympathetic to people who are sensitive to language, but context is everything. Your original column, "Hey F-----," was in its time striking and helped to destigmatize the epithet; it would not be appropriate now.


Actually, I quite think it would help, and for the same reason: so that people would be 'desensitized' to the word itself and would realize that the intentions of people who use it are the real problem, not the word. Garconniere above might benefit from that. Being lexophobic isn't going to help any sexual minorities solve their problems.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 9:44 PM · Report this
193
@155 (undead ayn rand), who wrote:
But, of course, it doesn't matter whether this is true or not, or whether he was being positive towards trans-individuals, all that matters is the narrative we've got going!


Pre-CISE-ly.

Lexophobic activists don't get this, to the detriment of their causes: they end up looking petty and trivial, when in fact they are not. It's so sad.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 9:47 PM · Report this
194
Mr Ank - Aargh, now I shall never sleep tonight. You would have to invoke one of the five most Overused Pieces of Music in all of figure skating, and the one that typically tends to attract overmarked skaters.

That upsets me even more than your invoking that television programme that I am sure I'd call entirely overrated if I ever could force myself to watch it.

On the positive side, maybe the group is making Mr Crisp smile. Perhaps I'll be greeting him soon.

Now I must at least attempt to sleep. If I could only listen to the Rose of Pain a few times, that would help, but alas I cannot.
Posted by vennominon on November 15, 2011 at 9:49 PM · Report this
195
@garconniere, who said:
shouldn't we all be working together to ensure we have the most accepting, celebrated, united queer community possible? as opposed to criticizing those who criticize?! you're just proving so many queer people's complaints and concerns about cis gay people not caring about trans/genderqueer folks. it's sad.


And how does being lexophobic ('afraid of words') help us get there?

Criticism is not bad, because people can be wrong. The glitterbombers criticized Dan, which in principle is not bad (he's been wrong some times). It's what they criticized him for that was totally wrong.

Don't be afraid of criticism, garconniere, because real criticism is the only thing that keeps you away from doing wrong things for the right purposes. Your heart is in the right place; the actions of those glitterbombers, however, aren't.

All they did was make the (actually just) cause of transgender visibility and acceptability look a little petty. By not recognizing Dan as one who is on their side, they gave proof of poor understanding of their own situation in the big picture (society as a whole).
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 9:51 PM · Report this
196
@165(wingedcat), who wrote: My understanding is that the chaser quality of that porn is part of the reason words like "tranny" and "shemale" are disliked... so I'm not sure how renaming it helps. I'd imagine transsexual porn to encompass a completely different kind of porn, actually.

Yep. Quite a good example of why lexophobia ('fear of words') doesn't get you very far.

Changing words without changing realities isn't going to change anything. If words change at all, they should change in response to a changing reality. They're not the motor; they're the cans tied to the back of the car.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 9:57 PM · Report this
197
This could be seen as a similar phenomenon to the Occupy forum being disrupted ie some people would rather attack those who are closest to them on any given issue.

Some people believe this is a function of collective process and consensus decision-making, whereas I'd say that it's a psychological/personality issue - if only because there are equivalents in other political circles (Republicans whose main beef is with other Republicans who aren't Republican enough, for example).
Posted by James Hutchings on November 15, 2011 at 10:05 PM · Report this
198
@171 (Momo_is_tired), who wrote:

I'm cis-gendered and those words are not mine.


Yes, they are. You know them; they're part of your language, like "table" or "chair". You may choose not to use them (as you might choose not to use "table" or "chair" either), but that doesn't make them any less yours. Or mine, or everybody else's.

It's not fucking hard to stop using words that hurt people or to learn what pronouns someone wants you to call them by.

Yes, it is, because the list keeps changing. Besides, attempting to change the words as if that were tantamount to changing the realities is simply not going to work. New offensive words will replace the ones you eliminate unless you change hearts and minds.

Hearts and minds, not words. Is that really so hard to understand?

By concentrating on words rather than on intentions and on people, you sound like the grammar-and-style police. Or like someone who would say that, since you used the word "fucking" in your comment, then you are a penis-worshipping patriarchal goon (who by the way doesn't understand how "hurtful" the word "fucking" can be). Which of course would miss the point of your comment.

Comments like anklysaurs, that use semantic arguments to demand ownership of words, usually come from people with the self-entitlement that comes from a place of privilege.


One thing I'm sure trans people didn't like is when they were "diagnosed" by bigots who claimed trans people were "dysfunctional" and should learn to accept the bodies they were born with. Didn't this cause suffering?

And yet here you are, diagnosing me, without the slightest idea about what my life was like. You use terms that do not fit it at all, and you think you've made some point. How are you different from transphobic bigots when you do that?

Is that what you call "change"? Let's hope not.

Arguments like this ignore the history of systematic oppression behind these words.

And arguments (actually claims) like yours simply misinterpret this history of systematic oppression -- which is behind (good choice of words: behind) the words, not in them.

You think the whip is guiltier than the whip-master. And you claim to understand their history of oppression?

Words like these make people want to kill themselves.

Other people make people want to kill themselves. They can use words to that purpose, yes. But words -- the very same words -- can also be used to heal. To think that it's the words that cause this rather than people and how they use said words is like saying that the tool does the work, not the worker. That the computer writes your comments, not you.

Do you really think that if bigots simply change their words (and develop new offensive ones), life will get better for trans people?

I want to live in a world where all my friends feel respected.


So do I. Are you sure that what you're doing is helping this come true -- or are you perhaps wasting your time when you worry about words outside of context and intentions?

Is it really worthwhile to whine about some words you should remove from your vocabulary?

Yes, because it counters the idea that by eliminating these words you've achieved something. In fact you've achieved nothing, and the situation of trans people remains as before.

It's all about doing work that really matters as opposed to purely semantic work that doesn't change anything real.

I'd rather spend my time trying to make the spaces I'm in as safe and accessible to everyone as I can,

I do that, too. And I'm trying to tell you that there are better ways of doing that than worrying about word usage out of context.

It's true. There are more meaningful things you can do -- more inclusive, more bridge-building, than (like the old grammar-and-style police) criticize people for word use, thereby creating totally artificial 'enemies' that really aren't your enemy.
More...
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:27 PM · Report this
199
@177(Recognize), I think you're a good example of what kemheron, garconniere, and Momo above failed to do. You still argue that it's the word choice rather than the intention that counts (which I would disagree with) -- but you correctly point out that Dan must make his intentions clear when he uses words, and that "cissy" -- suggesting "sissy" -- can be misinterpreted and thus must be better explained.

I will agree 100% that people must make their intentions as clear as possible. Dan usually does that rather well -- as many have pointed out, there are lots of queerfolk (including trans people) who can thank Dan for making their lives more livable and more open, for making them grow beyond the shame that others wanted to immerse them in.

Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:38 PM · Report this
200
@ravished, who wrote:
Yes, you're fighting for your right to speak on your own terms, but by attacking the right of others (especially allies) to speak on their terms, you're turning people off, because it is basically hypocrisy.


Indeed. Even though I do disagree with your "ideological analysis" (bascially for the same reasons you mentioned: the mere "word" = "bad" equation does not describe reality in a meaningful way), I agree entirely with what you say here.

People do not need to be protected from discomfort. Heterosexuals don't need to be protected from the history of bigotry that mostly heterosexual societies had, for instance.

People need to be accepted as people, respected as people, understood as people. The "discomfort" thing comes from a different worldview.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:43 PM · Report this
201
@ravished, who wrote:
The word "homosexual" is also like that, and sometimes it makes me, as a gay man, uncomfortable to hear it. That does not give me, as a gay man, the right to assume homophobia in the speaker of this word, it does not excuse me from addressing the lived complexity of the person using this word. Also, it does not disallow me, or anyone else who wants to signal alliance, to use this word ironically, edgily, or even straight-faced, depending on the occasion of speaking.


Indeed.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:45 PM · Report this
202
Actually what gets me with his rebuttal is how he responds to the term "freak". Sure, some people are proud to be known as "freaks" like maybe people in the BDSM community, poly, kinky, etc.

However, a lot of us in the trans community do not wish to be labelled as "freaks". If fact, a lot of us work very hard NOT to be considered freaks and we'd much rather just be known as "regular" everyday people that aren't associated with a kink or fetish. We're just born this way, we're just people like anyone else and in fact wish to conform to the binary gender system like the majority.

By calling us freaks, Mr.Savage is assuming that we embrace and want to be a part of being a "freak". Maybe he thinks being a "freak" as a compliment, but I think he's just saying that to dig himself out of a hole. Personally, I find it pretty offensive in general to automatically be associated as a "freak" just for how I was born into this world.
Posted by girloftomorrow on November 15, 2011 at 10:49 PM · Report this
203
@186(ravished), one question. What exactly is your view on the importance of semantics -- do you think that a 'history of oppression' behind a word implies this word is 'bad' (even though you accept others using it)? My point is that since there are other uses than the 'bad' one, it's bad uses (intentions, contexts) one should fight against, not words. From what I see in your comments, your opinion differs somewhat from that. I'd be thankful if you could discuss it in more detail.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:51 PM · Report this
204
@202(girloftomorrow), who wrote:

However, a lot of us in the trans community do not wish to be labelled as "freaks". If fact, a lot of us work very hard NOT to be considered freaks and we'd much rather just be known as "regular" everyday people that aren't associated with a kink or fetish. We're just born this way, we're just people like anyone else and in fact wish to conform to the binary gender system like the majority.


That is actually a fair point, and a thought-provoking one. If indeed many trans people just want to be 'regular folk' and are OK with traditional binary gender distinctions (and all the history of oppresion of sexual minorities), it would seem you're saying you'd be against "freaks" since you don't want to be seen as one of them. Doesn't that tend to support traditional structures of power and gender stereotypes in society -- the kind that make "freaks" suffer?

It seems what you're saying basically is that the "freak" fight is not your fight: trans people would then basically be all-American traditional people (or within 'traditional' limits of divergence) who don't like "freaks" and don't want to be mistaken for them. Is that so?
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 10:58 PM · Report this
girloftomorrow 205
@204(ankylosaur)
"It seems what you're saying basically is that the "freak" fight is not your fight: trans people would then basically be all-American traditional people (or within 'traditional' limits of divergence) who don't like "freaks" and don't want to be mistaken for them. Is that so?"

I'm certainly not speaking for all trans people, but I do think that a large portion of us do wish to conform with the existing gender binaries to some degree. Of course just like sexuality, being transgender is a spectrum, so you'll get a good mix of people and how they identify, but from my experience the majority of trans people I know and have met over the years do wish to present in their preferred binary gender.

I also think trans people who do want to fit into the binary should not be made to feel guilty about doing so. Saying it "supports traditional structures of power" and "make freaks suffer" isn't really fair for people who really just want to fit in and be accepted in mainstream society. I don't think we are trying to prevent the "freaks" from having equal rights and in fact, there are other ways of being trans activists besides being totally out in public. For example, I help moderate a popular Reddit site for trans folks in my spare time.

Posted by girloftomorrow http://www.reddit.com/r/asktransgender/ on November 15, 2011 at 11:08 PM · Report this
206
Mr Ven, I hope you managed to sleep well. Believe me, I did not have in the least the intention of making your rest (or your day) any worse! :-|
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 11:08 PM · Report this
207
@205(girloftomorrow), who wrote:
I also think trans people who do want to fit into the binary should not be made to feel guilty about doing so. Saying it "supports traditional structures of power" and "make freaks suffer" isn't really fair for people who really just want to fit in and be accepted in mainstream society. I don't think we are trying to prevent the "freaks" from having equal rights and in fact, there are other ways of being trans activists besides being totally out in public.


Indeed, it is not fair -- neither for people like you, nor for the "freaks" who do suffer from traditional power and gender-stereotype ways.

I don't think you're any more wrong for trying to fit in mainstream society as any traditional hetereosexual (cis-gendered) person is. When we try to fit in and be accepted, we're not trying to hurt others: we're just trying to find a place for ourselves.

But I cannot forget that the place we find for ourselves is often also shared by people who do have prejudice and who do feed stereotypes about gays, lesbians, kinksters, and the trans people on the opposite end of the spectrum to yours. As I find a place for myself in mainstream society, I don't want to forget that, and I do want to argue in favor of those sexual minorities who still suffer stereotyping. From what you wrote, I gather this is also your position (right?) -- so we're actually in agreement here. It's just that fitting in doesn't mean not fighting against stereotypes.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 15, 2011 at 11:15 PM · Report this
girloftomorrow 208
@207(ankylosaur)
"From what you wrote, I gather this is also your position (right?) -- so we're actually in agreement here. It's just that fitting in doesn't mean not fighting against stereotypes."

Yes it does seem like we're in agreement doesn't it? Completely agree that it still is important to "fight the good fight" even if you're fitting in, going "stealth" or what have you. Like I mentioned before, having a strong online presence is a good way to be an activist but also not out yourself to everyone. Even having noteworthy comments on this article is some small kind of activism in the right direction.
Posted by girloftomorrow http://www.reddit.com/r/asktransgender/ on November 15, 2011 at 11:24 PM · Report this
209
Dan is fighting the good fight. Anyone who would call him transphobic is only detracting from the good fight to draw attention to themselves.
Posted by Amanda on November 16, 2011 at 12:18 AM · Report this
210
Thanks to Ankylosaur for your thoughtful commentary. You're echoing my sentiments exactly. I'd also throw in that I *do* consider myself an allied voice for the trans community, but that as a cis- gay guy, I know what's going to fall flat on the ears of my friends, and that policing the use of words like "tranny" isn't the right way to get folks to stop using it. Social change is not overt. People do not need to "examine" their repressed transphobia (or their racism, or their misogyny, or their homophobia). That mantra must be brought to a firm and decisive end if we are ever to see progress in terms of the social acceptance and safety of queer folks. The fact is simple: attacking the person whose mind you wish to change (e.g.: by calling them a racist, or insinuating you understand something they don't about some -phobia you've diagnosed in them after barely having met them) will fail to achieve a desirable outcome. Every. Single. Time.
Posted by pheeeew!crack!boom! on November 16, 2011 at 1:25 AM · Report this
211
@210, I tend to agree with you. I do think that "repressed transphobia (or racism, or misogyny, or misandry, or homophobia) does exist -- there are people who should look into themselves. But I also think that deducing everything from word usage -- if you said 'tranny' you're transphobic, if you said 'faggot' you're homophobic, etc. -- is ultimately self-defeating: it alienates people who are also fighting the good fight.

And I agree entirely with the idea that attacking people rather than engaging them should be a last resource, only to be used with people who are really doing evil and who really can't be reached in other ways. Attacking indiscriminately, glitter-bombing your allies because of words, not contexts or intentions... that's just so sad.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 16, 2011 at 1:53 AM · Report this
212
Does anyone else find it a little suspicious that these glitter-bombings seem rather organized and none of them are carried out by actual trans people? I mean it's not a completely insane conspiracy to assume that someone (maybe someone not in any way associated with the trans community) may just have a bone to pick with Mr. Savage, or might benefit politically by his being publicly discredited.
Posted by AaronSF on November 16, 2011 at 2:50 AM · Report this
213
Does anyone else find it a little suspicious that these glitter-bombings seem rather organized and none of them are carried out by actual trans people? I mean it's not a completely insane conspiracy to assume that someone (maybe someone not in any way associated with the trans community) may just have a bone to pick with Mr. Savage, or might benefit politically by his being publicly discredited.
Posted by AaronSF on November 16, 2011 at 2:54 AM · Report this
214
Jesus.

Isn't it time, maybe, to detach T from LGB?
Posted by Doot on November 16, 2011 at 3:27 AM · Report this
215
AaronSF: you may notice that Dan Savage managed to get the glitter bombers arrested, which tends to be a particularly dangerous experience for trans people. If cis folk with the privilege not to get so badly harmed once they do inevitably get arrested were willing to do it, more power to them.
Posted by makomk on November 16, 2011 at 4:32 AM · Report this
216
@215, so the fact that they were wrong and ultimately did a disservice to your cause doesn't mean much to you?
Posted by ankylosaur on November 16, 2011 at 6:26 AM · Report this
217
You know, Dan, I've been reading you for a couple years now, and I have to say, I keep hearing about the Dan-Savage-Hates-Trannies posts you made for many years, and the things you say in public. Still, every time I read the actual post in question, I find that most things are very broadly interpreted, or else entirely made up. This time, too, I'm afraid I doubted you again. My apologies sir, you seem to understand how easy it is to get caught up in a mob rush, and that's more understanding than I offered you this time. Keep talkin' your smack! ;)
Posted by Katie F. on November 16, 2011 at 6:28 AM · Report this
218
Dan, I'm a transsexual woman. I think you've been unfairly scapegoated by the trans community and I'm very sorry that has happened. We have been the victims of the most vitriolic attacks by the right lately. I know I've been feeling a little shell-shocked lately. I hope you can understand there are some people who are constantly ready to pounce, 24/7.

If we are a part of the LGB or not, we will continue to be friends with you, to live near you in the same neighborhoods as you and we will continue to shop in some of the same stores as you. We will work tirelessly along side you as we strive to bury DOMA and we will celebrate with you when it's finally, thankfully gone forever.

I love my gay friends. My two best friends are a married gay couple (Iowa!!). When I first came out, they made a safe place for me to take refuge as my life was blowing up all around me. I openly call them my two daddies, because besides my mother, they are the most important people in the world to me. My love for them doesn't depend on their "G" initial sitting close to my "T" initial. They are my friends and I love them.

This country is slowly but surely becoming more and more educated about trans issues. No one is to blame for incomplete information. Even inside the rest of our own community (the L, G and B) education regarding trans folks is mediocre at best.

If we are included or not in the community, in matters not. The migration of my initial away from the giant gay marquee won't stop my friendships, or my love and solidarity with all of you.

Love,

Zoey
Posted by atrivialgirl on November 16, 2011 at 6:33 AM · Report this
219
Dan, I'm a transsexual woman. I think you've been unfairly scapegoated by the trans community and I'm very sorry that has happened. We have been the victims of the most vitriolic attacks by the right lately. I know I've been feeling a little shell-shocked lately. I hope you can understand there are some people who are constantly ready to pounce, 24/7.

If we are a part of the LGB or not, we will continue to be friends with you, to live near you in the same neighborhoods as you and we will continue to shop in some of the same stores as you. We will work tirelessly along side you as we strive to bury DOMA and we will celebrate with you when it's finally, thankfully gone forever.

I love my gay friends. My two best friends are a married gay couple (Iowa!!). When I first came out, they made a safe place for me to take refuge as my life was blowing up all around me. I openly call them my two daddies, because besides my mother, they are the most important people in the world to me. My love for them doesn't depend on their "G" initial sitting close to my "T" initial. They are my friends and I love them.

This country is slowly but surely becoming more and more educated about trans issues. No one is to blame for incomplete information. Even inside the rest of our own community (the L, G and B) education regarding trans folks is mediocre at best.

If we are included or not in the community, in matters not. The migration of my initial away from the giant gay marquee won't stop my friendships, or my love and solidarity with all of you.

Love,

Zoey
Posted by atrivialgirl on November 16, 2011 at 6:37 AM · Report this
220
Sorry, noob mistake.

Z
Posted by atrivialgirl on November 16, 2011 at 6:38 AM · Report this
221
One of things that I've noted over the years of my colleagues on the Left is that the more ideological and purist ones are infinitely more happy attacking people who agree with them on almost everything than they are attacking people who agree with them on almost nothing. It's easier to bully your friends than your enemies, no? The friends may concede a point to maintain the alliance. The enemies will tell you to f* off.

Posted by seeker6079 on November 16, 2011 at 7:06 AM · Report this
222

I am so sorry Dan that you need to deal with this crap. Your a great person who has done so much for the world and have TONS of support from trans people.

I use the word she-male, Guess what my trans women friends use that word. We can use that word if we want.You can empower a word by taking it back-duh! There is a bigger fight out there and your doing it.

Hate within the LGBTQ community is getting bigger and bigger and if this community was smart they would realize that there is strength in numbers. Direct your anger at the people who need it not the ones who are doing amazing things for the world.

Sending you a big hug buddy. Your awesome.
WOOF!
Buck Angel
Pioneering Filmmaker, Speaker, and Advocate
Posted by Buck Angel on November 16, 2011 at 7:35 AM · Report this
223

I am so sorry Dan that you need to deal with this crap. Your a great person who has done so much for the world and have TONS of support from trans people.

I use the word she-male, Guess what my trans women friends use that word. We can use that word if we want.You can empower a word by taking it back-duh! There is a bigger fight out there and your doing it.

Hate within the LGBTQ community is getting bigger and bigger and if this community was smart they would realize that there is strength in numbers. Direct your anger at the people who need it not the ones who are doing amazing things for the world.

Sending you a big hug buddy. Your awesome.
WOOF!
Buck Angel
Pioneering Filmmaker, Speaker, and Advocate
Posted by Buck Angel on November 16, 2011 at 7:38 AM · Report this
224
Dan,

I really respected your defense - very resonable - until I read your "Update 3". You're basically saying "I talked to a transman, so clearly I'm not transphobic." ...Just like the old "I have gay friends, I'm not homophobic!" excuse that we all cringe to hear from people who are indeed homophobic.

Be careful with this defense, as just because one transperson agrees with you or conversed with you doesn't mean the community at large will - And, you know this, of course, but your paragraph about this conversation with a transman does not reflect that. You may not be transphobic, but if your goal is to spread awareness and promote acceptance of the trans community, consider how you are modeling this as an example to others. Defensiveness isn't always the best way to go about this.

Sincerely,
Casey K, Wisconsin
Posted by cmk21 on November 16, 2011 at 8:24 AM · Report this
225
Dan,

I really respected your defense - very resonable - until I read your "Update 3". You're basically saying "I talked to a transman, so clearly I'm not transphobic." ...Just like the old "I have gay friends, I'm not homophobic!" excuse that we all cringe to hear from people who are indeed homophobic.

Be careful with this defense, as just because one transperson agrees with you or conversed with you doesn't mean the community at large will - And, you know this, of course, but your paragraph about this conversation with a transman does not reflect that. You may not be transphobic, but if your goal is to spread awareness and promote acceptance of the trans community, consider how you are modeling this as an example to others. Defensiveness isn't always the best way to go about this.

Sincerely,
Casey K, Wisconsin
Posted by cmk21 on November 16, 2011 at 8:26 AM · Report this
226
Dan, I'm also a trans woman who has fairly mixed opinions on your treatment of trans issues. I think you can do better, given that your realm of influence is admirably large and your communication skills are amongst the best out there. Having said that, I wouldn't have voted in the T secret ballot for a glitter bombing campaign.

What I do appreciate is that you have stated clearly that this incident should not be used as an opportunity for collective trans bashing overall. What bothers me is how this event, inappropriate or not, has been seized upon by certain people to vent their ire against transfolk overall. Reading some of these comment, quick in coming and fierce in disgust, might give non-trans people a bigger sense as to why we might seem a little bit sensitive. We're well aware of the animosity that is barely under the surface, both in broader society and within the queer community as well. Much thanks to the many, many people who called out these bigoted comments -- yes, bigoted, even if from a gay male -- for what they were.
Posted by Emily_SSSSS on November 16, 2011 at 8:51 AM · Report this
227
@225: Casey... I included that detail, at that point, because people were jumping down the throats of trans people. The point wasn't that I have trans friends—and I do, but I haven't dragged them into this—but that all trans people are not, as some were suggesting in blog comments, irrational or unreasonable.
Posted by Dan Savage on November 16, 2011 at 9:10 AM · Report this
Bonefish 228
Aah, college "activism." Where people are more concerned with appearing "more radical than thou" than they are with actually getting anything done.

If you want to be a real radical, kiddies, go to any town with a large "Occupy" crowd, break into the police station, and replace their pepper spray with silly string. Glittering an obvious trans ally for still using last week's PC terminology rather than this week's PC terminology is not activism. It's pedantic attention whoring. Learn the difference.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on November 16, 2011 at 9:41 AM · Report this
judgmentalist 229
@195: Did you make up 'lexophobic'? Because if you did, you're a genius.
Posted by judgmentalist on November 16, 2011 at 9:48 AM · Report this
230
@230 (ankylosaur): hope this is not too long and dry (and it's already summarised):

Intention implies that the speaker has knowledge and control over what s/he means, and also the kind of person s/he is. But words often exceed our intention (e.g. the words "Some of my best friends are trans" exceed good intention).

Basically, it's not the words or the intention that I'm interested in, but the fantasy of a "self" that we read into someone's words - i.e. the "Dan" that we project our desires onto, something he hasn't much control over.

With some of the transpeople here who are critics of Dan, I think they are projecting onto Dan their desire for self-actualisation; they want Dan, a popular public figure, to disseminate their self-image, as dictated on their terms. And when Dan refuses to do exactly as they desire, frustration arises, as any unrequited desire. (Even gay men, rich white gay American men, after decades of work, can't guarantee that kind of public self-actulisation.)

We all do this projection trick - to Dan, to anyone else - we round people up to one, as Dan would say; out of his many words, we selectively construct a Dan that suits our own purposes. As another example, the cleverness of a comedian like Louis CK is not in his intentions, but in creating a huge zone of ambiguity, and we are left with the mental gymnastics of working out where we can sit (semi-)comfortably in relation to his words.

All this relativist "reading" is good and fine, but when some people who claim to speak for trans community (true or not) forcefully project a reading of Dan that may harm good work done in service of social justice, then that's worth fighting over. They have the right to read Dan in that way; but when they project that reading into the public in a way that shuts out allies, then they either must declare a break in the alliance (which is their right) or shut up.

The flipside is that, if both sides can buy into the notion that we each have the right to be someone not quite what the other desires, there will be more respect, autonomy and strength. This goes both ways, btw, and I have pointed out before that members of the dominant gay culture has a lot of work to do.

Another point to make about semantics, is that if we don't accept the premise that words can exceed intention, then we also shouldn't criticise Dan's detractors here, because, as many have pointed out, their heart is in the right place too.
More...
Posted by ravished on November 16, 2011 at 10:08 AM · Report this
231
You are a target because you have cameras and name recognition. You are also a "Soft target" because it is unlikely that you'll press charges and very likely that you'll write and speak about what happens to emphasize trans-rights.

Now the other aspect, the character assassination and smearing, is a product of another line of shit-disturberism. Frankly the people behind that should be concerned about libel an defamation but again, because you are a soft target, know you won't press charges but will still ink/type/mp3 data about the topic.
Posted by MarkLuskin on November 16, 2011 at 11:46 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 232
@226: "What bothers me is how this event, inappropriate or not, has been seized upon by certain people to vent their ire against transfolk overall."

The inappropriate nature of standing by ideology and hearsay over reality and deed is what has been "seized upon". Continuing to focus on the inappropriate rather than Dan's actual words is what makes this a laughable and unproductive protest.

You're all saying "but dan's REALLY transphobic if you'd only listen!" but not actually criticizing him, just passively endorsing and making excuses for the glitterati.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 16, 2011 at 12:18 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 233
And by that I mean nobody's bringing up specifics to address, just vague insinuations that you conveniently refuse to back up.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM · Report this
234
@ravished, thanks for your comment! You wrote:

The flipside is that, if both sides can buy into the notion that we each have the right to be someone not quite what the other desires, there will be more respect, autonomy and strength. This goes both ways, btw, and I have pointed out before that members of the dominant gay culture has a lot of work to do.


That I certainly agree with. Understanding the complexity of other people goes in the direction of humanizing the debate, because we see a similarity in the very fact that we all have the right to be "not quite what the other desires".

But a lot of your comment seemed to be about relativism, and words going beyond intentions. Are you trying to make the point that there is no "true" Dan that one could recuperate from his words -- i.e., there are no intentions, only interpretations, "selfs" that we project, such that only mensurable effects in the outside world ('shutting out allies') are to be comparable?

I mean, it should be an objective question whether or not Dan is transphobic, and whether or not the UCI incident is evidence of transphobia. But the relativism you described would seem to belie that. Or am I misinterpreting you?

I agree with your opinion on Louie C.K., by the way -- my take on him is that he is a wizard at creating situations that force you to think all the way to the very extremes of your definitions (including whether or not evil and good can be separated -- I'm thinking of that episode in which Louie C.K. was an advocate for masturbation, a very difficult one to watch.)
Posted by ankylosaur on November 16, 2011 at 12:25 PM · Report this
235
Dan Savage is a liar. It was I who glittered him in Eugene, and I am a trans woman.
Posted by rose_pedals on November 16, 2011 at 2:26 PM · Report this
236
@235, why?
Posted by ankylosaur on November 16, 2011 at 2:46 PM · Report this
237
@236, Dan Savage's oppressive tendencies towards trans people and various other groups are well documented elsewhere on the internet. Google it.

If you meant, "Why is Dan Savage a liar?" It's because I'm trans, yet he claims I'm cis.
Posted by rose_pedals on November 16, 2011 at 2:58 PM · Report this
238
@235, so basically, you little shit, if YOU happen to think that someone is guilty of "oppressive tendencies", then it's just peachy for you to have a go at her/him (and not just with glitter, either, that big glass jar you chucked at him is public knowledge now, as well). So, the next time you're feeling so righteous, there, Rose is Rotten, I sincerely hope someone gets enough corroborative evidence of your actions that you get your chance to be a prisoner of false consciousness for a while. God knows you're itching for it.
Posted by Seriously, what a contemptible display on November 16, 2011 at 3:23 PM · Report this
239
@237, I've googled it. They're mostly misinterpretations or things he's already abandoned publically. If not, please mention one I may have missed.

He didn't know that you were the person involved, and his claim was based on falty information. He's not a liar because of that; he would only be a liar if he knew you personally, and knew you were a transgender, and yet said you weren't.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 16, 2011 at 3:40 PM · Report this
240
@238, Actually it was a light plastic jar, but whatever. I didn't particularly mean to throw it at him; it was just the direction I threw it on instinct. But I wouldn't have minded if it did hit him, even if it were all heavy and glass and dangerous. Yes, I'm a crazy insurrecto-bitch.
Posted by rose_pedals on November 16, 2011 at 3:49 PM · Report this
241
@ 237 What difference does it make if you are Trans or not, what matters is that your an idiot Rose. Grow the fuck up and take a look at who our real enemies are. It ain't Dan Savage. Stop acting like a spoiled little brat we got bigger fish to fry.
Posted by Travelingman Rick on November 16, 2011 at 3:54 PM · Report this
ThomZ0rz 242
@240 So, okay, you're down with physically hurting people who disagree with you. You are SO cool.

Or, you're not actually who you claim to be. Seems more likely.
Posted by ThomZ0rz on November 16, 2011 at 3:56 PM · Report this
243
@240 - Is "Bitch" okay to use or is that a no-no? It's hard to keep up what terms have been co-opted to empower and which ones make you sad. Maybe make helpful T-Shirts or something so people know? I think it might just be helpful if you grew up a little bit, but then would you still get to be all "crazy" and "anarchy"? Keep racking up the student loan debt down there in Eugene so you have something to be angry about at OWS.
Posted by McNutt on November 16, 2011 at 3:56 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 244
@237: "Dan Savage's oppressive tendencies towards trans people and various other groups are well documented elsewhere on the internet. Google it."

Lazy, unconcerned, but attention-seeking activists are the worst.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 16, 2011 at 4:04 PM · Report this
245
@240

"Yes, I'm a crazy insurrecto-bitch"

Yeah, right...what you are is a bit of dog-shit on the shoe soles of radicalism, which is really no surprise-after all, Andre 3000 told us what roses really smell like a long time ago...
Posted by I pity your bandmates on November 16, 2011 at 4:23 PM · Report this
246
Yes, I'm dog shit. I'm fake. I'm everything you hate. I'm everything you don't give two shits about. Wheee.
Posted by rose_pedals on November 16, 2011 at 4:40 PM · Report this
247
@246(rose_pedals), I don't think so. I think you're simply wrong. Wheee.
Posted by ankylosaur on November 16, 2011 at 4:45 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 248
@246: Congratulations for covering a gay man in glitter.
Posted by undead ayn rand on November 16, 2011 at 4:50 PM · Report this
249
A suggestion to people criticising Rose Pedals: Her identity is rooted in being rejected (see @246). Don't play her game, however contemptible and objectionable her action was. (And there is always the chance of misreportage - glass jar? plastic jar? Cis ally, actual trans? "Truth" is lost to the war of words.) Engage with her calmly, and strictly with facts. As Dan has done. Don't give her the satisfaction of confirming her rejectedness.

@234 (ankylosaur): I'm not a semantic atheist, but merely (perhaps cowardly) agnostic: bound by language as we are, the moment we reach towards an objective "self", something else exceeds it. "Self", like "God", is a ruse _around_ which we speak. For all we know, Dan could be a transphobic "at heart" (whatever that means); as he conversed to the trans person he could be wrestling "ick" feelings inside. Or he could be secretly wanting to fuck her. He could be feeling ick _and_ wanting to fuck her. None of this matters to us.

Spanish Inquisitions and Maoist "struggles" are aimed at finding out whether someone "is" or "is" not, really, truly, existentially, "at heart", on the right side of the ideological line. The rest of us knows that's impossible. These glitter bombers and people supporting them seem to want to hold an Inquisition on Dan.
Posted by ravished on November 16, 2011 at 7:10 PM · Report this
250
I'm sorry, but anyone who says, "Ooh, I'm so superior to that bigot WHO I THREW A GLASS JAR AT AND COULD HAVE SERIOUSLY INJURED because he says mean things!" really just earns an eye roll from me.

If you're going to up the anti from "mean words" to "and I'm going to put you in physical danger," I really have no interest in anything you have to say. I will not reward violence.
Posted by Lorran on November 16, 2011 at 7:31 PM · Report this
251
Oh good, she's joined the party with a lampshade on her head and all the whees, mehs, and monkey-cheese wackiness of any Eugene mallgoth. What a daring genderpunk and not at all a trans-jock lunkhead.
Posted by Omgsopunxxx on November 16, 2011 at 7:33 PM · Report this
252
@249, but if "Self", like "God", is a ruse around which we speak, what is it that we criticize when we criticize someone's intentions? How can we even talk about intentions (such an important concept for ideas like freedom and democracy) if there is nothing to anchor them on?

We're not always the Spanish Inquisition (cue to the famous Monty Python sketch) when we criticize someone's intentions. There is a sense in which such criticism can be accurate. Do you agree? If so, what would this sense be, in your view?

(I'm not counter-arguing, by the way, I'm just really interested in the ideas you're describing and would like to understand them better. Maybe you have a blog or something like that?)
Posted by ankylosaur on November 16, 2011 at 8:36 PM · Report this
253
Seven "updates"?

my our little Danny is just beside himself.

Danny and Newt.

Glitter Bomb Hissy Queens.......
Posted by quick! fetch Daniel's smelling salts!!! on November 17, 2011 at 6:17 AM · Report this
254
Ace Reporter Dan Savage hard at work.....

It wasn't even a trans that attacked him.!
no; wait- it WAS a trans.

and they were arrested but it sure wasn't Danny's fault.
No, sorry; they were detained.
and waterboarded. but never arrested...
oh-sorry gang- turns out they were taken out back and shot.
but dammit they deserved it.
cause.....
cause they threw an iron anvil at Danny's head!
No wait, it was a heavy jar!
no, hang on fans; it seems it was a light plastic jar....
no...no....this story is still developing-
wait; it was a baggie!
the possibly trans assailant threw an empty sandwich baggie at Danny"s head!
OMG! he could have been killed!!
Posted by DanFans never tire of being punked by Danny on November 17, 2011 at 6:19 AM · Report this
255
@249 You've hit the nail on the head. Reminds me of an exchange between Clive Owen & Jude Law in the movie "Closer":

Law: Everybody wants to be happy.
Owen: Depressives don't. They want to be unhappy to confirm they're depressed. If they were happy they couldn't be depressed anymore. They'd have to go out into the world and live. Which can be depressing.

As someone who spent 30+ years being rejected before getting my act together I can say that things were much, much easier when I was being rejected for something I have very little control over. You get used to it. You know where you stand. There's no validation for for getting your shit together. In fact, there's a bit of rejection from people like Rose Pedal who insist it's your fault they're miserable. Vicious circle that.. With relative happiness comes responsibility. With rejection there's a built in excuse for every woe that befalls you.
Posted by capricorn44 on November 17, 2011 at 6:43 AM · Report this
256
@254: Trans-advocates and the anonymous horrible, white supremacist racists. Working together for a better tomorrow!
Posted by both with too much fucking time on their hands on November 17, 2011 at 9:02 AM · Report this
257
@252: hey ankylosaurus, sorry I can't sustain the rhythm of online conversations, I'll just borrow this space once more to reply.

Reading the other thread, and your examples of the Romanian cheater and black mugger (?), it seems we have quite different understandings of power, oppression and trauma.

Both sides in this argument feel they've been wronged. Dan's side has suffered an act of human nastiness. But the trans community is talking about a different kind of wrong, a structural harm that cannot be pinned down to individual blame. This particular bunch of trans protestors, however, have reverted to the mental habit of imagining "intention" and "individual guilt", that they're reduced structural oppression to specific words uttered by specific people. I think both sides have conflated the two kinds of wrong doing, to the detriment of dialogue and alliance.

Again, I wrote a lot which I have now deleted, about apartheid and ubuntu and white liberals and the Holocaust and Schindler's List, to illustrate the difficulty of intention and the insignificance of insisting whether someone has the right or wrong intention. But in my present sleep-deprived state of mind I can't seem to make things relate to one another, so I can only feebly leave this last comment as a statement rather than a discussion. And you're welcome to reply and I'll read it gladly but I don't think I will reply. But thanks for the conversation today, hope to chat to you again on this board. :)
Posted by ravished on November 17, 2011 at 10:18 AM · Report this
258
@ravished, the pleasure is mine! It's always good to talk to someone who is actually interested in listening and thinking about what is being said. It doesn't matter that our ideas are different. My ideas can change (they have several times already, in my life). Your perspective looks intriguing enough that I would like to know more about it.

I understand the difference you make between the trans community talking about a structural harm and this particular bunch of trans protesters blaming one individual. But since the trans community itself was in this case concerned with Dan Savage and whether or not he should be condemned, there is a link between both. What structural harm does Dan Savage mean for the trans community? Or are you perhaps talking about structural harm that goes beyond Dan and what he has or hasn't written and done about trans people?

I am sorry that you deleted so much that sounds quite interesting (and well within my current range of philosophical-humanistic interests). Any chance of finding any of your writing in any obvious sources?

You probably won't answer to that, as you said, but I wanted to say it was actually good to hear your voice here. I do hope we'll chat again, and that I'll get to hear more about your intriguing views. See ya! :-)
Posted by ankylosaur on November 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM · Report this
259
The infighting within the LGBT community is ridiculous. We are attacking our allies because of our own identity issues.

For some reason this reminds of the use of the "queer." The word "queer" has become an accepted term within the LGBT community and often serves as a simplified way to refer to the community as a whole. However, I know older gay men who cringe whenever I use the term in their presence. "Queer" used to be a very derogatory term that was against homosexuals. However, the LGBT community has taken the word and owned it. Perhaps it's time that the trans community takes back the term "shemale." Perhaps its time for the trans community to stop attacking their biggest supporters and allies. We love you for who you are and we want you to be happy in your bodies and in your lives and we support you 100%. Not stop hating on your own community.
Posted by zeyboo on November 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM · Report this
260
Dan, remember that really, at the end of the day, you have no control over what other people may think or how they behave. People are going to think, say and do things for a myriad of reasons, due to issues in their background, their personality, hell their hormone levels. Rest assured that you are (and you are seen), as a shining light and warrior in the push for getting persons who may in some manner fall outside of the bell curve, more rights and be more accepted into society - and you do it with compassion, albeit with a sprinkle of off-beat humour from time to time. The fact that this person or persons fail to grasp this notion, shows that their views are an aberration (you sure the whole thing wasn't staged by some right wing Republicans?). Don't take it to heart and let the incident slide off into the muck where it belongs - keep trudging forward.

Perhaps the main take-a-way is that you are no longer the fresh faced not-to-be-taken-seriously 'hey faggot', but have attained some level of celebrityhood, so in the future, be sure to take sufficient measures to protect your physical security.
Posted by bagel on November 17, 2011 at 6:04 PM · Report this
261
Lot's of crazy nuts on here spreading all kinds of silly, bold-faced LIES about Dan Savage. What the Hell is wrong with some of you folks?! We do have real, serious enemies to deal with, you know. Damn!
Posted by DamosA on November 18, 2011 at 2:50 AM · Report this
eastcoastreader 262
yikes! I'm glad you ducked the jar!
Posted by eastcoastreader on November 18, 2011 at 11:29 AM · Report this
263
@228 Your ideas are intriguing to me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
Posted by issa on November 18, 2011 at 2:38 PM · Report this
264
Yo Dan. I'm a gay trans woman. After reading more about this, I've had a slight change of heart.

It sucks that you even used the word shemale outside of the quote, and though I get that your definition of the word freak is really positive or whatever, it just sucks to see those words used to describe us so frequently. That's why it hurts, because the rest of society doesn't associate those words with positivity. 99% of the time freak and shemale are used in a really base and pejorative way. And it sucks. It sucks because the people that I work with get exposure to all this and think Its cool to use those words, and that it's somehow OK to regard my sexuality as freaky because it slightly differs from theirs, or JUST because I'm trans. It fucking sucks to be objectified like that. My sexuality is really, really vanilla. As in not freaky. Blaaah.

Anyway, I just want you to know that it really hurts me when you say those words, even in the context that you did, because I walk in those shoes every day nahmeen? I don't give a fuck about the radical queer activists that did this to you. The Eugene people sound like they suck anyway. I'm glad you didn't get hit, and I understand that you did this without ill intentions.

I think you do some great work Dan, just keep in mind that it isn't some esoteric PC battle your fucking with when you say shit like that. You effect my life with the shit say pretty regularly, because you're popular as fuck.

Ugh.
Posted by SummerRobin on November 18, 2011 at 3:23 PM · Report this
KaraC 265
Glitter bombing Dan simply sends a message to the wider public that the LGBTQ community is deeply divided. If people have issues with Dan's language they should take it up with him in the form of a discussion. It seems unlikely to me that he is being deliberately offensive. These actions achieve nothing when the target is someone like Dan - infighting is the last thing we need, since we get more than enough hatred from the others.
Posted by KaraC http://www.facebook.com/karaconnor1 on November 18, 2011 at 7:55 PM · Report this
266
Oh, dear me. My community certainly attracts the deeply disturbed, doesn't it? I think they call it 'co-morbidity'. Even our allies are radicals who would rather burn down Parliament than debate within its walls.

Let's give Danny the Voltaire treatment, okay? Disagree with what he says if you must, but defend unto the death, etc. In the meantime, what's wrong with minding our manners? Temper tantrums are so dreadfully boring.

Also: assault with a deadly weapon (a glass jar can be easily classified as such by any freshman ADA) is a particularly stupid way to make a point.

Posted by MichelleRose on November 19, 2011 at 12:12 AM · Report this
Robert R 267
Thank you Summer Robin (265) and Dan and everyone. It's a mind opening event.

Rose Pedals. Thank you for your passion but not your crazy wishing a glass jar hit Dan! OMFG.

This is not about Dan. This is about you, me, everyone. Dan can and should use his culture's language in these settings where people know freaky is a loving term. We all have loose lips when we are with our fellows. This is all about us! Dan just got caught in the middle. Look at the context and setting. This was an event mostly with his fan club.

Dan is much more in self control when using language on forums and spaces that are not gay friendly. Dan is just like us!

Dan is humble. I'm guessing he knows the dialog that comes from these blogs and the work he inspires (itgetsbetter) is the real effort needed to travel the road to gay and sexuality liberation. It's about the journey. Why travel hating those who support you?

Reporters use an AP style guide to build a common language and avoid stereotypes that hurt. Perhaps Dan and other gay writers should come up with a sex positive style guide. Still, he's not bound by anyone to form to your professional standards all the time.

my 2 cents. The 267+ comments are an amazing lesson worth saving.
Posted by Robert R on November 20, 2011 at 8:14 PM · Report this
268
@rose pedals: Could you please explain what goal you intended to accomplish by throwing glitter (and then a jar) at Dan? I ask that when you explain, do not use metaphors or vague language like "he has spat on our community and he needs to learn from his mistakes" but please use
a) specific examples of exact words he has said or not said, exact actions he has taken or not taken
b) the exact ways in which these words and actions have hurt you and
c) why you chose to glitterbomb him at a conference as your preferred mode of fixing the problem.

The person who called you dog-shit is acting like a child. I'm asking you to seriously explain why you're upset and why you think your actions were justified.
Posted by Username on November 22, 2011 at 3:40 PM · Report this
269
Woops, I submitted the wrong comment just a second ago. Please change "as your preferred mode of fixing the problem." to "your preferred mode of ADDRESSING the problem."
Posted by Username on November 22, 2011 at 3:43 PM · Report this
270
Dan, as a trans-woman and a human being, you are not transphobic, and I do believe the few trans folk out there that vilify you are doing so unjustly, with both eyes wide shut.

Please do not judge the trans community as a whole over the actions of the few squeaky wheels out there! The majority are silent - an ever pervasive and common fact. Whereas I will not speak for anyone other than myself, I can tell you that I firmly believe that as far as this transsexual, and those whom have shared with me their opinion regarding you, all of us think you are wonderful and deeply appreciate all that you do!

Posted by Valerie on January 30, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
271
Dan, as a trans-woman and a human being, you are not transphobic, and I do believe the few trans folk out there that vilify you are doing so unjustly, with both eyes wide shut.

Please do not judge the trans community as a whole over the actions of the few squeaky wheels out there! The majority are silent - an ever pervasive and common fact. Whereas I will not speak for anyone other than myself, I can tell you that I firmly believe that as far as this transsexual, and those whom have shared with me their opinion regarding you, all of us think you are wonderful and deeply appreciate all that you do!

Posted by Valerie on January 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM · Report this
272
@265 "sends a message to the wider public that the LGBTQ community is deeply divided."
wow it's almost as if we're a group of ACTUAL people with opinions that sometimes clash and not a monolith or something. fancy that this is what you want to /give up/ so as to appeal the people who "really" hate us.
Posted by not a human? on October 30, 2012 at 11:51 PM · Report this
273
So many transphobic comments. And lots of ageism too. Coincidence? I think not. This is why your generation has sucked at getting anything relative done. Make way old dudes. We young people, we got this. And we don't need you.
Posted by Intersectionality. Practice It Or You Aren't An Activist. on December 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
274
That's right, it's usually the fault of the people being targeted. Women complaining about misogyny? Whiners. Brown people complaining about civil rights? Trouble makers. Trans, queer and straight people complaining about transphobia? Here is the real face of the gay community. Spoiled, privileged and with a xenophobic hair trigger, of course from being conditioned to be victims themselves. Victims will always be inclined to victimize. Don't even dare to try to bring awareness to the ugly side of beautiful gay people. They will make you sorry.
Posted by Rose Heels on December 19, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this

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