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Saturday, June 7, 2014

About That Hate Crime I Committed at University of Chicago

Posted by on Sat, Jun 7, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Let's play let's pretend, shall we? (I realize we played let's pretend earlier this week, Slog, but indulge me.)

Let's pretend that I'm standing in line at Starbucks with a straight friend and we're having an animated conversation. There are two trans activists standing in line behind us—let's pretend they're trans activists with a social media presence—and they overhear me tell my straight friend that I met a trans person earlier that same day at a seminar. "I got into an argument with it," I say to my cishet friend. "It was so full of shit. It insisted that I was in the wrong and you should've seen the look on its face when I tried to engage it in a conversation about the point it was making. Because, man, it had its head up its ass."

In less time than it would take me to order tea the two trans activists behind me would be tweeting out quotes and launching an online petition condemning the hate speech they were overhearing me use in line at Starbucks. Because referring to a trans person as "it"—not he or she or zim or zer or them or their, but it, a thing, an object—is the worst thing you call a trans person after "tranny." Some would argue that "it" is worse than "tranny" because "tranny" is sometimes used by trans people affectionately or ironically. (When I posted this picture of me in drag on Instagram, for example, Kate Bornstein, the trans activist, author, icon, and a "Savage Love" guest expert for nearly twenty years (!) wrote this in the comment thread: "Aw, see? You ARE a dear tranny!") I've heard shock jocks and bigots and bashers dehumanize trans people by calling them "it," but I have never in my life heard a trans person refer to another trans person as "it"—not in jest, not as a putdown, not once, not ever.

So "it" is an anti-trans slur and it's arguably the worst anti-trans slur. Got it? Okay, hold that thought.

In the weeks before I was accused of committing an anti-trans hate crime at U of C and denounced as a transphobic bigot by a couple grandstanding (transtanding?) drama queens kings monarchs, I curated a five-night speakers series at the Pen World Voices Festival in New York City that featured a trans woman. (All the speakers were women except me—misandry!) I was one of four executive producers of an online video series profiling seven prominent LGBT Americans—including a trans woman. (Laverne Cox's video isn't up yet. But please go check out the amazing videos featuring Jason Collins, Jayne Lynch, and Tegan and Sara.) I invited M. Dru Levasseur, a trans activist, attorney, and cofounder of the Jim Collins Foundation, an organization that funds gender-confirming surgeries for trans people, to give advice to a woman dating a trans man in "Savage Love," and I taped an episode of the "Savage Lovecast" with trans activist, writer, and porn star Buck Angel, who gives advice to a lesbian about loving her fiance through—and being open to marrying him after—his transition. I realize this comes off as defensive—but, hey, I'm defending myself here. Suffice it to say: If this how transphobes roll... the trans community could use more transphobes like me.

Okay, so here's what went down at U of C: I was invited to speak at the Institute of Politics (IOP) by visiting fellow Ana Marie Cox, Dowager Wonkette, columnist for the Guardian, talking head on MSNBC, and one of the stars of Twitter. IOP seminars are off-the-record affairs. Participants—speakers included—agree not to write, blog, or tweet about what is discussed during these closed-door sessions. The IOP wants high-profile political and media figures to speak openly and candidly with its students and this confidentiality agreement is designed to facilitate honest discussions—sometimes brutally honest discussions. Before the seminar began Cox told me that some queer students were upset that I had been invited to speak because, you see, I am an anti-trans bigot and my presence at U of C was potentially traumatizing to trans students. These students were coming to the seminar. (No queer students objected to Sen. Rick Santorum's appearance at the IOP earlier in the same week.)

IMG_7142.jpg

I've hesitated to write about the controversy over my remarks until now because I wanted to abide by the confidentiality agreement. But with Reason, National Review, U of C's student newspaper, the Drudge Report, and Glenn Beck all over it—and with two student participants having already violated the confidentiality agreement (they told organizers that the confidentiality agreement was voided when I "committed a hate crime")—I suppose I'm no longer bound by it.

Anyway, Cox moderated and we spoke with roughly fifty IOP students about social media, writing, activism, the "It Gets Better" campaign, the santorum neologism, and the differences, as I see them, between rightwing activism and leftwing activism. Shortly into the talk Cox asked me about the controversy around my use of the word "tranny" in "Savage Love," a word I stopped using in 2011 (the same year, it seems, that trans activist Carman Carrera, who strongly objects to the use of the word, stopped using the word herself). I talked about why the word was problematic, why some object to its use, where I see double standards, and the LGBT community's long history of reclaiming hate words. Most of the students at the seminar were surprised to learn that "queer" used to be considered a hate term. Queer Nation activists in the early 1990s successfully reclaimed the word—hence queer studies programs, queer student groups, and the popularity of "LGBTQ"—but some older gays and lesbians vehemently object to the use of the word "queer." I also spoke about "tranny" in the specific context of "Savage Love." Faggot, dyke, queer, sissy, tranny, breeder—all these words appeared in "Savage Love" from the start. With the exception of "tranny," all still do. I stopped using "tranny" in "Savage Love" and on the podcast after young trans activists began objecting to its use. (Somehow no one seems to give a shit that lesbian gay elders object to the use of the word "queer.")

Oh, and the name of the U of C LGBT student group that objected to my appearance on campus? Queers United In Power (QUIP). Anyway...

If I had scolded my readers for using "faggot" and then allowed readers to toss "tranny" around, that would've been hypocritical. But in the column, which got its start in the early 1990s when Queer Nation was out there agitating in favor of reclaiming hate terms, readers were invited to address me as faggot. For nearly a decade every letter to "Savage Love" began with the salutation "Hey, Faggot." Some readers used the term affectionately, some used it hatefully, demonstrating that intent, not a particular string of letters, makes a word hateful. (Here's an email that came in yesterday: "Dan, you fucking fag! Here I am, at work, quietly listening to the American Savage audiobook when you read about the death of your mother. My throat blocks, my eyes swell with tears. AT WORK. It is a beautiful story. I just should have listened to it at home. P.S. What can I do as a straight male to help your cause?" OMG a straight guy who loves my work just called me a fag—I suppose that's a hate crime.)

I never suggested that the trans community ought to reclaim "tranny." I wasn't giving orders to the trans community. Just sharing a little queer history with IOP students in a confidential, off-the-record conversation.

During this part of the talk a student interrupted and asked me to stop using "the t-slur." (I guess it's not the t-word anymore. I missed the memo.) My use of it—even while talking about why I don't use the word anymore, even while speaking of the queer community's history of reclaiming hate words, even as I used other hate words—was potentially traumatizing. I stated that I didn't see a difference between saying "tranny" in this context and saying "t-slur." Were I to say "t-slur" instead of "tranny," everyone in the room would auto-translate "t-slur" to "tranny" in their own heads. Was there really much difference between me saying it and me forcing everyone in the room to say it quietly to themselves? That would be patronizing, infantilizing, and condescending. Cox gamely jumped in and offered that she had used "tranny" in the past but that she now recognizes its harm and has stopped using it. The student who objected interrupted: as neither Cox nor I were trans, "tranny" was not our word to use—not even in the context of a college seminar, not even when talking about why we don't use the word anymore. I asked the student who objected if it was okay for me to use the words "dyke" and "sissy." After a moment's thought the student said I could use those words—permission granted—and that struck me a funny because I am not a lesbian nor am I particularly effeminate. (And, really, this is college now? Professors, fellows, and guest lecturers need to clear their vocabulary with first-year students?) By the not-your-word-to-use standard, I shouldn't be able to use dyke or sissy either—or breeder, for that matter, as that's a hate term for straight people. (Or maybe it's an acknowledgment of their utility? Anyway...)

This student became so incensed by our refusal to say "How high?" when this student said "Jump!" that this student stormed out of the seminar. In tears. As one does when one doesn't get one's way. In college.

Okay, gang, remember our let's pretend game at the top of the post? What's one of the worst things you can call a trans person? What's arguably worse than the "t-slur" itself? It. After the student who challenged, interrupted, and yelled at me and Cox stormed out of the room, a friend of this student informed Cox, who had used a standard pronoun to refer to this person after this person left the room (while Cox observed, with great sensitivity and tact, that some feel very strongly about this issue), that this person's preferred pronoun was "it."

And... scene.

Ridiculous... fucking... scene.

The trans person who had been scolding me about the use of a potentially traumatizing anti-trans slur has chosen an anti-trans slur as its pronoun preference. And if other trans people—maybe in line at a Starbucks—were to overhear me using its preferred pronoun when talking about it, those other trans people could potentially be traumatized and I would be accused of hate speech. That's really all you need to know about this whole mess. Sorry it took me two thousand words to get there.

It and its friend are young. And foolish. And playing games. I'm not going to spend the rest of the day unpacking this tempest in privilege pot—it's far too nice outside—or the other idiocies it and its buddy injected into the conversation. (Its buddy told the room that "It Gets Better" Project "has done more harm than good.") Queerty has a good rundown, links to the stories at the The Maroon, UC's student paper, and a link to the online petition created after my appearance. There's a really amazing, spot-on piece about my appearance at U of C by Ari Cohn at FIRE, John Aravosis has offers some great analysis at Americablog, and you can Google around if you want to see what conservative websites and writers have to say. (They're having a field day—and while serious people are talking about this shocking anti-trans hate crime, conservatives are deflecting attention from that crime by talking up the antics of it, its buddy, and the maroons at QUIP.)

But I do want to quote one piece at The Maroon—which has written numerous pieces about my alleged "hate crime," the demand by QUIP for an apology from the IOP (which the IOP, to its credit, refused to cough up) and QUIP's demand that the IOP promise to "censor" all future IOP guests who might use "hate speech" (not gonna happen, says IOP)—all without bothering to contact me for my side of the story. (That's not how we do journalism out here in the real world, Maroon. Please consult your faculty advisors. You do have faculty advisors, right?) This piece was written by Anastasia Golovashkina, another student who was at the seminar (and the "facts of [her] piece have been read and verified by five student attendees of the seminar," the Maroon notes):

I am aware that, as a non-trans individual, I speak from a position of cisgender privilege. More than anything, I applaud students for speaking up for their principles. It is neither my place nor intention to dispute how Savage’s choice of language may have made some students feel, or to question the genuine hurt or distress they may have felt as a result of this experience. LGBTQ concerns—particularly those of trans individuals—remain heavily underrepresented at all levels of public discourse, and I applaud Queers United in Power (QUIP) for taking a leading role in championing these issues on our campus. But the nature of QUIP does not make its members immune to all criticism, particularly as recent events have led me to question the honesty and value of several of its members’ claims and intentions. Taken together, they suggest a troubling lack of integrity about the campaign they have carried out.

For one, it is disingenuous for the petition’s authors to allege (in some, though not all, of their conflicting, seemingly ever-changing statements), that students had been repeatedly interrupted by Savage and Cox at the seminar, or not given ample opportunity to voice their concerns. In the few instances when Cox and Savage did interrupt students, they did so only to request permission to finish their sentences—only because they had been interrupted by the students first. Near the end of the seminar, Cox even made a point to ask the petition’s only author still in attendance whether she felt like she had been heard. Her answer? “Yes.”

It has been even more disingenuous for the students to repeatedly modify their petition’s pre-“update” language without notifying signatories, and to delete an astonishing number of their own and others’ public comments about the incident on social media. Having actually attended the seminar and observed countless inconsistencies between their descriptions and reality, I am taken aback by how many of my peers would sign such a strongly worded petition on the basis of incredibly minimal, misleading information....

I have never witnessed anywhere near this level of backlash about the IOP’s hosting of speakers like Rick Santorum, a former lawmaker who has actively used his power to disenfranchise and marginalize virtually all non-heterosexual, non-cisgender, non-male, non-white individuals. It baffles me to think that a longtime LGBTQ activist’s use of certain language, almost exclusively in a historical context, is somehow worse than a powerful politician’s dedicated actions to suppress the entire LGBTQ community, and his advocacy of said actions at our university.

For all these reasons and many more, I believe the approach these students are taking is unfortunate, questionable, and destructive.

Dishonest, disingenuous, inconsistent, misleading—these are not honest actors. And as I've written previously: "False accusations of engaging in hate speech are themselves a form hate speech—particularly in the hothouse environment of LGBT activism." It and its compatriot and QUIP owe me, Ana Marie Cox, IOP, and all the students at U of C an apology.

I'm going to give the last word to a trans person—typical transphobic behavior on my part—and close with a tweet from Parker Marie Molloy. A writer, a columnist for the Advocate, and a trans woman, Molloy has written numerous pieces about the use of anti-trans slurs and peeled the bark off me in the past. After Molloy called out RuPaul's Drag Race for what she perceived to be the use of transphobic slurs on that program, the producers dropped their long-running "You've Got SheMail" tagline and apologized for a "Female or Shemale" segment. Molloy looked into what went down at UC and tweeted this out this last week:


 

Comments (251) RSS

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1
"And, really, this is college now? Professors, fellows, and guest lecturers need to clear their vocabulary with first-year students?"

Unfortunately, it seems like it is.
Posted by Hal_10000 on June 7, 2014 at 2:20 PM · Report this
rob! 2
"Elders." Now you've done it.

Seriously, this is unpacking at its best.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on June 7, 2014 at 2:23 PM · Report this
3
That was a lot of words. A lot of words whining about whiners whining about words.

WHO'S THE BIGGEST WHINER IN AMERICA??

My vote is the syndicated columnist.
Posted by Agrippa on June 7, 2014 at 2:31 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 4
that does it. i'm not talking to anybody LGBTQ etc. anymore. i'm too old for this bullshit.
Posted by scary tyler moore http://pushymcshove.blogspot.com/ on June 7, 2014 at 2:44 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 5
Trigger warning: Dan Savage.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on June 7, 2014 at 2:46 PM · Report this
seatackled 6
@1
Yep. It's college now.
Posted by seatackled on June 7, 2014 at 2:49 PM · Report this
7
Since when does wanting to clear your name equal whinning?
It's that biphobic bs all over again. If people want to be offended they will be and there's nothing you can about it....
Posted by SiaNos on June 7, 2014 at 2:52 PM · Report this
8
Me thinks thou protest too much. Just own that you aren't always right dan and it's your smugness and inability to,ever acknowledge you're wrong is the real,issue.
Posted by Mercer on June 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM · Report this
9
Those Chicago School economists sure are touchy.
Posted by Joel_are on June 7, 2014 at 2:59 PM · Report this
STS 10
**NERD ALERT** This reminds me of a dodge-ball scene in a season 1 episode of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer called "The Pack", in which Xander and the "mean kids" are possessed by a hyena spirit.

The dodge-ball game ends up with Buffy on one side, and all of the pack plus one extra on the other side. Rather than attack Buffy, they inexplicably turn and attack their own teammate.

This is what I feel the trans SJW trolls essentially are doing with you, Dan. Rather than fight with an actual anti-trans hate crime committing jackass that they may not be able to defeat, they would rather attack you and falsely accuse you of being an anti-trans hate crime committing jackass- knowing full well you won't go so far as to cause them any real harm. It's simply easier and lazier to attack allies and neutrals than it is to attack enemies.

Posted by STS on June 7, 2014 at 3:04 PM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 11
I went to U.C. Berkeley in the '80s. I ran with some uber-uber-left political circles where, being gay helped offset my white male cisgender privilege (though somehow I was still more privileged than the white male cisgender STRAIGHT guys), even though they grew up in middle class suburbia and I grew up without electricity or indoor plumbing. In those uber-uber-left circles, everyone professed to support the gays while somehow thinking that being a white gay male was the pinnacle of political power, even more than straight guys.

This sort of bullshit drove me batshit crazy and essentially drove me out of the political limelight.

I have never witnessed anywhere near this level of backlash about the IOP’s hosting of speakers like Rick Santorum, a former lawmaker who has actively used his power to disenfranchise and marginalize virtually all non-heterosexual, non-cisgender, non-male, non-white individuals. It baffles me to think that a longtime LGBTQ activist’s use of certain language, almost exclusively in a historical context, is somehow worse than a powerful politician’s dedicated actions to suppress the entire LGBTQ community, and his advocacy of said actions at our university.

This drives me up the fucking wall. If you think that Dan Savage is worse than Rick Santorum, if Savage is worth protesting but Santorum is not, get some fucking perspective. If you think the "It Gets Better" campaign has done more harm than good, you're a fucking liar. Put some up stats or even some carefully argued anecdotes, or shut the fuck up.

I've been reading Dan since his earlier "Hey, Faggot" days. It has become very clear that there are certain uber-uber-left elements that are so bent on painting him as the worst thing since Hitler that they have come to the conversation with an agenda and will never try to engage in a meaningful dialog.
More...
Posted by Kevin_BGFH http://biggayfrathouse.typepad.com/blog/ on June 7, 2014 at 3:13 PM · Report this
MajordomoPicard 12
@8 he does acknowledge when he's wrong, you tool. He stopped using "tranny" in Savage Love years ago. Do you want me to go and Google for the column where he says as much which almost certainly exists? Or are you hung up on the fact that he may never have explicitly said, "it was wrong to use that term", implying that his actions are worth less his words?

@11 The Left doesn't need to worry about the Right trying to destroy us; we certainly do a good enough job all on our own.
Posted by MajordomoPicard on June 7, 2014 at 3:18 PM · Report this
13
STS (at #10), I think you pretty much nailed it. People feel marginalized, so they desperately seek out a situation in which they will have power. In some cases, that leads them to attack people who don't deserve it, but who might acquiesce to their requests because they consider themselves allies.

I think that it's a useful trend of the last few years that people default to trusting marginalized people's description of their own feelings. In the past, much of the time the default reaction would be to seek out ways that those feelings are somehow "incorrect." However, if there's a situation where people will automatically believe you are in the right, that can be abused. Wittingly or unwittingly, the person who confronted Dan with demands that he censor himself is abusing the principle of charity.
Posted by thebagman on June 7, 2014 at 3:18 PM · Report this
14
Very disturbing to hear of someone wanting to call themselves"it". What mental disturbance could possibly lead a person to classify " itself" this way.
This whole label thing is getting way confusing.. Really. I'm told to call myself a CIA .. No phone that's cis woman( even the bloody phone is conspiring).. And seriously, nobody asked me if I was comfortable with this. Or even explain what CIA , shit phone, would you stop that, what CID , not that either, CIS (yes I'm allowed to keep it now) means.


Posted by LavaGirl on June 7, 2014 at 3:30 PM · Report this
15
"Let me show you that I am the bigger person by ending my tirade with a quote from somebody who just so happens to agree with me."

Yup, you're totes the bigger person here. *thumbs up*
Posted by treehugger on June 7, 2014 at 3:31 PM · Report this
16
Another example of why playing Word Cop is not only a losing proposition but a distraction from real issues.
Posted by L_Sid on June 7, 2014 at 3:33 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 17
It's things like this that make me less than supportive of trans activism. (I will always and forever strive to be respectful of individual trans people.) There's this strain of trans activism that goes way beyond basic respect and civil rights. It instead demands that the world conform to even the most bananas, out there demands of any individual trans person, "it" in this case. If you expect the world to conform to your every whim, you need *professional* help, not cheer leading from twit activists.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 7, 2014 at 3:36 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 18
Hah. I guess I'm an elder. I am old enough that I largely think of "queer" as a pejorative, and I never really bought into the whole 'reclaiming' thing. I still cringe whenever I hear it.

But I'm also sane enough to have some perspective. Context is everything. I know that when young gay people these days use the word "queer", they are almost always using it as a badge of honor, and are not trying to make me cringe and relive past hurts of my youth. It is a word with positive connotations to them.

So I cringe and let it pass. Accusing these queer youth today of hate speech is every bit as ridiculous as accusing Dan of hate speech. The word is now a positive part of their subculture, and they clearly mean me no insult by it.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on June 7, 2014 at 3:41 PM · Report this
Fnarf 19
Good lord. College students, I swear. QUIP needs to get stuffed. You're absolutely right on, Dan. Don't let these idiots get you down.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on June 7, 2014 at 3:41 PM · Report this
20
Dan, you got it wrong. Tegan and Sara are Canadian.

For real though, Dan (while an asshole) is mostly right in this case. I do somewhat object that reclaiming "tranny" is equivalent to reclaiming the word "queer" and that we are "eating our own" by attacking LG allies (this is more other commentators and not directed at Dan). Given how the trans community has been treated by organizations like the HRC in the past, it is certainly understandable why we get frustrated. I mean it's difficult to attack true bigots when you are being hamstung by the words and actions by supposed allies (again, this part isn't directed at Dan).
Posted by Just The Same on June 7, 2014 at 3:50 PM · Report this
21
Whenever I see misplaced and overblown outrage over language (and I see it a lot... it's the internet's favorite sport these days), I wonder who told these kids that they had an absolute right to never be hurt or offended.

Whenever I heard the word tranny on Drag Race, for instance, it made me a tad uncomfortable... then I'd move on and enjoy the show, because Drag Race is great fun.

I've had no end of pain in my life because I'm a TRANNY. I hate the word TRANNY. If someone calls me TRANNY in hatred, it's going to hurt. Then I'm going to move on. Because if you're going to be a tranny in this world, you'd better grow a thick fucking skin.

Learn about context, learn about history, learn about intent, learn about gray areas and learn forgiveness of other people's imperfections while recognizing your own.
Posted by Frantikgirl on June 7, 2014 at 3:50 PM · Report this
22
One good thing to come out of all this, though: the phrase "drama monarch" which I will now use all the time forever.
Posted by chotis on June 7, 2014 at 3:55 PM · Report this
23
What a twirl up. And the sad outcome for "it" and others dealing with real life issues is ; this forum will no longer be a place where people can trust their stories are respected , and not bandied about in the real world. Snot nosed little twits.
Posted by LavaGirl on June 7, 2014 at 4:02 PM · Report this
24
'Drama monarchs' is a keeper. But people like these twits are worse than that, they're *trauma* monarchs. Words only hurt when they have sticks and stones behind them. These fools are hearing sticks and stones because they *want* the sticks and stones.
Posted by Avi on June 7, 2014 at 4:13 PM · Report this
Soupytwist 25
I support the equal rights of trans and genderqueer people without reservation. But as a cis/het woman, I am often accused of not being inclusive/sensitive enough & transphobic when I talk about women's health issues like abortion, pregnancy, and even fucking yeast infections & PMS. So, I'm not allowed to talk about my experiences because...? Ugh. It's too much.
Posted by Soupytwist http://twitter.com/katherinesmith on June 7, 2014 at 4:13 PM · Report this
26
Could this all explain why it didn't like the "it gets better project"?
Posted by Jude Fawley on June 7, 2014 at 4:18 PM · Report this
Sandiai 27
Welcome brand new Slog members, SiaNos, Mercer and Joel_are. Thank you for joining this important discussion. Mercer, you should know that Dan seldom reads the comments.
Posted by Sandiai on June 7, 2014 at 4:21 PM · Report this
Laurence Ballard 28
Posted this over at the Maroon:

Once we've settled with Voldemorting certain words, yet another nuance of communication withers and language takes one more step toward meaninglessness.

"...One argument is that language and certain terms can be so hurtful that no matter the context, no matter the person using them, they should not be invoked, period.” --IOP Executive Director Steve Edward
Posted by Laurence Ballard http://laurenceballard.com on June 7, 2014 at 4:26 PM · Report this
29
This looks like an angry youtube comment and pretty much only consists of ad hominem attacks. Remind me again how you're still relevant?
Posted by mollymoon on June 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM · Report this
Sandiai 30
As far as words go, "it" seems like a more difficult reclamation project than "tranny."
Posted by Sandiai on June 7, 2014 at 4:29 PM · Report this
ferret 31
Dan,

You have a good Mai Tai Recipe?!? I would offer these hurt activists some ice cold mai tais from your secret recipe, and all will be forgiven..

I would also add to your piece,the Pink Triangle, which I thought was crazy when Larry Kramer et al. used it in the 1980s, now it is an icon for LGBT community. Larry Kramer is one of those people who is still pissed off at everyone, hell he even is pissed at Barbra Streisand. Some people will never be appeased, and no one will have a monopoly on self righteous behavior...
Posted by ferret http://https://twitter.com/#!/okojo on June 7, 2014 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Laurence Ballard 32
Watch out, Mr. Savage. In the Cloud-Cuckooland of contemporary academia, any future campus appearances may require a Trigger Warning.
Posted by Laurence Ballard http://laurenceballard.com on June 7, 2014 at 4:43 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 33
Dan, if I may (you may not), I wish you would have put the self-aggrandizement either at the end or as a footnote because it comes off as more than defensive, and really takes away from your otherwise really strong point. REALLY STRONG.

The self-aggrandizement seems like you're being poor me, rather than dissecting the over-sensitive nature of the most recent wave of activists and allies. Please get over your self-obsession and self-defensive obsession (the self-defensiveness really weakened several sections of American Savage as well), and instead trust that your points are strong enough to stand on their own.

Thanks.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on June 7, 2014 at 5:16 PM · Report this
34
You know what breaks my heart, Dan? That you even feel a need to respond to this bullshit.

I've been reading you on a regular basis for more years than I can remember, following your tweets, reading your books, buying your books, giving your books as gifts. I've watched hundreds of It Gets Better videos, dozens of your Savage Love appearance videos, and attended Hump! in NYC.

I'm straight and mostly cis. You're a major part of the reason I count myself as an LGBTQ equality activist. I joined a church that preaches an equality gospel (in the original Quakerese, that's "witnesses the testimony of equality") and I wasn't even Christian before that. I did so in part to skew the argument that it was Christians v. Atheists. (Fuck no. Real Christians would fucking follow Christ's order to love thy neighbor and leave judgement to the Lord. I don't know what these random hate-filled homophobic/transphobic assholes are who call themselves Christian, but this newishly minted Quaker calls bullshit on them.)

So, Dan, you brought me to God and church, for whatever that's worth. And for Equality for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, which is worth a lot. I brought your message about the Transgender Day of Remembrance to Meeting a few years back, and we organized ourselves for it! A traditional Quaker memorial service, except with candles, literature and speakers. An educational experience for all involved.

I wish you had half as much respect and confidence in yourself as we do, Dan. There's no need to explain anything to us. We love you, your work and your spirit. Just keep doing what you do and know that we have no doubt in your integrity, your kindness, or your heart.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on June 7, 2014 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Fred Casely 35
I would like to hear more about all this harm the It Gets Better Project is alleged to have caused.
Posted by Fred Casely on June 7, 2014 at 5:22 PM · Report this
yelahneb 36
I'm generally on your side, Dan, but I'm feeling conflicted on this one. If you'd been talking about race, and described how the "n-word" had been reclaimed, you still wouldn't have said aloud the actual term that "n-word" refers to. Because you know, and I know, and all other non-racist white folks know that the n-word is not ours to use, and it never will be until those it refers to state otherwise in a clear, culture-wide fashion.

When you tell a trans person that saying "tranny" aloud instead of "t-word" or "t-slur" is OK because you're using it the context of how it's a problematic word that may or may not deserve retaking and that you're certain that it's OK because you just said it was, you're missing the point.

It's not OK to use the word tranny (or any term) in any context if the person that it describes is *literally standing in front of you, asking you to please not use it*. What would have been so terrible about apologizing right then and moving forward? What point did it prove? What allies were gained?

We didn't successfully reclaimed "queer" because our straight allies forced us to - queers like us did. As their allies, we need to offer our trans friends the same courtesy.
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on June 7, 2014 at 5:39 PM · Report this
37
@33: I'm sorry, Misanthrope, but you're wrong about this and I really take exception—oh, wait. I'm doing it again, aren't I? Sorry! xxxooo
Posted by Dan Savage on June 7, 2014 at 5:40 PM · Report this
Gus 38
How the hell can anyone not berate someone who wants to be called "it"?

What a fucking idiot he/she/they is. Maybe I'm just old and judgemental, but I think demanding to be addressed as something less than a person is roughly equivalent to asking strangers in the grocery store to hold your leash while your master is getting cantaloupes or something, so you don't run away.

Fucking idiot.
Posted by Gus on June 7, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
39
Seems like progressives are especially prone to attack each other in public as well as private, not just LGBT activists but all progressives/liberals. Look at the Occupy movement and how it broke down into in-fighting about how to organize drum circles -- before the tents were cleared out by the police Occupy had already lost the 99%.

From what I see conservatives only attack their own when one of them breaks ranks and starts talking reason. That's why conservatives are still winning on carbon, low taxes on the rich, blocking single payer healthcare, security state spying, pretty much everything except gay marriage -- amazing we are winning that one. (Remember the gay groups that were against gay marriage tooth and nail? Queer progressives even tried to fight our own on that one too...)
Posted by delta35 on June 7, 2014 at 5:56 PM · Report this
venomlash 40
As a Maroon (BS 2013), my UChicago newsfeed has been blowing up with this bullshit for a few weeks. Fuck sake.
And the person who made a fuss? Was it perchance a person of moderately short stature, stocky build, dark hair, round face, moderate acne problem, probably a 4th year? I may have had a class with it a few years ago. There was this one "That Kid" in my SOSC class my second year. Ambiguously trans; my visual impression was that That Kid was transgender, but for the life of me I could not tell which direction the transition had gone. And boy oh boy, That Kid had to make fucking EVERYTHING we discussed about gender norms and heteromasculine whatever. Fuck sake, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!
Posted by venomlash on June 7, 2014 at 6:10 PM · Report this
41
When I think of all the productive ways that this energy could have been directed instead, it makes me almost despair.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on June 7, 2014 at 6:23 PM · Report this
chibby 42
Oh Dan, you are high profile enough to know better then to say something touchy, even sarcastically, in public. I still love you though, because I know you are human.
Posted by chibby on June 7, 2014 at 6:28 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 43
@8 - 1. It's "methinks," one word, not two

2. Don't say "methinks" anyway. You sound pretentious. Or go ahead, I'm not the methinks police, I don't think.

3. Outside the original literary context, the "doth protest too much" line is too often used as a lazy way to try to shut down discussion, implying that even talking about it is an admission of guilt. If people were talking shit about me in such a public manner, I for one would appreciate the dignity of being allowed to defend myself.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on June 7, 2014 at 6:50 PM · Report this
44
@36, interesting argument- but really don't think the
T- word equates in viciousness with the n- word.
C'mon, really- what bullshit. To violate a private forum, now make it a visible forum over such as this. How about the same level of outrage over the c- word? And as a poster above says, she is accursed as being insensitive, if she talks about periods..
Sorry a trans* woman can't produce blood or a baby thru her fanny/ but you know it's all starting to get absurd .. Really fucking absurd.
Posted by LavaGirl on June 7, 2014 at 6:51 PM · Report this
gttrgst 45
I hope "It" gets better.
Posted by gttrgst on June 7, 2014 at 6:53 PM · Report this
46
And just to clarify- "fanny" in Australia is a slang word for vagina.

Posted by LavaGirl on June 7, 2014 at 7:01 PM · Report this
47
@44, I do think that in a discussion on an university campus, about the use of these terms, one can say the words "nigger" or "kike" or "tranny" or "cunt" or "faggot" and not have to apologize.
Posted by EricaP on June 7, 2014 at 7:13 PM · Report this
48
So, what harm did they think the It Gets Better Project had done?
Posted by Sandy on June 7, 2014 at 7:17 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 49
There are lots of people in this world who are just itching for an insult. They'll take any chance they can to feel sorry for themselves. Unfortunately, it spans the entire political spectrum, but it really finds its home at the extreme right and the extreme left.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on June 7, 2014 at 7:39 PM · Report this
50
@36 @44 @47

Really, this should be a very simple idea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use%E2%80%9…)

If we are going to be adults about things, we should be able to at least point at them verbally like when I use "any given fucking word"

Dan is really very unfairly maligned in this instance
Posted by bradl on June 7, 2014 at 7:44 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 51
@47 Unless you're using it as a slur aimed at somebody. Using the word is ok if you're talking about the word, but to wield it as a weapon aimed at a target in an academic discussion is wrong.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on June 7, 2014 at 7:44 PM · Report this
Ophian 52
yelahneb @36,
It's not OK to use the word tranny (or any term) in any context if the person that it describes is *literally standing in front of you, asking you to please not use it*

I disagree. If adults are discussing word usage, I think they can go ahead and use the words in question. Anyone who can't handle that should excuse themselves from the discussion.

Mac @43, +1.
Erica @47, +1.
Posted by Ophian on June 7, 2014 at 7:48 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 53
Also, Dan, did you read the op-ed in the Advocate written by the Cisgay dude? In it, the author said, essentially, I don't give a fuck about history. He wrote a solipsistic column saying, essentially, because one group (transsexuals, in this case) was offended by a term (tranny), that's all that mattered. It didn't matter that a different group (drag queens) had worked for years (decades) to reclaim it as it somehow wasn't their word to reclaim (ignoring that it had been wielded at them as well).

A friend posted it to their wall, and I had the same response you wrote more elegantly here. Though I have no skin in the game (I've no desire to dress in drag), the argument basically amounted to one group of gays kowtowing to deeming the word "queer" to be offensive and unworthy of reclamation because lesbians find it offensive.

The author also further weakened his argument by saying that trans people have been treated poorly by mainstream gays, making the argument into a pity party/guilt trip summing up to "can't we give them just this one point?" It wasn't about you specifically, but it's important to the t-word fight.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on June 7, 2014 at 8:03 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 54
@ 33, as someone who is often irritated with Dan's self-aggrandizing, I completely disagree that it presented any kind of distraction or detraction here.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 8:18 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 55
@ 36, are you serious?
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 8:20 PM · Report this
56
Well cunt is a great word to use when talking of vaginas. Nice, juicy word. My point is, there now is some big problem with the t- word, yet the use of cunt as a derogatory slur is allowed to continue. Even on Dans post earlier this week, about a gay orgy, the c- word was used by a gay poster(s) as a slur, can't remember if it occurred more than once... The other words, are derogatory . But of course, depends on context, intent and who is using it.
Yes, I agree, Dan was badly treated over this incident. As were the students, who had assumed their privacy was going to be respected..
Posted by LavaGirl on June 7, 2014 at 8:23 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 57
@54 Where it's placed in the article really put me on the "Dan really stepped in it again" mindset, and I thought he was going to use it to make a half-assed "please excuse my bad behavior and stop attack me as I'm not the enemy" excuse. Then he changed gears, dropping that whole line of argument and I think the response would have been stronger without it. If only blog posts had appendices.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on June 7, 2014 at 8:28 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 58
@ 56, I can see that. But I knew this about trans activism and I've felt a certain contingent has it in for him, so I felt it unlikely he had stepped in it this time. Just my own perspective .
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 8:35 PM · Report this
yelahneb 59
I understand that most of you support Dan's use of the word at the event and the manner in which he used it, despite the consequences. Can anyone tell me what harm there would have been in not using it?
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on June 7, 2014 at 8:47 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 60
I wonder how Zooey Deschanel feels about being called the "It Girl?"
Posted by Gern Blanston on June 7, 2014 at 8:54 PM · Report this
61
Dan, those of us who have really listened to you throughout the years know you as someone who has uncommonly sophisticated thinking and who frames debate/advice with nuanced and contextual perspective. The style of this type of knee jerk attack on you (and on others) feels too much like right wing religion. Hugely judgmental and a rushing to call everyone a sinner. There seems to be way too much emphasis and joyful outrage on finding sinners and pinning scarlet letters on people. It didn't' matter what you said--there's a prejudgment and an agenda. Prove you aren't a sinner--float or drown. Can't win. It is so destructive and this type of tactic gets mirrored in supposedly opposite positions. But it's the same. It's like being in church with where you cannot win--instead of constructive listening, it's damn you to hell.
Posted by alion on June 7, 2014 at 8:55 PM · Report this
62
@61 I couldn't possible agree with you more. There are very few people who are popular on the internet that I can bank on having nuanced, well thought out views on certain matters (despite vociferous hubbubs surrounding them). Dan, Andrew Sullivan, Ta- Nehisi Coates, Noam Chomsky all attract loud detractors. But if you know a damn lick about anything they write, you know that the cartoonish version of them is false.
Posted by bradl on June 7, 2014 at 9:13 PM · Report this
63
I guess the purpose of convening to discuss relative issues, within the context of being real, open, honest and authentic, was a point missed by one, or several of the attendees. There is a great deal of value in recognizing the impact of 'words' - 'terms' - and creating a shift in culture, and a worthy conversation time and time again. Avoiding the actual words or terms within the context of debate and discussion in order to advance understanding, would render the debate/discussion pointless.

I must admit I enjoyed reading Dan's fascinating detailed review of events. It keeps getting better, Drama Monarch's - may not think so. There are many of us out in the world who just stand in the place of support - for our collective progress, in spite of our many differences, we of the LGBTQ.....
Posted by RexT on June 7, 2014 at 9:16 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 64
It's never good when grownups take the follies of first year students too seriously, but the follies themselves are not cause for alarm. Yes, there are first year students who think storming out of a room in tears is how you get your point across. It didn't just start happening in the 21st century. Young students make those kinds of mistakes, and worse. It's how they learn.

It's too bad when these growing pains spill off campus, but it's normal and healthy for this kind of silly bullshit to happen in an educational setting as long as the leadership is in place to set them straight by the time they matriculate.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on June 7, 2014 at 9:30 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 65
@ 59, the harm of making discussion impossible if even one person objects. The resulting loss of learning, particularly in the setting of a major university. The harm of empowering words with their worst meanings because now only the worst people will say them. The harm of distracting from real issues while being hung up on cosmetic ones, resulting in ineffectiveness and ultimate irrelevance - the opposite of what seems to be their goals. The danger of suppressing free thought. The danger of creating circuses like this, for which the trans student bears all responsibility, which hinders the movement instead of helping it.

Dan made it crystal clear what kind of forum this was. It's easy to give in to the student, but lets be clear. The student was engaging in "its" own bullying here. The student derailed the entire discussion and created a shitsto when "it" didn't get "its" way. If you don't perceive any harm in kowtowing to such bullying, you are blind.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 7, 2014 at 9:31 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 66
@59 - Apologies in advance for the slippery slope argument, but where does it end? In an academic discussion about... I was going to come up with an example, but let's just say "any given subject" does an attendee have the right to stand up and insist that everyone participating never directly name the subject of the discussion lest someone be made uncomfortable?

The shitstorm that followed was an unfair smear cpaign against Dan (not to mention a betrayal of trust in violating the confidentiality agreement). It is not incumemt upon Dan to prevent such smears by relinquishing control of his vocabulary to whoever asks. It is on everyone to grow some perspective and not start shit where shit is not needed.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on June 7, 2014 at 9:33 PM · Report this
67
Ah, the left.

Also, it seems every oppressed minority wants to be the blacks, redux. They provide the template, and they have the "n-word", so in order to fill in the template, we better have a "t-word".
Posted by David Wright on June 7, 2014 at 9:57 PM · Report this
68
Also, it's called the "Chatham house rule" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatham_Hou…). Perhaps since that name is a nod to a group of rich white men, it's tainted and must be suppressed.
Posted by David Wright on June 7, 2014 at 10:01 PM · Report this
69
To all of those non cisgendered folks out there loosen the fuck up. If ya can't do that go and get yourself a movement all on your own. WE DON"T FUCKING NEED YOU.
Posted by Travelingman Rick on June 7, 2014 at 10:09 PM · Report this
seatackled 70
Anyone remember the publisher that decided to replace all the "nigger" references in Huckleberry Finn with the word "slave"?

That guy on the Daily Show (the "black" correspondent) remarked that Twain used a term that reflected racism--in 19th century America, Twain's own possible racism, etc.--while the publisher reduced it to a job description.
Posted by seatackled on June 7, 2014 at 10:48 PM · Report this
71
Alright, you know, it does seem to me that this student was being hypersensitive. But you know what else? I am a cisgender person. Not sure my opinion is the most important one in this situation, especially since I wasn't there.

I like Dan Savage. A lot. I also feel that he isn't the most sensitive teddy-bear on the block, which is a common side effect in folks who shoot from the hip, as he does.

Is it possible that this is a situation where he offended someone, who maybe had a right to be offended, and maybe he should have been a little more sensitive? Is it possible that this also does not constitute a hate crime, but an instance of discomfort in human interaction - a personality clash? Is it possible that each party holds differing opinions about what is appropriate and politically correct - and that each party is entitled to those opinions?

I don't know. I wasn't there.

Needless to say, I, as a U of C grad and a rational, deeply flawed human being, am capable of enjoying Dan Savage and also extending my sympathy to this student AT THE SAME TIME. No one should be made to feel attacked. I wasn't there, so I don't know if this student's impression of Dan Savage's attitude was correct. But their take-away from the situation is important to THEM. I don't like to think of anyone feeling threatened in that way. Even if it is a result of hypersensitivity (and as I said, I have no idea if that is the cause or not - I WASN'T THERE and if YOU weren't there, then you don't really know.)

Seriously, I have no idea what an objective interpretation of the situation was. But I do know that what I personally care most about is that people feel safe and supported. I suppose, if I'd had my druthers, I would have liked Dan Savage to have backed down in that confrontation in deference to another person's comfort. I dunno, though, maybe in the moment that seemed totally unreasonable to him. I just know that I personally value offering that comfort to others more than being the voice of reason. I fully recognize that this often leaves me in the weaker position, logic-wise.

Innahoo, my ending point is thus:

Keep talking, Dan Savage, I like the words you say.

Keep talking back, people who challenge him, the words you say are important as well.
More...
Posted by odile on June 7, 2014 at 10:49 PM · Report this
72
Alright, you know, it does seem to me that this student was being hypersensitive. But you know what else? I am a cisgender person. Not sure my opinion is the most important one in this situation, especially since I wasn't there.

I like Dan Savage. A lot. I also feel that he isn't the most sensitive teddy-bear on the block, which is a common side effect in folks who shoot from the hip, as he does.

Is it possible that this is a situation where he offended someone, who maybe had a right to be offended, and maybe he should have been a little more sensitive? Is it possible that this also does not constitute a hate crime, but an instance of discomfort in human interaction - a personality clash? Is it possible that each party holds differing opinions about what is appropriate and politically correct - and that each party is entitled to those opinions?

I don't know. I wasn't there.

Needless to say, I, as a U of C grad and a rational, deeply flawed human being, am capable of enjoying Dan Savage and also extending my sympathy to this student AT THE SAME TIME. No one should be made to feel attacked. I wasn't there, so I don't know if this student's impression of Dan Savage's attitude was correct. But their take-away from the situation is important to THEM. I don't like to think of anyone feeling threatened in that way. Even if it is a result of hypersensitivity (and as I said, I have no idea if that is the cause or not - I WASN'T THERE and if YOU weren't there, then you don't really know.)

Seriously, I have no idea what an objective interpretation of the situation was. But I do know that what I personally care most about is that people feel safe and supported. I suppose, if I'd had my druthers, I would have liked Dan Savage to have backed down in that confrontation in deference to another person's comfort. I dunno, though, maybe in the moment that seemed totally unreasonable to him. I just know that I personally value offering that comfort to others more than being the voice of reason. I fully recognize that this often leaves me in the weaker position, logic-wise.

Innahoo, my ending point is thus:

Keep talking, Dan Savage, I like the words you say.

Keep talking back, people who challenge him, the words you say are important as well.
More...
Posted by odile on June 7, 2014 at 10:54 PM · Report this
DAVIDinKENAI 73
So what is the approved shorthand for an automatic transmission in a car?
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on June 7, 2014 at 11:33 PM · Report this
74
@73

I believe that would be called the "bitch."
Posted by robotslave on June 7, 2014 at 11:49 PM · Report this
sirkowski 75
It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose.
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on June 7, 2014 at 11:49 PM · Report this
76
All this drama and no glitter-bombing. I'm so disappointed. Kids these days.
Posted by restlessnative on June 7, 2014 at 11:53 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 77
The older I get, the more deeply prejudiced I get. Prejudiced against people in academia who are under 25. Maybe just against all people under 25. I'm always trying to fight that bigotry, but articles like this remind me how much better the fight for equality is when everyone involved is actually a grown up.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on June 7, 2014 at 11:58 PM · Report this
McBomber 79
Dan, I normally love your writing, but get to the fucking point. What is the point? That you were maligned by students? That students are too sensetive? That "tranny" is a complicated word? You're all over the place and obviously upset and trying to get the flying monkeys on board.
You might want to run this shit by an editor before posting next time, because here it sounds like a rudderless rant. xxxooo!
Posted by McBomber on June 8, 2014 at 12:11 AM · Report this
80
Dan, you can't use the word "it". That's not your word to use.
Posted by Chase on June 8, 2014 at 2:04 AM · Report this
81
@71, 72: No. Comfort is not the trump card.

@78, 79: If you guys are finding this mentally challenging, maybe stick to Charles Mudede's posts.
Posted by Chase on June 8, 2014 at 2:17 AM · Report this
82
@ 73: Thank you. I was wondering why Savage Love had turned into Car Talk.
Posted by Chase on June 8, 2014 at 2:21 AM · Report this
83
@79, no- please Dan do not put your pieces by an editor/ love the passion and spontaneous words .
Yes, in the columns I've seen- a couple have been a bit confronting ( the shit coming back out of the toilet into a woman's arse was a pretty hard image to get outta my head )... This piece reads pretty clear to me... And your pissed off ness at this treatment also comes thru. And fully justified. Hope you can shake it off soon..
Posted by LavaGirl on June 8, 2014 at 3:07 AM · Report this
84
I really don't think this merited a response, Dan. This situation is kids learning how to be in the world. You're already being defended on campus where this little incident belongs. I substitute at a pre-school on occasion. If a couple kids start yelling "poopy head" at me it's incumbent on the school to instruct the kids about how to respect visitors. No need for me to assert my non-poopy head bonafides in a 2000 word letter to my local paper. This is essentially the same situation.
Posted by Pablo Picasso on June 8, 2014 at 4:19 AM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 85
English is a narrow, pointless language. In German referring to some persons as "it" ("es") is perfectly acceptable. Teenaged girls (das Madchen) are "it". On the other hand, all transexuals (der Transsechtualer) are "he" ("er"). On yet another hand, all sailors (die Matrose) are "she".
Posted by Ballard Pimp on June 8, 2014 at 4:21 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 86
Danno, you are an intelligent guy, so I won't beat around the bush, but why did you pull a paul?

I don't blame you for being upset, as I am sure that particular student was a little over-sensitive, however pretending like you don't understand what the deal is, is a pretty lame excuse. It's the kind of shit Paul would do, but you have less of a problem with honesty

Your weak spot is you tend to be an asshole, but just a little bit, so I am sure you understand how someone could get a little upset with you, and it's sorta silly to pretend that it doesn't come with the terrortory. I wasn't there and I am not going to watch the video, however it's probably safe to say that the student's reaction would have been more appropriate if it was only Ana Marie that was uttering the T-slur.

You may have honestly had absolutely no intention of being offensive, but like a tormenting older brother knows how to instigate shit telepathically, I doubt that the absolute innocence is 100% true. I am not sure why journalists take so much pride in doing it, but being an asshole ultra-subtle-like is practically a pass time

Like I said, I am sure the student played a part to, but there really is more honor is honesty, if anything, save the asshole face for the religious people. You'll get more pleasure pissing off them and you are sort of a spokesperson for equal rights, it wouldn't hurt to mind your P's & Q's around people who struggle against similar injustices that you know first hand, all too well

Just a suggestion, as you can see here from all the comments, if you want pretend you had no roll in it what so ever, you'll have plenty of support and others saying " Your right Dan!"

it's not really a huge deal, anyway, tell Jeremiah I said hi
More...
Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 5:54 AM · Report this
87
I'm with #18. In my high school days, (late 60's), "queer" was one of the most hateful things one could say about anyone. I'd still prefer you not refer to me that way. That being said, if I only hear things said that I agree with, don't I become like on of those Republicans addressing an invitation-only rally? Preaching to the choir has always been an exercise in futility.
Posted by r1zr1z on June 8, 2014 at 6:25 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 88
The people at QUIP will grow up after they graduate and get into the real world where THEIR (probably middle class) privilege of attending a university won't mean shit to anyone ever again.

Posted by passionate_jus on June 8, 2014 at 6:38 AM · Report this
89
Context is always important and Dan is a smart guy. How could a smart guy not realize that calling someone "it" would be offensive to anyone overhearing the conversation? If I was talking to that person, sure, I'll use "it" if that's what "it" prefers. But no one else knows that at the Starbucks.

And everyone needs to get a grip and quit being such a crybaby. "The mean man said something mean!" Give me a break.
Posted by pb1025 on June 8, 2014 at 6:38 AM · Report this
seatackled 90
@84

Did you read the part about the online campaign, including a petition, against Dan?
Posted by seatackled on June 8, 2014 at 6:40 AM · Report this
passionate_jus 91
On a positive note from the real world, I attended Washington DC's Pride Parade yesterday.

Among the things that made me tear up:

The people marching with PFLAG and various churches, especially those marching from rural Virginia.

Also, a young trans-man with a sign reading "I may only be 15 but I already know that I am a man." Next to him was his mother with a sign reading, "I support my transgendered son."

It made me tear up with happiness. Things are changing rapidly for the better.

Probably one of the reasons why members of QUIP can waste their time with such triviality.
Posted by passionate_jus on June 8, 2014 at 6:48 AM · Report this
fletc3her 92
Thank you, Dan. You are amazing.

I'm reminded of my beef with Fagbug. The owner tours campuses where LGBT groups have been advocating a ban on casual use of "faggot" and then invite a speaker whose brand is the slur. I've lobbed the more harm than good insult.

I have become a strong supporter of trans people and I understand how painful it can be not to be recognized as the gender you are, but I think recognition that use of the wrong pronoun is almost never intended as a slur is important.
Posted by fletc3her on June 8, 2014 at 6:58 AM · Report this
93
Reading thru the references Dan has given- wow. In the comments section of one of the articles, gay men calling out to drop the T, because so much stuff is going down.
And I'm guessing after this , Uni ofChicago may find it hard to attract high profile people to speak at this seminar in future.
People with gender identification issues, by the very nature of identifying with the sex other than what they are born with, are suffering ( I would assume). Is there a resolution to this inner conflict? Is there a point where some or most trans people feel some clarity in their gender? After hormones/ after surgery..
This swirling energy that never seems to settle,
Always a new battle . Can't say tranny/ can't say transsexual/
Women and men have to prefix cis.. So trans people have a space.
It won't ever be that a trans woman will be able to bear a child, be able to breast feed .. Maybe this rage is just externalised, so it doesn't matter how many hoops we all jump thru- which names we use to support a trans person/ or how much acceptance of them is given/ it will never be enough for some.
Posted by LavaGirl on June 8, 2014 at 7:30 AM · Report this
94
@61 Yep. When I talk about my experiences in graduate school--a program housing ethnic, women's, and queer studies--my partner frequently replies that it sounds like a cult, and not unlike the religious fundamentalism she walked away from to come out of the closet.

I'm glad Dan has taken to defend himself, because this is the self-cannibalism of the left. The right makes big bank off the absurdity of these kinds of temper tantrums masquerading as activism. It's a key reason why the humanities have been so successfully diminished and discredited in the increasingly corporatized university.

In my experience, the language and image and self-identity obsessed college students and academics--who tell themselves that they are revolutionaries--suffer from the very "privilege" they use as a cudgel to silence anyone who challenges or threatens them. It explains why they define their adversaries in such narrow terms (i.e. Dan Savage is the enemy but Santorum speaks without incident.)

When I was a faculty member, an activist group on campus had shut down classes for over a week. Among their demands was to ban the n-word from the campus, with sanctions for violators. As you can imagine, the white libertarian ranks on campus swelled because of the presumed victimization such a move implied ("free speech!," "free speech!"). Another hot button issue that suffused the protests was cultural appropriation, to the point where the white self-martyrs set up get-your-own-Mohawk stands to protest their supposed oppression by the "Drama Monarchs" (love that).

And during all of these episodes I was teaching courses on conservative attacks on voting rights, the imprisoning of an entire generation of people of color for minor drug offenses, and ongoing historical studies of how racism continues to shape collective hostility toward the poor as an effective way to attack the social safety net.

And I cannot tell you how many of my classes got derailed because the outrage, counter-outrage, counter-counter-outrage, what-about-my-outrage came to dominate every damn conversation.
More...
Posted by maddy811 on June 8, 2014 at 8:04 AM · Report this
95
Just in case someone wants to use the examples given @85, they're almost entirely wrong:
A transsexual person is der _or_ die Transexuelle (sic!) depending on their preferred gender/pronoun. Der Matrose is grammatically male. A female sailor is "die Matrosin."

It is correct that a girl, "das Mädchen," is grammatically neuter (because it's technically a diminuitive and all diminuitives formed with "-chen" are neuter.) That said, no one would refer to a specific girl as "it"—it's always "she."

Picking German, of all languages, as an example of how to handle gender in language is a bad joke. Writing even moderately gender-neutral language is German is a fucking nightmare since the generic form of every single profession, for example, is gendered (almost exclusively male), so your choices are either to use sexist language or to use in awkward gender-neutral constructions. In English you just use "they" and you're done with it and nouns don't have a natural gender in the first place. _So_ much better. (For those interested in feminist history, Monique Wittig actually points to the advantage of English over French in gender-neutral—or in her terms gender universalist—language).
Posted by adam.smith on June 8, 2014 at 8:08 AM · Report this
96
I am largely in agreement with Mr Kevin.

From the comments of the Maroon article to which Mr Savage linked:

[And trust me, Dan Savage has done way more to marginalize trans people than Rick Santorum... we are not even on Santorum's radar for the most part. But Savage has used his authority in the gay community and liberal America to shut down voices of trans people and undermine their efforts.]

I could make a case that I feel marginalized more often (though not to greater effect) by various specific feminists who tend to have heterosexist moments than by most anti-gay politicians whose primary concerns lie elsewhere - but perhaps one notices specific marginalization more than when one is in one group of many being marginalized, and there are certainly far more opportunities to notice the missteps of someone who much more frequently addresses issues at the top of the list. But it seems as if this approach only counts the negatives. Would this person deny that Mr Savage, when not doing or saying things resulting in offence, has done a great deal more than Mr Santorum to empower the voices of trans people? Even accepting higher gross negatives, how does the net balance not swing undisputably the other way?
Posted by vennominon on June 8, 2014 at 8:10 AM · Report this
The Beatles 97
@48: I believe @45 answers that question succinctly, in a way. "It" hates the It Gets Better project because "it" resents Dan's appropriation of the word "it", which "it" has reclaimed for itself.
Posted by The Beatles on June 8, 2014 at 8:32 AM · Report this
98
Also, if what I read in one of the linked articles was a quotation and not a paraphrase, the petition does not refer to the student by the correct chosen pronoun, saying "they had to rush out of the room" (or whatever the exact phrase was) rather than "it". Perhaps a lesser offence than a slur, but not ideal for the petitioners.

Posted by vennominon on June 8, 2014 at 8:37 AM · Report this
99
Always surprised at how most of my friends dislike Dan vehemently and are astonished and even angry that I'm saying with approval about what Dan said this week or that week. That is, gay male friends, straights & lesbians say Dan who? And a few trans friends are as likely to have heard he's a Bad Cisman and have labeled him persona non grata.

When I ask why they dislike him so the most common answers are: he's too much of an asshole (obv they haven't read his tear jerkingly tender essays on his mom, family, etc.) or he's not funny enough anymore, not edgy enough anymore, not enough of an asshole anymore (obv they haven't listened to the podcast), or he's too angry (obv they haven't bothered to listen / read that his anger is directed mostly at appropriate targets that do egregious harm, like the Santorums and 2nd amendment nuts).

Sheesh. Maybe they are all secretly jealous of his biceps which look way more awesome in person than on TV. :-)
Posted by delta35 on June 8, 2014 at 8:43 AM · Report this
The Beatles 101
@85: Very well put response.

The German language (or the German anything) is an absurd solution to sexism/gender bias. And Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, etc.) are of course suffused with gender-crazy rules. English is actually not all that bad in this regard, when it comes down to it. Mandarin Chinese might be best of all in terms of gender-neutral pronouns, but it seems...doubtful that westerners are going to start speaking it anytime soon (then again, who knows?).

@100:

Dan is the furthest thing from a bully. He's the youngest brother in a large family from a large city. Trust me, his seemingly hair-trigger ability to go into attack dog mode is just a part of who he is. Why would we be reading/listening to him if he were someone else?

Posted by The Beatles on June 8, 2014 at 9:52 AM · Report this
102
The problem with letting manufactured outrage get under your skin is that you end up feeding trolls.

They so badly want attention that it just encourages the further manufacturing of outrage, and the spinning wheel of finger-pointing and stamping of feet takes on the appearance of a perpetual motion outrage machine.

Dan, you pledged not so long ago to stop giving Fox News attention when they're being intentionally provocative--when they're being total trollish tools, which is their favorite pose, because it stirs things up and garners them more attention than they merit.

I respectfully suggest, Dan, that you apply that same principle to trans trolls. They just want the attention that comes from leveraging your fame and name, Dan--stop feeding them.
Posted by Functional Atheist on June 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM · Report this
103
@100 you've seen Dan BULLY people, your use of caps, please elaborate!

In the last 15 years I've read all his books, read almost all of his columns, maybe a third of his blog posts, and listened to about 10% of the podcasts, almost none of his TV appearances, one episode of that MTV show -- too many ads, I hate TV, also seen him live once. Amazing biceps. Perhaps a have a bias for biceps. Entertaining persistence yes, attacking evil people yes, but I have never seen what I'd remotely call bullying.

So please elaborate because either he's been bullying people someplace I've missed, or you and I have very different definitions of what a bully is. My definition is someone powerful attacking someone less powerful, deliberately and repeatedly, with no empathy or sensitivity, going after someone who didn't do anything bad, for the purpose of the bully's personal gain, sadistic pleasure, or to intimidate the vulnerable into silence.
Posted by delta35 on June 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM · Report this
104
@100: Disagreeing with someone is not bullying. Pointing out stupid comments or behavior is not bullying. Calling out bullshit is not bullying.

Demanding that people not do any of those things, OTOH, is bullying.

This kind of privileged, entitled, controlling behavior is the leftist counterpart of the rightwing bigotry that cries censorship when people boycott its proponents. You have the right to express yourself - you do not have the right to force people to listen to you, Rush Limbaugh, nor do you have the right to force people to agree with you, QUIP. A key part of freedom of speech is that it's not just for you - you have to extend it to the people around you and the people who disagree with you. But these narcissistic jackasses don't understand that, and as a result they're not only derailing their own causes, they're giving ammunition to the other side.

When libertarians and fascists on the right criticize the left for "political correctness" and "word policing", they're mostly just complaining that their own privilege isn't as enormous as it used to be. But then something like this comes along and proves them right for a change.

So there's an example of the damage this shit causes, as eloquently detailed by Matt from Denver @65.
Posted by Chase on June 8, 2014 at 11:12 AM · Report this
sissoucat 105
I bet "it" basks in "its" 15 minutes glory. What an asshole.

"Time does nothing to that subject,
when one's an asshole, one's an asshole,
be one 20 or be one a grandpa,
when one's an asshole, one's an asshole,
between you no more controversies,
obsolete assholes or asshole beginners
small assholes from the last rain,
old assholes from the snows of yesteryear !"

(badly translated from Georges Brassens, songwriter and poet.
Posted by sissoucat on June 8, 2014 at 11:16 AM · Report this
106
As a generally proud U of C alum (see my username), this whole thing pisses me off to no end. Part of the reason you go the U of C is to be challenged and engaged by ideas that you don't necessarily share and people that you don't necessarily agree with. If what you want is to live in a bubble that only people who speak how you want them to speak and think how you want them to think can penetrate, go to Brown and major in underwater basket weaving. You clearly aren't mature enough to handle "Vita Excolatur."

Oh, and on a side note, I will never, ever, under any circumstances, refer to a human being as "it" in polite company. If a person were to ask me to refer to him or her as "that nigger" instead of using gendered pronouns, I wouldn't oblige either.

Posted by Marooner on June 8, 2014 at 11:23 AM · Report this
107
When you're in someone else's space, and they ask you not to use a specific word - no matter the reason - acting patronizing or condescending is not the correct response. Writing an article like this is not the correct response. I see a lot of "I'm not at fault; look at how ridiculous this student was" when in fact, as the adult who has to moderate a discussion that is inclusive of all participants, the burden - unfairly or not, as perceived by you, because I do not think it is an unfair burden in the least - falls upon you, and the moderator, to listen to the request, and then either say "I don't feel like following your request" and ending the conversation, thus excluding the student and stop acting like you were trying to be inclusive, or say "I don't understand your request, but I'll follow it for this discussion because I'd rather have everyone on board and not get sidetracked from our main goal." You can't play both sides and pretend to come out the hero, because you, a cis male who has never had that particular slur leveled at you with the same emotional connotations as someone who is not cis would have had, are not the hero here. You are in the wrong. And the fact you can't suck it up and say 'hey, I don't know why you're this upset, but I'm sorry for making you upset' - genuinely, of course, as your sarcasm up above is nothing short of insincere - says a lot about you, as a person.

Stop trying to be a person who works for all rights, when you obviously can't include those who need those rights in the first place. You can't teach African Americans anything about reclaiming the n-word as you are white; similarly, you can't teach and preach to trans people anything about reclaiming the t-slur, as you are not trans, and have no supporting background to build off of for that kind of a discussion.
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Posted by outercorner on June 8, 2014 at 11:28 AM · Report this
108
When you're in someone else's space, and they ask you not to use a specific word - no matter the reason - acting patronizing or condescending is not the correct response. Writing an article like this is not the correct response. I see a lot of "I'm not at fault; look at how ridiculous this student was" when in fact, as the adult who has to moderate a discussion that is inclusive of all participants, the burden - unfairly or not, as perceived by you, because I do not think it is an unfair burden in the least - falls upon you, and the moderator, to listen to the request, and then either say "I don't feel like following your request" and ending the conversation, thus excluding the student and stop acting like you were trying to be inclusive, or say "I don't understand your request, but I'll follow it for this discussion because I'd rather have everyone on board and not get sidetracked from our main goal." You can't play both sides and pretend to come out the hero, because you, a cis male who has never had that particular slur leveled at you with the same emotional connotations as someone who is not cis would have had, are not the hero here. You are in the wrong. And the fact you can't suck it up and say 'hey, I don't know why you're this upset, but I'm sorry for making you upset' - genuinely, of course, as your sarcasm up above is nothing short of insincere - says a lot about you, as a person.

Stop trying to be a person who works for all rights, when you obviously can't include those who need those rights in the first place. You can't teach African Americans anything about reclaiming the n-word as you are white; similarly, you can't teach and preach to trans people anything about reclaiming the t-slur, as you are not trans, and have no supporting background to build off of for that kind of a discussion.
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Posted by outercorner on June 8, 2014 at 11:34 AM · Report this
109
Ages 17ish to 24ish are all about identity development and it's a messy time. I teach in a college, and 90% of my students are trying to figure existential lifeshit out—all while passing classes and figuring out what to do as a career. Some of them are more rational and polite about their ennui than others. The highly sensitive student who gave Dan shit is going through a major transitional stage, compounded by discovery of gender identification (or lack of). These students don't have a lot to go on and are just figuring out their way. Unfortunately, they are doing it in a very rude and antisocial way. But that's sometimes what we get with college students. They don't have enough life experience yet to understand that being aggressive and demanding doesn't equate with maturity and leadership.
Posted by mitten on June 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 110
These so-called "differences of opinion" really would have helped Alan Turin with his tests.

While a machine can never qualify as a consciously thinking living being, the ignorant human can definitely qualify itself to be a machine and disqualify it's mind of being human.

it only takes a little bit of unrecognized ignorance when that ignorance is mislabled as being knowledgeable of truthful subjects.

For instance, when parsing right from wrong, in a world with varying core beliefs about what defines "right" from "wrong" it matters less what the actual action is, and has everything to do with whether or not the action is desired and consented to by a fully knowledgeable adults.

So I think it's the mark of a machine when a person claims to understand why what makes a BDSM scenes right or wrong, in sense of absoluteness, has everything to do with that consent,

yet to then remain ignorant of the definition of public and private spaces, as that difference will tell you whether or not you can rightfully claim your behavior as being able to be consented to,

so the whole "danger" that Matt describes in #65 is complete and utter bullshit, as that logic only does not fly unless the space is private as opposed to public

There is a reason that Our Constitution has so much to do with ownership, property, and defining the difference between public and private spaces.

As those definitions are necessary to be always be able to parse any situation as whose actions are in the right, or that they have the right to do so, and distinguish the persons whom have the right, from those who do not

It is really is fairly simple

unless of course, you are ignorant, or a machine
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Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 12:00 PM · Report this
111
@108. If the student had gotten up and said "I am offended by your viewpoint, stop expressing it," and Dan had refused to comply, would that mean he's not "trying to be inclusive"? The purpose of this forum was to get people's unvarnished thoughts. By unilaterally claiming the right to censor those unvarnished thoughts, it was the student who was being not only uninclusive, but utterly inconsiderate to the feelings of everyone else in that room. To borrow a term I have nothing but contempt for, that student was claiming a "trans-privilege" to impose limits on that conversation that no-one else in the room possessed.

And by the same token, declaring that someone's gender and skin color are the sole determinants of what topics they may or may opine on, as you do in your final paragraph, are many times more "exclusionary" than using any word, no matter how offensive.

@110 Your "private" versus "public" distinction makes no sense in this context. Dan was the invited guest to a program run by a private university for the benefit of its students who could freely choose whether or not to attend. That's about as close to a "private" setting as you can get, short of Dan talking to the mirror in his bathroom.
Posted by Marooner on June 8, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 112
to which Dan has yet to enter the ignorance of Paul's territory, but Dan does have a problem in that he believes another person's sexuality is something he gets any say in whether or not a person discloses their sexuality or shares it in any way with the public

He does not have the right to say that "a person has a moral responsibility to come out of the closet"

it is perfectly within his rights to tell those people to bite him, whom wish to keep their sexuality as private and not share it with him or the public,

however proclaiming it a moral obligation is violating a person's most basic, core rights, the ones declared in Our Declaration, the same ones LGBT people have had violated since that day in 1776, as the private matters of spirituality and sexuality, are not area's that you will ever have any right to invade , not ever, at least not without them rightful owner of that private space desiring to be violated.

These are very important aspects when it comes to right and wrong behaviors, especially if you are interested in Real freedom, real liberty, and real justice and it care about actually deserving those most basic core rights in your life

because there are certain levels of respect that it is Your duty to voluntarily be responsible for, if you expect to be granted certain freedoms and specific liberties

not respecting another person's rights, and believing that such violations can occur without it meaning your forfeiture of certain freedoms and specific liberties is the mentality of a rapist

which is to not be worthy of the rights guaranteed by Our Constitution

which is why it is a very, very, very stupid thing to do; it is very, very, very stupid to exercise freedoms or liberties which you willingly choose to violate or unconstitutionally withhold said rights from other worthy people
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Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 12:24 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 113
@109,

That's a good explanation for what's going on with that particular student. It doesn't explain why that student's own particular issues are being taken seriously by anyone else or why this has turned into a firestorm in the "transcommunity". Anyone with any sense should be telling "it" to grow the fuck up.

@112,

You seriously can't tell the difference between Dan expressing an opinion about coming out being a moral imperative and a fucking Constitutional violation? Grow up.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 8, 2014 at 12:38 PM · Report this
114
I thank M? Corner for reminding me that I wondered about Ms Cox. She was moderating, she raised the subject, and her remark about her former jokes was apparently the one instance of The Word being uttered in a context consistent with the inference that it was being used as a slur rather than quoted as part of an academic discussion. And yet the headline reads:

"Comments made by Savage elicited student criticism and an online student petition."
Posted by vennominon on June 8, 2014 at 12:39 PM · Report this
115
"That's not how we do journalism out here in the real world, Maroon"

Ha ha! Dan Savage scolds student journalists to not engage in one source journalism! Because the Stranger NEVER has or will engage in one source journalism.
Posted by Trevor on June 8, 2014 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 116
@ 110, that danger is already being realized. What do you think holding a seminar in private is, with a nondisclosure agreement in place, if not a manifestation of those dangers?

Think about it, if you can. Dan and the other participants had to go behind closed doors because they are already not free to speak about this topic in an open forum. If they do, the howling monkeys of outrage disrupt everything, and intellectual discussions are destroyed by mob rule. And as we now see, even going into hiding is no protection if someone behind that door will break the agreement because "it" didn't get "its" way.

Calling it "bullshit" in the face of such manifestation is in par with climate change denial. It's already happening, and it's delaying social justice for as long as we let it.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 12:50 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 117
Marooner and drunk Kevin,

I am saying that if you are going to waste everyone's time arguing shit that has no understanding of how to discern having the right from not having the right, which this whole post is about, it's people like you whom are the reason people have to sign wavers

as nothing would ever get done without people agreeing to take a referee's judgement as the final say, that's how to get around situations where both extreme sides of the idiot fence are represented.

if the fault doesn't lie with Dan or the student, then the moderator is the one who didn't preform their job

as that's the situation we have, drunk Kevin, you are correct, people have to grow up, sign wavers to agree to the mods, or shut the fuck up
Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 118
Two wrongs don't make a right Matt, if Dan wanted to remain in the right, he could have said that he'd love to discuss what happened, however that would break the agreement as others chose to do

which means it's no longer a matter of "private" space, since both sides of the idiot fence decided to drag it into public arenas
Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 1:02 PM · Report this
nocutename 119
Here you go:

http://www.queerty.com/exclusive-transge…

And I would think she has a bit of cred.
Posted by nocutename on June 8, 2014 at 1:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 120
Except Dan wasn't wrong. If one participant breaks the agreement, nobody is still bound by it. Especially when one of the other participants is under public attack for what occured at that meeting.

Only one person made this public - "it." Dan loses nothing by engaging the matter now.

You should think these things through more. You're basically arguing that Dan shouldn't be able to defend himself in public. It's like Kafka's Trial except that it's we who are being kept ignorant, while only one side gets to make vague but damaging charges. There is no logical or fair system of ethics that regards that as right.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM · Report this
121
This is why I want to throw a brick every time someone invokes 'privilege' to try to silence someone else. There may have been a time when the word had meaning. Now it is just a goalpost-moving version of 'shut up, that's why.'
Posted by Polyphemus on June 8, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 122
nobodies moving goal posts Poly, it's just the difference between things like instantaneous velocity and average velocity.

It's pointless to argue who is in the right and who is in the wrong accept for every point along the timeline of events.

without addressing the parts where Dan was in the right and after which point he was in the wrong, this is just all that ivy league bullshit of enjoying arguing.

there is no point in discussing a point wherein the student is right with a person who is talking about the point when Dan was still in the right

unless you want a play by play where we are talking about the points where the right and wrong lines are crossed, we might as well invite Paul, and Rick Santorum to solve this problem
Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 1:39 PM · Report this
123
Just out of curiosity, does U of C get complaints about cultural appropriation over the name 'Maroon'?
Posted by Avi on June 8, 2014 at 1:42 PM · Report this
Bonefish 124
Using "tranny" to describe a trans person is hate speech. Using "tranny" to identify it as a problematic word about which you're about to have an academic discussion is NOT hate speech. This is not rocket science.

Spelling out what makes "tranny" problematic, as Dan was attempting to do, would progress trans rights causes by communicating exactly what it is that, well, makes the word "tranny" problematic. (Some of) those who entered that discussion would leave with a better idea of exactly why this word matters so much to trans people. Similarly, the discussion of whether or not it will be reclaimed by trans people is a perfectly appropriate academic discussion, regardless of whether or not the trans community ultimately decides to follow the example that their colleagues laid out with the word "queer."

And I'm sorry, but a huge portion of what makes "tranny" problematic is context. It was not considered a hateful term until it was co-opted by bigots and used to communicate hatred. It's that usage- being used to communicate hatred- that makes it a hate term. Using it hatefully, or casually, would be inappropriate. Using it academically is not, since the context is vastly different.

And before anyone argues against that point, consider that even this "it" person actually agrees with it- for every single other anti-queer slur. This alone should raise red flags about his sincerity. Principles are only principles if you apply them consistently.

When this person insisted that the use of the term is universally inappropriate, they are essentially arguing that context should be ignored and the appropriateness of words should be dictated by knee-jerk whims rather than by the context in which they are being used. This reduces the politics of equality down to a "potty mouth" accusation mentality in which ideas do not matter, but rather a strict set of rules is set forth to either be followed or broken. Ironically, this is arguably a less sensitive approach to slurs, since it reduces them to mere "naughty words" and ignores the fact that what makes so many slurs offensive is their ugly historical context, not merely their inclusion on somebody's no-no list.

I'm not the type of person who bellows screeds against "PC police" every time someone is taken to task for saying something stupid. Slurs are not to be used casually, even if hatred is not intended; however, academic discussions do not qualify as casual use. Often, with an academic discussion, there's a point being made and that point should be what determines whether or not something is offensive. I think that, when it comes to slurs, there's no shortage of compelling arguments making a convincing case that those who use them are idiots and assholes. However, each one of these arguments relies on describing why their use in a given context reflects hatred and/or unreasonable levels of consideration for others. When you argue that a word is a black-and-white "no-no," you are denying the existence of a logical argument against the use of a word (in most contexts) in favor of an oversimplified schoolyard mentality. This may be a nice, quick route to appearing to be a "better" radical on a shallow level, but otherwise it's insulting to the cause that these people claim to support with such emotional conviction.
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Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on June 8, 2014 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Bonefish 125
Meant to say "its" sincerity earlier; not "his" sincerity. Sorry.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on June 8, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 127
No Matt, two wrongs never make a right, if you had an agreement about not disclosing private details, and the other person breaks that agreement, then they are wrong

You are not wrong until you break the agreement. Otherwise any other person other than you can have their words by worth jack shit, your words have value until to you decide to not be good on them.

The student being wrong may have influenced Dan's decision to also stand in the wrong, but the student didn't force Dan to walk the way he did, he chose

At this point they are both wrong, so it doesn't really mean shit, no article written by anybody, even a transgendered veteran of discrimination on Queerty magazine can make either the student or Dan to begin walking back on the right path.

They are both wrong, it's what they choose to do after the fact the matters.

It's certainly not against the law to walk the wrong path your entire life, just be careful of the wrong paths that are actually illegal, because once you decide walking the wrong path is right, then your world becomes the wrong that isn't illegal and the wrong path that is illegal

That is the moving of goal posts that Poly is referring to

Frankly, I don't give a shit if neither Dan nor the student does the right thing, or if both Dan and the student redefine their wrongs as the new rights.

As that is pretty much a pass time around here, idiot sloggers deciding their wrongs are the new rights

Being LGBT was never a wrong, that was the lie society tried to force you to believe.

Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 1:56 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 128
@ 127, Dan wasn't wrong. Period.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 2:12 PM · Report this
129
For what it's worth, I knew a genderqueer person who preferred the pronoun 'it'. Took me a damn long time to get used to that, but not my job to tell someone else how to refer to themselves. It was not a wacko activist, who got super upset at everything, either.
Posted by clashfan on June 8, 2014 at 2:14 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 130
oh boy,

I don't follow links because I am not currently knowledgeable enough to properly secure my network

Anyway, I didn't realize you were talking about the Starbucks on seventh, in your "hypothetical game"

I suppose you are looking for some sort of confession. The only thing I can say is I don't feel guilty --- at all --- for noticing attractive people, I didn't give anybody creepy, staring, leering looks

I didn't utter any hateful words, nor did I even think them. When a person looks good and I notice and I think WOW her presence is striking, I am not worried about whether or not the person is a female, pre-op female, male blah blah blah or any gender or mix of anything. Because the only thing I thought was simply noticing how attractive the person was in a fairly short dress, with her legs propped up on a coffee table.

I don't care what gender the attractive person is, I may have joked long ago, parodying a conservative homophobe who is genuinely concerned that if the attractive person had a penis, that it might mean I am homosexual. I was mocking the type of conservative whose problem isn't that he hates you, he hates himself. That person is not me, nor was I intending it to be taken seriously

I have classes that I am in the process of failing, and you bother me with this shit?

spit it out for Christ's sake, you are the only one besides all the other sloggers who are being Ridiculous by default of trying to be too Suttle

I don't hang around in between those two locations, and if I ever do, I assure you it is only in passing, the times that it does appear like I am lingering there, I am either Lost or else attempting to amuse a friend, because I hate that fucking place, and I don't if it's the Suttle and Ridiculous in Heaven or Hell, I will tell both inhabitants to spit it out or else go fuck themselves,

when I say I didn't realize something, I mean I had not occurred to me, I despise all the strategy in the ivy league political debate strategerie book. I am not concerned with winning an argument, I am just trying to do the right thing
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Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 2:58 PM · Report this
131
@ 108: Yes, it was someone else's space - it was the space of the Institute of Politics, not QUIP's space. The person who did not respect someone else's private space was the narcissistic Maroon, not Dan (the invited guest) and not Ana Marie Cox (the host).

When you're in someone else's space, and they ask you not to violate the confidentiality of that space, and you do so anyway simply because you didn't like something you heard, you are an ASSHOLE.
Posted by Chase on June 8, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 132
Dirtclustit is far more entertaining than either Roku or Ragu.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on June 8, 2014 at 3:07 PM · Report this
133
@ 127: Once the confidentiality was broken, it was broken. Expecting Dan to maintain silence while being pilloried is unreasonable and ridiculous.

But then, all I ever hear from you is noise and nonsense.
Posted by Chase on June 8, 2014 at 3:09 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 134
Some disrespectful asshole said :

"When you're in someone else's space, and they ask you not to violate the confidentiality of that space, and you do so anyway simply because you didn't like something you heard, you are an ASSHOLE."

as if commenting here could by an example of exactly what you are trying to say,

That's fine, just realize for all the shit the authors and commenters say here at slog, if you can't take that which you dish out, don't dish it out.

I am very aware that slog is for the most part, hypocritical and ignorant, and expects a double standard or only believes in rules and guidelines when they have a gross advantage to manipulate

So you can throw all the subtle shit you want, If I ask for clarification, and there are no objections, bitching about it through subtle and indirect ways only makes you a coward with no right to do so. It's a cowardly spineless route to take, that is doubly spineless because you take the subtle way through coward town.
Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 3:32 PM · Report this
135
Is this direct enough for you? Go check your meds, I think you missed some.
Posted by Chase on June 8, 2014 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 136
Dirtclustit, you're projecting your own flaws upon Slog.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 8, 2014 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 137
When you offer public access to the space, you can remain the administrator of that space, but it isn't exactly the private space you think it is.

Nobody can force you to do the right thing, nobody can force people in glass houses to not chuck rocks at the houses in the valley below

but it is a very chickenshit and cowardly act chuck those rocks, pretend not to hear when the people below clearly state, "STOP" in every sense of the word that exists as opposed to understanding that your words will be misunderstood, yet not correcting the misunderstanding because you are a manipulative fuck, then having the gall to call up the cavalry because of the injustice done to your ego --- even though your glass house wasn't even scratched ---- by the peon you abused for years and actually did violate real personal private space, as opposed to a virtual private space with public access that you were to spineless to moderate because of some dumb unspoken unwritten law of the assholes of yesteryear fucked you over with

great, you should have spoken up then, as it doesn't give you or any slogger the right to keep flawed understanding of laws used to govern.

fuck that, if it happens to me or I see happen to others, I will say something, because I mean it when I say I'd like to see a solution to the world's problems

Have a little faith in yourself, have courage to stand for the right things, there is honor in a life lived like that, there is no honor in double standards and manipulation, but you don't have to take my word for it
Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 3:48 PM · Report this
138
@108 That is a false dichotomy, this is not a world where the only two options are "if you don't do exactly what I say, you're abusing your privilege to exclude me" or "be inclusive and do exactly what I say".
Posted by kindsight on June 8, 2014 at 4:00 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 139
at 133

Yeah Chase, I have to depend on confidentiality I would only choose not to do any business with the student, I wouldn't automatically condemn any other party whose confidence had been broken, but as soon as one of the other parties involved went around spewing their shit and breaking the confidence I placed in them, that's the point wherein the each and every party that show it is not wise for me to confide in them, I will no longer do, as that is a double standard, to me that's in many ways worse than the asshole who leaked the info first.

When you justify the exact same shitty actions you were raising hell over, it removes your right to complain about it. As far as I am concerned, both assholes should lose their rights when they cannot exercise them responsibly

is this direct enough?

Go fuck yourself Chase
Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 4:04 PM · Report this
William T. Fuckweiler 140
I haven't logged into this account in a million years, but now seems like an appropriate enough time. I <3 how asswipes like Savage are so quick to agree with right wingers about "PC Police" and overreaction and blah blah. Does it burn you that not every progressive thinks your shit smells lovely? That particularly the young are leaving people like you behind?

Enjoy your fan club. Incidentally, my main critique of the "It Gets Yadda" project is that it should come with a big damn asterisk. What happens when it doesn't? Because for a lot of people, it can and will get worse. Like being referred to with the pronoun of an inanimate object by one of the loudest voices in contemporary LGBnm politics.

Fuck all y'all. Goodbye.
Posted by William T. Fuckweiler on June 8, 2014 at 4:06 PM · Report this
143
People who present a perpetually moving target in terms of what is acceptable speech -- not to mention one that is often self-contradictory and 100% personally customized, and therefore variable depending on which specific person is shouting from the soapbox at the moment -- find themselves isolated, with nobody willing to talk either to them or about them.

This is not the first activist group that I do not consider myself even an ally of, for precisely that reason.
Posted by avast2006 on June 8, 2014 at 4:55 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 144
@119,

Seems like most babytrans don't give a shit about the people who literally bled for their rights. For fuck's sake, check #140.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 8, 2014 at 5:01 PM · Report this
146
@28: Great new verb! "Voldemorted." Thanks

In fact, we should fully fill out the neologism, defining the word "Voldemort" as "any Word Which Must Not Be Said" and using it as the fill-in-word every time someone is talking about a word that political correctness demands be censored. Thus people will be talking not about the "n-word", "t-word", "c-word" et cetera, but will say "the N-Voldemort", "the T-Voldemort", "the C-Voldemort" et cetera.

I am also amused that supposedly liberal voices are openly demanding active censorship on the part of the authority structure.
Posted by avast2006 on June 8, 2014 at 5:30 PM · Report this
147
@ 140 - Did you miss the part where the word "it" is the CHOSEN PRONOUN of the kid in question? Dan was using the pronoun the kid wanted people to use.
Posted by MiscKitty on June 8, 2014 at 5:38 PM · Report this
149
@144 It's almost as if times change and what words are considered (un)acceptable change with it! Besides deference to authority is intellectually lazy.
Posted by Just The Same on June 8, 2014 at 7:04 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 150
When in the end, both parties are just a bunch of self-absorbed assholes who believe it's more important to be right, then to do the right thing and admit when you're wrong, who the fuck cares

And when someone tries to make you suffer and bleed you, just because they did, that's fucked up @144

I wouldn't give a shit either, I don't give a shit about people who afflict others, esp when it comes from someone who knows what it's like to be afflicted.

Fuck those people who make it out of the hell humans create for other humans, and then set booby traps along the path. The people who genuinely care about others, the ones who care more about that then looking like they're right are the only people worth giving a shit about.

Unless this whole story is complete bullshit (which I am sure it is after the Santa Barbara shootings, Bob Ergdahl, and every other bullshit story spewed out by people who don't give a fuck about the truth, people who do genuinely care, don't need to have these types of debates, because people who care don't continue to attack others when they are already on the ground.

The don't make up bullshit scenarios and equate verbally and emotionally and psychologically beating the shit out of an ally, to attempting to crash a same sex orgy party and violating their space.

You don't need to know all the bullshit colorful details when you are just trying to figure out who the asshole is

They are people who want to make sure everyone has suffered like they have instead of doing everything in their power so that nobody has to suffer like they did.

And that is the main difference between an asshole and a caring person.

Every person who ever helped civil rights progress, isn't stupid enough to kick it two floors down just for the fuck of it or to make sure the next person doesn't get anything handed to them

More...
Posted by Dirtclustit on June 8, 2014 at 7:05 PM · Report this
151
I swear to god, this boils down to trans women being bitter after lives of being socially shunned by gay dudes. Most trans women grew up being expected to fit in with cis gay male culture, and were treated like shit because they weren't cute enough or were otherwise weird-seeming (gay dudes can be some shallow douchebags, we all know this), and now they're in college and it is RAGE TIME. Oof. I even sort of understand where they're coming from, but they have to know that they're losing allies by acting so petulant.
Posted by glerg on June 8, 2014 at 7:32 PM · Report this
152
@151 I don't even know where to begin...

Assuming for example what you said was true, do you really think that trans women consider the people who shun them to be allies? Are the just supposed to accept being treated like shit?

Going back to reality for a second, just because one person did a bad thing to Dan (reminder that several outspoken trans women had Dan's back on this), suddenly trans women are losing allies? Dude, I don't think you even know what that word means.
Posted by Just The Same on June 8, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 153
@149,

This has nothing to do with "times changing". I can think, for example, that old-guard feminists are kind of backwards in their thinking and I can still, meanwhile, regard them with respect. #140 is a disrespectful, narcissistic asshole. Maybe try reading that comment again.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 8, 2014 at 8:09 PM · Report this
154
@153 My reading comprehension is just fine. "Seems like most babytrans don't give a shit about the people who literally bled for their rights," in reference to an article about Jayne County. That's entirely like the old-guard feminists. Which isn't to say that I don't respect Jayne County. I deeply admire what she has done, but I think that she is right about the word "tranny" (it's abhorrent that she received death threats for it though).
Posted by Just The Same on June 8, 2014 at 8:23 PM · Report this
155
Love you Dirtclustit ( Great Defender), sometimes though, it does my head in a little bit- trying to work out what you're actually saying.
Sorry to hear your failing your studies/ hope you can turn that around.
Posted by LavaGirl on June 8, 2014 at 10:30 PM · Report this
156
" you take the subtle way thru coward town"/ poetry.
Songs in your poetry Dirtclustit/
Posted by LavaGirl on June 8, 2014 at 10:42 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 157
I read and re-read this article, and I come to the same conclusion: undergraduate angst. "It" is a bore. QUIP is a collection of bores. Hopefully they'll grow out of it, but I don't have much hope for them. They'll most likely end up perpetual misery cases.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on June 8, 2014 at 10:59 PM · Report this
158
Wow. This has to the world's largest pile of naval lint.
Posted by Punditwatch on June 8, 2014 at 11:03 PM · Report this
milemarker 159
I'm not going to become anti-trans because of the idiot students at UC. But it sure as hell crossed my mind as I read this article. Those kids are ***indistinguishable*** from the nut cases on the far right. They want to DICTATE the law no matter how fucked up the law is and if you don't like it, you just better thank your lucky stars that these people aren't in power over your life.

Dan 1, It 0

Posted by milemarker on June 8, 2014 at 11:59 PM · Report this
160
This is just typical SJW bullshit. They can't stand being wrong it's like sunlight to a vampire to them, so they'll do anything to avoid it, even attempting to alter reality to suit their needs.

I'm at the point where I think people need to be sat and told that being a member of a minority group is not a Get Out of Being a Decent Human Being Free card.

Amazingly enough the rules still apply to you even if you are black/gay/trans whatever. Yes you do get to change the rules if they are unfair or oppressive, but not getting your way all the time is neither of those things.
Posted by msanonymous on June 9, 2014 at 12:03 AM · Report this
161
Ok - I think you're fabulous, Dan, for many reasons, - but here's a synopsis of all of that: "I am not transphobic, but this UofC student event rattled and flustered me. I had a disagreement with a student over the level of offense and use in any context of the word "tranny." The student stormed out and the school newspaper honed in. I then point out some irony that demonstrates the students improper use of an identity pronoun, then I conclude it with an overemphasis on trans connections." My take - these are young people - they're dynamic and creative; they're unlearning the years of shit they have been listening to in their parent's home; they're emotional and unsure of themselves; and they're interested in helping to shape their identity.

And beyond those circumstances. the student, to a lesser degree, perhaps, but nonetheless has a case here: if someone has beaten me with a baseball bat while calling me a "tranny," I would likely make that word a flashback into a private hell. That will not be the circumstance for everyone, but if I had to rate who has had a harder time on the scale of suffering, it's certainly not me. And along those lines, I have to do the best to understand that, for as much of an advocate I consider myself to be, I am not them. The same can be said of heterosexuals who feel a certain degree of license based on what they think they know or how supportive they are. All through your diatribe, I couldn't help but think of the, "some of my best friends are black" approach some white people take as an out to just admitting to themselves that they will never have any real concept for what it means to be black. I know it's not meant to be anywhere in that neighborhood of thought, but you're a big boy - you can take the critique - and that's how it sounds. Beyond that, the quick and dirty is this: you've let an undergraduate who is on their own path of identity, not nearly as well grounded in their own understanding of who they are as you, someone near the age of your son, get under your skin. An accomplished pundit, author, dad, husband, gay as hell, gay man who knows, and not only likes, but is proud of who he is, etc. - you've allowed yourself to take excessive concern to the opinions of the aspiring journalists of a college newspaper. How long have you been doing the college circuit? Surely this is not your first time at the Rodeo. These are not your peers, and attempting to school them is not only unnecessary, it's unseemly. Look, I completely get how much you feel this conversation felt like this "got your goat" moment...back several years ago, when I worked at the University of Maryland, I felt compelled to provide the benefit of experience to a kid who wrote for the school newspaper, who, I felt tried to stretch into fantasy how much indifference his Log Cabin Republicans group met in its encounters with other GOP groups. I could feel myself getting worked up, so I fired off an email to this guy to knock him off of his pedestal. But looking back in hindsight, I should have known better. His experience will allow for the moment where he works these things out, and there was no need for me to go at him. And that will likely happen with your young, misinformed friend. You are on a different place in your identity development and stage of life. There's just really no need for you or me or any of us to spend our time like that. Did it convince you that anyone would entertain these notions? If not - then move on. As someone celebrated, appreciated, loved, and inspired, understand those moments where the best thing to do is walk away. None of us wants to show our age, especially as gay men, but that should be one area for which we should show it.
More...
Posted by T Pitchford on June 9, 2014 at 12:29 AM · Report this
162
Minus this "...less" piece - not sure why that copied from my Word doc..
Posted by T Pitchford on June 9, 2014 at 12:34 AM · Report this
163
You reap what you sow. The PC crowd for years has tried to seize control of the language to impose speech codes and create thought crimes. This isn't about sensitivity so much as it is about coercion and power. If you could define bigotry down, if you could make language more and more restrictive and the definition of bigotry more and more amorphous, then the language police could sit in a position of power over others, accusing them of bigotry, lack of sensitivity, lack of education for even the most inadvertent use of words. Use the wrong word, even without any ill-intent, and you are now a "bigot." Use a now disfavored word that was once deemed acceptable at a time when it was commonly used, and you are still a "bigot." What words are now permitted? The thought police will let you know.

Is it in the slightest surprising that under these circumstances where power is defined as accusing others of bigotry down a constant slippery slope that groups within the PC thought police would start eating their own? Kids are "educated" to believe that words are power and their own hypersensitivity should define the language, that bigotry can be found in supposed "microaggressions." They are taught that prestige is based on moral superiority defined as accusing others of bigotry or insensitivity without any decency. The irony here is that Savage operates within the same system, so he cannot simply condemn the entire process as a farce. He cannot call these brats the idiots that they are or tell them to grow up. "Cisgender." "T-slur." "Privilege." Etc. Brings to mind the saying that only someone who attended a university could be that stupid.
Posted by astrodog on June 9, 2014 at 1:54 AM · Report this
164
You reap what you sow. The PC crowd for years has tried to seize control of the language to impose speech codes and create thought crimes. This isn't about sensitivity so much as it is about coercion and power. If you could define bigotry down, if you could make language more and more restrictive and the definition of bigotry more and more amorphous, then the language police could sit in a position of power over others, accusing them of bigotry, lack of sensitivity, lack of education for even the most inadvertent use of words. Use the wrong word, even without any ill-intent, and you are now a "bigot." Use a now disfavored word that was once deemed acceptable at a time when it was commonly used, and you are still a "bigot." What words are now permitted? The thought police will let you know.

Is it in the slightest surprising that under these circumstances where power is defined as accusing others of bigotry down a constant slippery slope that groups within the PC thought police would start eating their own? Kids are "educated" to believe that words are power and their own hypersensitivity should define the language, that bigotry can be found in supposed "microaggressions." They are taught that prestige is based on moral superiority defined as accusing others of bigotry or insensitivity without any decency. The irony here is that Savage operates within the same system, so he cannot simply condemn the entire process as a farce. He cannot call these brats the idiots that they are or tell them to grow up. "Cisgender." "T-slur." "Privilege." Etc. Brings to mind the saying that only someone who attended a university could be that stupid.
Posted by astrodog on June 9, 2014 at 1:58 AM · Report this
165
All I have to say is that you spend an awful lot of time on trivial matters. Who gives a damn about cis/trans/het/he/she/it/they but people with nothing better to think about?
Posted by ProudDenier on June 9, 2014 at 3:02 AM · Report this
166
@161, much of what you say is wise. One does need to show wisdom and hold ones tongue when younger people are mouthing off .. Or trying to unseat one. In this instance, doubt if Dan really expected such an outcome from him standing his ground.
And it sounds to me, reAding the references, that this was a bit of a set up for Dan. Some of these students came into the room, already having decided Dan was a problematic choice for the uni to make.
. Hence, first opportunity to confront his style
( and really, just have to read a few of his posts here- and Dans style is obvious), and bam- " an issue" arose.
The university , after the forum, took these students concerns seriously- meetings were had etc. As a result of this enquiry, the authorities decided no apology was warranted. And a pretty clear reason given.
Then the students , rather than accepting this outcome- went public. This to me, was a set up.. Why, would be the question...
Young people maybe wanting to take a powerful man down
( slay the father), whatever the reason- the take away is just sludge, for all. I mean really, a hate crime? What bullshit..
Posted by LavaGirl on June 9, 2014 at 3:28 AM · Report this
168
The worst part about being an atheist is discovering that the bell curve of human intelligence applies to atheists as well as believers.

What Dan is facing is rooted in the same truth, just because you share a birth trait with someone does not make them good people, just because you support an oppressed group it does not make that group all good people and in the end, idiots are born that way.

As long as we have fervent recyclers driving SUV's I feel that logic is a technical not specific term.
Posted by Kylere on June 9, 2014 at 5:50 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 170
Hey LavaG, I am pretty sure they only accused dipshit of "hate speech"

Danno was the escalator who rounded it up to a hate crime

which I think was done for two reasons

1) He is a punkass journalist who no doubt engages in such fiascos like this staged event because "all publicity is good publicity, or so some think

2) It's a standard tactic among the idiots of the interwebs, whose main concern is that they look superior, dominant, never wrong in the public's eyes

to the point that they don't give a shit whether they are right or wrong, they only care about what the majority of readers perceive in regards to who is right and who is wrong

If you don't have a strong rebuttle, the inferior ivy league route is to exaggerate the claims made as it is easier to weasel out of the picture they painted him in.

Sort of piss poor logic, but you know if it's in Yale's big bigoted debate book, then Dan is all over that like flies on a trudo turd.

It win win for Dan, he not a bigot, he just an asshole, and an asshole that borrows strategery from a bigots book magnifies his assholism tenfold

You know somethings up when a journalist fakes his bad publicity stories. I don't know, but there are few things worse than an asshole who gets bored easy

That's my best guess seeing as how I wasn't at the fictional hate speech symposium. I was at Starbucks looking at transgendered women who I never would have thought were born in the opposite body

That's not what I went there for, but I can't divulge the real reason and I didn't drink their shitty Seattle Cattle coffee, I hate everything Seattle
Posted by Dirtclustit on June 9, 2014 at 7:11 AM · Report this
171
Well, I would endeavour to refer to someone who has decided that it wishes to be referred to as it on the grounds of common courtesy, but that does not preclude my using the word 'it' in all the usual ways.

As far as I can tell the person who wished to be referred to as it was objecting to 'It Gets Better' because it personally does not feel that it has got better, it meaning the specific individual who wishes to appropriate it solely to itself. This isn't going to work, since our language can't do without it.

On the other hand, drama monarch is pure genius...

Posted by dice on June 9, 2014 at 7:53 AM · Report this
172
I don't like the term queer, never have. I request all people stop using it and that QUIP change its name in acknowledgement of my discomfort. I was too young in the 90s to know that Queer was being reclaimed.

If you don't listen to my demands, then you are committing a hate crime. That is all.
Posted by clearlyhere http://clearlyhere.livejournal.com on June 9, 2014 at 8:59 AM · Report this
173
I really am sick to death of having to be so PC that one cannot even discuss issues surrounding the PC-ness of a word. I use the word retard. I know that those who are mentally handicapped don't like it. I don't use it in context to them but some people seem unable or unwilling to accept that it is a perfectly descriptive word and that it is applicable to other cases, mentally handicapped nothwithstanding, but insist that it is un-PC to use it at all. Fuck them.
Posted by mykelbarber on June 9, 2014 at 9:22 AM · Report this
174
Dan, thanks for the detailed explanation of what went down at the U of C event. For what it's worth, I doubt many people ever believed for a moment that you had said anything genuinely prejudiced.

That being said, I'm not surprised that any of this happened. Society has been incentivizing "being offended" to such a degree that the offended party immediately gains an enormous amount of power; Power that is frequently wielded in bad faith to destroy rather than educate.

Neither world is perfect but personally I'd prefer to have a world where there's genuine intellectual discourse rather than one run by the thought police. Yes, the former results in some hurtful assholes being allowed to say dumb or hateful things but it's preferable to a society where someone can be destroyed at any time because they inadvertently offended someone.
Posted by Niteandgrey on June 9, 2014 at 9:53 AM · Report this
seandr 175
As conservatives have demonstrated time and again, it's often impossible to distinguish ideological zealotry from a full-blown personality disorder.
Posted by seandr on June 9, 2014 at 9:57 AM · Report this
176
Dan,

I am a Transman, activist, Seattle City Commissioner and love your work. It is about intent with any word for me and I feel you have been an advocate for the trans community. The it gets better campaign has been wonderful as well, & brought a great deal of awareness. See you Thu at the Bawdy Storytelling event.

Mac S. McGregor
Posted by MacDaddy1 on June 9, 2014 at 10:06 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 177
My only problem with this whole thing is that in listing Ana Marie Cox's credentials you didn't mention her work at Suck.com.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on June 9, 2014 at 10:16 AM · Report this
178
God DAMN IT. I am a breeder gal, married to a breeder guy. We are both firm supporters that all LGBTQ-LMNOP people deserve the same rights and protections as we enjoy. I am annoyed that now I can't even keep track of what words I am and am not allowed to use in polite company (read: my lovely and wonderful LGBTQ-LMNOP pals).

I've never used "tranny" to describe anyone who is ID'ing themselves as trans gendered, although my two best guy pals love throwing around "hot tranny mess".

I would never feel comfortable calling any person, no matter how they identify themselves "IT" I read "A Child Called It." I'm not calling you IT, I just can't. I'm sorry if that gets your gender-non specific panties in a bunch, but I can't go there. One of my friends from high school is in the process of transitioning now, how on earth can I start calling him It? Jesus Christ, calling him it makes it sounds like he is as unimportant as a lamp post or a mailbox. Fucking IT?

Listen, you darling, wonderful, cray-cray, freshman of the college world, I support you. I love you. I want the freedoms that I take for granted to be yours, so you can take them for granted. I want you to live in a world where you feel safe to let your flag of whatever color/kind/etc... fly. But when you start busting the balls of a guy who created the It Gets Better Project, who has saved the life of at least on of my friends and I am sure COUNTLESS others, but claiming he is transphobic I don't even know what to do with you anymore. You are NOT HELPING.

I think I am just going to refer to everyone the way my (very small, toddler) son refers to everyone as of late. From now on you will not be she/he/him/her/cis/IT, you shall be "bob." Everyone is "bob" to him. If its good enough for a 4 year old, its good enough for me.

Jesus Christ. It. I don't even have the words.
More...
Posted by darlin13 on June 9, 2014 at 10:27 AM · Report this
179
Indignation rapidly becomes its own reward sometimes, just as some people who go through an actual illness later begin to 'seek out' the role of the patient for psychological comfort, sympathy, and as a way for avoiding life's existential agonies. I've noticed that in [various other marginalized groups], an activist earns their credibility by various conspicuous demonstrations of indignation against an acceptable target. And usually, the target is mostly expedient, typically someone who is sympathetic enough to be close by.

It seems like trans activists have fallen into the old trap of caring about the *concept* of people more than *actual people.* And so, they treat themselves and others as abstractions, without irony or the idea that someone can fall short of your personal ideals in many ways, and yet still be a good friend.

No one will ever approach you if they feel that you are just looking to make a lesson out of them for your cronies, and that you are too weak to tolerate the transgressions that are the very soul of friendship.
Posted by Keey on June 9, 2014 at 11:20 AM · Report this
180
@ 161: Sometimes you have to smack down idiotic behavior in order to teach a lesson. Waiting around for circumstance (meaning: someone other than you) to do it is just an abdication of responsibility dressed up in a lot of moral equestrianship.

The students didn't just annoy Dan. They also compromised the integrity of a closed-door event thrown by the IOP which relies on its confidentiality to get guest speakers to speak transparently. That doesn't work if the guests are concerned that students with an imaginary axe to grind are going to cause a ruckus that will put their remarks in the national media.

By ignoring that fact you are not "rising above" their bad behavior, you are actually rewarding it.
Posted by Chase on June 9, 2014 at 11:36 AM · Report this
181
Lots of complicated issues, for sure, but if someone asks you not to use a word which they find hurtful then it seems just common courtesy to not use it. That's pretty simple, isn't it?

If you feel that evading use of the word hampers the discussion, then make that case by continuing the conversation without using the word and demonstrate how the discussion is hampered. Or, if you think the request is silly, then replace the word with something random, like "Chuck Norris", to show how silly it is.

There were more gracious and skilled ways to roll around this nuisance than confronting it directly, intentionally grinding someone's face in it, and provoking them to act out.
Posted by Charlie Mas on June 9, 2014 at 11:38 AM · Report this
182
When whiners challenge their leadership.
Posted by seatownr on June 9, 2014 at 11:50 AM · Report this
183
@ 141, 142: Go cry me a river. When Dirtclustit demonstrates the ability to pass the Turing test (ironic comment @110) I'll start to give a shit about what they say, until then I'll be over here with Team Coherence. What I said was not only far more polite than what I was responding to, it may actually have been good advice.

And since you appear to have only come here in search of evidence to support your idiotic presumption that Dan is a "bully", you can go fuck yourself with a rusty shovel.
Posted by Chase on June 9, 2014 at 11:51 AM · Report this
seandr 184
@Charlie Mas: if someone asks you not to use a word which they find hurtful then it seems just common courtesy to not use it.

When someone seeks out and accuses someone of offense where none was intended and none exists, that is a form of aggression, and no less so for being disguised as "social justice". As such, it should be directly confronted.
Posted by seandr on June 9, 2014 at 11:54 AM · Report this
186
@ 181

Point taken, but any courtesy can be abused and become a manipulative indulgence. I think common courtesy has to go the other way as well: if you ask a guest speaker to not use a word in a historical context, and they politely decline to oblige, you can either stick around and hear what they have to say for themselves or you can choose to leave. Losing your shit impresses no one and achieves nothing.
Posted by Keey on June 9, 2014 at 12:05 PM · Report this
187
@ 181: The i-slur is harmful but appeared in your comment multiple times. Please demonstrate some of this common courtesy but refrain from using harmful language this time.
Posted by Chase on June 9, 2014 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 188
Dirtclustit thank you for the amazing demonstration of Poe's Law there. I read your comment three times and honestly couldn't figure out if you were taking the piss or were just an idiot with a shaky command of the English language, so I'm gonna assume the former and applaud.
Posted by Doctor Memory http://blahg.blank.org on June 9, 2014 at 12:33 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 189
@181,

You're right. Dan and Ana Marie Cox should have asked "it" to leave.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 9, 2014 at 12:37 PM · Report this
190
@181
The problem in acceding to that one individual's demands in a large group of people is that it abrogates the rights of others in the group who wanted to discuss the way in which gender has been, and is, constructed by society.

I have no problem in endeavouring to address a particular individual as they wish; I do have a problem with someone demanding that their personal wishes over-ride everybody else's. There comes a point where personal goodwill runs out; it seems to be more and more the case that people like Santorum get a free ride whilst activists get dumped on. If this continues then I suspect that in the end activists like Dan will walk away and leave Hex to the less than tender mercies of people like Santorum; I don't think that it would enjoy the consequences...
Posted by dice on June 9, 2014 at 12:53 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 191
@181- If you can't hear a word used in the context of talking about the word then you don't belong in an adult conversation.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on June 9, 2014 at 1:11 PM · Report this
192
How does Cousin Itt feel about all this? I'd trust that amazing being to have something wise and kind to 'say.'
Posted by Keey on June 9, 2014 at 1:15 PM · Report this
193
@162 T Pitchford

"More..." and "...Less" are links for viewing either more of or less of comments above a certain length.
Posted by tal on June 9, 2014 at 1:29 PM · Report this
194
As I said to a friend whose sister was offended that we didn't invite her to our wedding, "We gave her something even greater than a wedding invitation: the opportunity to get upset about something." It apparently wanted such an opportunity, and it got it.

If you can't be happy until everyone on your campus, classroom, family, or bicycle uses the language you deem acceptable, you will never be happy.
Posted by jimstoic on June 9, 2014 at 1:34 PM · Report this
195
As I said to a friend whose sister was offended that we didn't invite her to our wedding, "We gave her something even greater than a wedding invitation: the opportunity to get upset about something." It apparently wanted such an opportunity, and it got it.

If you can't be happy until everyone on your campus, classroom, family, or bicycle uses the language you deem acceptable, you will never be happy.
Posted by jimstoic on June 9, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
JF 196
@181 The word "complicated" triggers me. Please refrain from using that word in any other threads on this website. It'd be appreciated.
Posted by JF on June 9, 2014 at 1:38 PM · Report this
Lissa 197
@188: No Poe there. Dirtclustit has......issues, one of which is that they see conspiracy every where. I stopped really engine them when they declared that the moon landing never happened.
Just so you know the kind of person we're dealing with here.
Posted by Lissa on June 9, 2014 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Lissa 198
"Engaging"
Posted by Lissa on June 9, 2014 at 1:45 PM · Report this
200
Sensitivity only leads to even greater sensitivity which leads to everything you ever say, no matter how innocuous, being capable of offending someone.

Never mind that being offended or feeling shame is always a choice.
Posted by El Steven http://misterstevengomez.com on June 9, 2014 at 1:50 PM · Report this
201
#26. I love you.
Posted by jade on June 9, 2014 at 2:12 PM · Report this
202
I just want to speak up on behalf of college students everywhere: most of us don't make the news, because most of us aren't assholes. Yes, there are idiots like this on every campus, but they're a minority on the vast majority of campuses.
Posted by alguna_rubia on June 9, 2014 at 2:19 PM · Report this
203
"It and its friend are young."

Good lord, that's all I needed to know. Whether straight, gay, bi...ect...many of us go through a phase of inordinate sensitivity while young. Being straight doesn't make you immune: too fat, too short, small boobs, big boobs, acne...you name it. We've all been there: giving strangers too much power over our feelings.

The key is to finally realize most people are most worried about their OWN shit - they are only really concerned about YOUR shit for the few seconds it took them to say something rude. Then YOU spend the next month festering over something THEY forgot about - because they went right back to worrying about THEIR shit, and have completely forgotten about you.
Posted by AinWA on June 9, 2014 at 2:28 PM · Report this
204
@184 - Offense is given and taken when none is intended all the time. Usually through ignorance or carelessness. But once you have been told, directly and explicitly, that a word is hurtful, then the continued use of that word is not unintentionally offensive.

@186 - Yes, demands for courtesy can be burdensome and feel abusive. I don't think asking someone to avoid using a single word, however, rises to that level. To demand a right to continue to be offensive is certainly a choice, but it is reminiscent of bigoted Christians demand to retain the right to speak offensively to and about homosexuals. How is it different for Dan, who has acknowledged that the word is hurtful and has stopped using the word in public contexts, to insist, aggressively, on using the word in a private conversation after being specifically asked not to use it by a participant in that conversation? C'mon, he could have replaced the word with anything. Again, I offer "Chuck Norris" as a substitute. That choice would have been sufficiently dismissive to the request while still complying with it.

And that's what this is really about. This is about being dismissive of someone's specific request that a word not be used. I'm sure that lots of people have a word that they would rather not hear and would regard it as provocative for someone to continue to use the word after they have been asked not to use it. I don't think any of us would like to have someone be so dismissive of our feelings or our requests. Yes, even if we have been obnoxious.

And that brings us to the next question. Was the goodwill exhausted? Possibly. I have little doubt that the offended party was obnoxious in any number of ways and I have little doubt that this person's attitude invited retaliation. The subsequent and frequent use of the one word that the person asked not be used would be a really tempting and delicious way of inflicting that revenge. It's just petty. It does nothing to advance the conversation and it feeds the distraction (as we've seen).

@191 - I'm not defending the qualifications of the offended party as an adult. In fact, let's stipulate that the person is not an adult. Would you do this to a child? If a child specifically asked you not to say a word, would you torture the child by incessantly repeating the word? How is that a positive? How is that a good thing that helps the child become an adult? How does it qualify you as an adult? Is this how we model adult behavior for children?
More...
Posted by Charlie Mas on June 9, 2014 at 2:43 PM · Report this
205
I seriously doubt "tranny" will ever be reclaimed. The drawbacks of homosexuality or blackness are entirely imposed by society, while transgenderism is an inherently shitty thing to have. I will never be proud or happy to have gender dysphoria. There are exceptions, people who enjoy experimenting with gender, but I suspect most trans people will always wish they were born cis regardless of social stigma. So instead of comparing "tranny" to "faggot" or "nigga", it's more like expecting "retarded" or "ugly" to be claimed.
Posted by fsjdhfskhjkdsf on June 9, 2014 at 2:45 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 206
@ 204, is there ever a time when we can dismiss someone's claims of hurt as oversensitivity, or possibly even manipulation? Is there a point where the hurt individual should instead bear the burden of courtesy and recognize that intent matters, and learn how to deal with the pain without requiring everyone in their life to avoid words with little historical use as denigrating a group of people?
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 9, 2014 at 2:57 PM · Report this
207
@204

You are making generalised statements which ignore the facts in this particular case, and you are making assertions of fact which you cannot back up. For example, you claim that Dan 'aggressively' insisted on using a particular word. You present no evidence that Dan acted aggressively; you simply say it. You omit the fact that Dan and another speaker were discussing the history of the usage of the word and why some, though not all, trans people find it hurtful.

These are the sort of tactics used by people deliberately trying to derail discussion on the web, just as they are used by people deliberately trying to derail discussion within private meetings. If you think that people won't notice that fact then you need to get out more...
Posted by dice on June 9, 2014 at 3:26 PM · Report this
208
@ 204

It may have been a single word, but it was the one word that was most critical to specific point he was trying to make. It's a bit like saying "I don't mind you talking about your heritage, but please don't say the word 'Italian,' because I was raped and beaten by an Italian."

I suppose there are times when someone's feelings are rightfully dismissed, and to me this seems like one of them. We have to stand up to bullies, even ones with hurt feelings.
Posted by Keey on June 9, 2014 at 3:32 PM · Report this
209
@178, darlin13- good idea- though think I'll just go with
Bogan. An Australian word , on the sweeter end of the Redneck continuum.
As in " Ya Bogan".
Posted by LavaGirl on June 9, 2014 at 3:43 PM · Report this
210
I think Dan should have simplified things.

His point is that "it" is possibly the most insulting slur to level at a t*.

Therefore, we should all stop using "it" in ANY context. 'It' is a triggering slur that denies people safe spaces.

So cut (that) out, immediately!
Posted by Pinkerton on June 9, 2014 at 3:51 PM · Report this
211
Seems to me if someone has the gall to accuse Dan Fucking Savage of hate crimes, he has the right to use both barrels while defending himself against these children.

The irony of "privilege" is that these kids think they have the right to determine what language is acceptable for everyone else.
Posted by remarkablyadept on June 9, 2014 at 3:57 PM · Report this
212
#79, if you read the entire post (without stopping halfway through to check Facebook/Twitter) and didn't get the point, take a reading comprehension class at your local community college.
Posted by jade on June 9, 2014 at 4:07 PM · Report this
213
#103. I have never seen what I'd remotely call bullying.... So please elaborate

He doesn't bully anyone. Hasn't ever bullied anyone. I doubt very seriously that Peter will ever answer your question with anything specific.
Posted by jade on June 9, 2014 at 4:18 PM · Report this
seandr 214
@Charlie Mas: Offense is given and taken when none is intended all the time.

The fact that someone takes offense at something does not mean it is Offensive. If it did, then there'd be no gay marriage, no porn, no mixed-race marriage, no mini-skirts, no Huck Finn, no oral sex, no drinking, no cursing, no _______.

But once you have been told, directly and explicitly, that a word is hurtful, then the continued use of that word is not unintentionally offensive.

And once it has been reasonably pointed out in reply that a behavior is not hurtful in any sense beyond the accuser's own personal prejudices or hangups, then continued attempts by the accuser to control other people with spurious allegations of offense become an act of aggression.

The decision to concede to this form of aggression is usually matter of whether
a) you share the accuser's prejudice, or
b) you are a coward.
Posted by seandr on June 9, 2014 at 4:24 PM · Report this
215
#204 The person was not a child. And I'm getting sick of ever extending 'youth' being trotted out as excuses for people who really should know better. College students aren't children, they may not be adults yet but it seems ridiculous to insist on treating someone who can vote, drive, and by porn, as a child who needs to be sheltered from the world around them.

How are they ever going to grow into someone with a stable identity if they never have to deal with being challenged in any way?
Posted by msanonymous on June 9, 2014 at 4:40 PM · Report this
216
@215

They can't. Unfortunately they can't grasp that point; it is so much easier for them to run around screaming about vicious persecution when they don't know what vicious persecution really is. Hint: it isn't Dan Savage.

Once they venture out in the real world they are going to discover it the hard way...

Posted by dice on June 9, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
218
@217

You have just made some very unpleasant allegations about Dan, and yet you announce you don't propose to discuss it further. As flounces go, this is a pretty cowardly one...
Posted by dice on June 9, 2014 at 5:38 PM · Report this
219
This is starting to become a major energy resource drain from within.

These kids need to get a history lesson and stop being entitled babies.

If people want to spend time fighting for their rights, then they should focus on real enemies and bigger targets, and stop taking pot shots at each other.

Listen carefully kids: DAN SAVAGE IS NOT THE ENEMY. GOT IT?

You could work on improving entire countries before attacking him. Try Russia. Try most of rural United States. Heck how about large parts of the African continent?

Really if there is any room for reflection, shame might be a logical feeling right now. Shame on you. Shame for attacking like a bully. Shame for being the enemy. Is there any room for true self pride when living a life of anger and entitled rage?

Learn to love a little and be more accepting. It's the broad spectrum of humanity that you should be striving to embrace. Look more at intention and allow yourself to become gracious and kind. That alone can change the world around you.

Posted by NOTICE on June 9, 2014 at 6:21 PM · Report this
220
Dan Savage's piece is a brilliant and educational intervention that this student and others who imagine "offense" was committed should be grateful for.
Posted by amazedinchicago on June 9, 2014 at 6:36 PM · Report this
221
UC grad '68. Bruno Bettelheim, Hannah Arendt, Milton Friedman, George Beadle, great diplomacy games in the lounge,NORC, common core, the great books, actual scholarship on real subjects, great discussions and disputes, Blackstone Rangers and Devil's Disciples, real fear of harm south of 59th and complete freedom of speech anywhere. It was great for a gay hick like me from the small town of Redneck Central.
Now by all accounts the place sucks. I stopped contributing in '72 yet still get calls and letters and glossy mags and will not give another dime no matter what.
Got interested in computers when we had to use punch cards to enter data. Have fun paying off those student loans with your degrees in black, queer, gender and other BS courses! What a bunch of losers.
Posted by beagleboy on June 9, 2014 at 6:51 PM · Report this
222
My thoughts?

If Rick Santorum had used the word "tranny" and they objected, he would have simply blown off their concerns as meritless or overblown.

But if they make the same objection to a noted LGBTQ activist who is naturally sympathetic to their sensibilities, they can expect that he will give some deferential ground.

Therefore, the only pound of flesh attainable for this victimized group is from one of their strongest allies, not a right-wing homophobe with real political influence.
Posted by Ray F on June 9, 2014 at 7:26 PM · Report this
223
On an unrelated and totally hot note (re:the Instagram pic), Terry looks exactly like Guy Pearce, you lucky bastard!
Posted by portland scribe on June 9, 2014 at 7:28 PM · Report this
224
My thoughts?

If Rick Santorum had used the word "tranny" and they objected, he would have simply blown off their concerns as meritless or overblown.

But if they make the same objection to a noted LGBTQ activist who is naturally sympathetic to their sensibilities, they can expect that he will give some deferential ground.

Therefore, the only pound of flesh attainable for this victimized group is from one of their strongest allies, not a right-wing homophobe with real political influence.
Posted by Ray F on June 9, 2014 at 7:28 PM · Report this
226
(sorry for the double post... registration was wonky)
Posted by Ray F on June 9, 2014 at 7:29 PM · Report this
227
@216 I think in the end that's the heart of this. A bunch of Peter Pans who want to extend childhood forever so they never, ever have to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives and choices.
Posted by msanonymous on June 9, 2014 at 7:35 PM · Report this
229
@178: "I've never used "tranny" to describe anyone who is ID'ing themselves as trans gendered,"

Oh, now you've done it. You said "trans genderED" instead of "trans gender." Haven't you been paying attention? Transgender is the acceptable term, while Transgendered is a slur, you worthless, horrible bigot.

</sarcasm>
Posted by avast2006 on June 9, 2014 at 8:00 PM · Report this
231
@204: I think resorting to saying "Chuck Norris" is infantile.

Dan's response was spot on. Every time anyone in that room substituted the word "T-slur" -- or worse, the completely ridiculous "Chuck Norris" -- in place of "tranny" it is an absolute certainty that every single brain in the entire room was going to light up a set of neurons and were going to hear "tranny" inside their own heads. To not fire off the translation is to try and parse 'Chuck Norris' as a literal in that position, which renders the discussion completely content-free. So not saying it by saying something else is for all intents and purposes saying it anyway.

Further, to engage in these childish gymnastics specifically in the context of discussing why the word "tranny" has become unacceptable is to render the conversation absurd, as well as puerile. "Class, today, we are going to discuss why the word 'Chuck Norris' is unacceptable in polite company. And by 'Chuck Norris,' what I really mean is 'T-slur.' " Cripes. Straight out of a Monty Python sketch.

Calling this tactic out as irrational and juvenile, and refusing to kowtow to it, rather than trying to adopt it in order to show how stupid it is, is by far the mature, responsible and intellectually honest response.
Posted by avast2006 on June 9, 2014 at 8:33 PM · Report this
232
It's strange that a newspaper that takes such glee at pointing out other's privilege, cultural appropriation, racist/sexist/homophobic actions/remarks, can be so self-righteous, self-centered and compassionless when it comes to cis-privilege. Dan you're 100% right in pointing out this persons logic flaw at getting upset at the word "tranny" but not "dyke" or "sissy". But did you stop to consider why this person was so hurt at the word "tranny", what experiences they have had as a transgender person that you could not experience as a cisgendered person to lead them to have such an emotional and not logically response to "tranny"? Privilege is not a litmus test. It's not a score card or check box. It's being able to experience the world in a easier way then someone else due to the conditions of your birth.

Checking your privilege is simply recognizing that you have it easier then someone who does not share your same genetics and recognizing that you don't share their experience, that it is their experience. Being an Ally means not rushing to judgment but listening to the person's experience and trying to have some compassion in understanding how it affects them. It's not arguing about being "right" or "wrong". You can disagree and still be an Ally, but you should be respectful in disagreeing. Dan it sounds like you didn't do that in this case, that you where more concerned with being "right" then trying to understand this transgendered person's experience and why the word "tranny" has such an emotional impact on them.

Some transgender people may prefer "it", some may prefer "their", and some may prefer "he/she". But Dan, you're not transgendered (For the record, I'm not either), so "tranny" isn't your word to reclaim. When a transgendered person who could've been beaten, screamed at, kicked out of the house, etc, all while being called "tranny" tells you that they have an emotional reaction to "tranny", it's not you word and it's not your place to tell them to get over it.

Instead of getting even more self-righteous, imagine how this could've been resolved if you would've just listen to the person and tried to understand their perspective.

Heck, you're so up on a self-righteous high horse you typed this:
"all without bothering to contact me for my side of the story. (That's not how we do journalism out here in the real world, Maroon."

Really Dan, does the Stranger contact every person they rant against in slog? Those pictures of "white" dudes wearing native headdresses at concerts, did they contact those people? Did Paul constant contact avril lavigne or any Japanese people before his "think piece"? Did you bother to contact every one you post about?....

So many problems in this world could be solved if people just stopped carrying about being right and instead just stop to listen to other people's experiences? Here's a hypothetical for your hypothetical. Say there's a sociology class where the straight white male professor decides to give a lecture about slurs. Throughout the lecture he drops the N-word, bitch, fag, tranny, etc. At the start of the lecture, a couple of people get emotional and leave. As the lecture goes on some more people leave. But some people stay for the end and aren't affected by it's just a lecture. Who's right in this case? Is anyone? Does the fact that one person could hear the lecture and not get emotional negative the feelings of those who do?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-55wC5dE…
http://www.pattonoswalt.com/index.cfm?id…
More...
Posted by j2patter on June 9, 2014 at 8:52 PM · Report this
Knat 235
Look at all this is prime-cut, USDA certified raku trollbait that Dan wrote up, and she/he/it/they/whatthefuckever doesn't even bother to show. How rude of [ ].
Posted by Knat on June 9, 2014 at 9:59 PM · Report this
236
What, someone landed on the moon, no way...
Dirtclustit, oh good hearted one- ignore em.
Posted by LavaGirl on June 10, 2014 at 1:45 AM · Report this
237
I've always really liked the word queer, even when it was still considered a pejorative, mainly because it made me think of the wyrds from mythology and I read somewhere that its pejorative use came about from a superstitious fear that all Queers had supernatural powers or were supernatural beings in disguise. The idea that we were all secretly magical beings living in a world not our own seemed beautiful and romantic to me and fit with the way I felt about myself.
Posted by LumosDeFortuno http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jimmi-Indigo/485581250441 on June 10, 2014 at 2:03 AM · Report this
238
Is over-dramatization a trade media career requirement, or what? To quote Idina Menzel (and I imagine you find her fabulous) "LET IT GO!" Think of it this way: Every time Sarah Palin opens her moose-hole, the rational folks roll their eyes and write it off as escaping gas from a moose-hole. We do not scream that we are victims. Neither are you. Some people are just crazy. They're here, they're nuts. Get used to it.
Posted by Guyforit on June 10, 2014 at 4:58 AM · Report this
239
@205, no. You are not just your gender identity/ none of us are..Is your heart warm and loving?
Our self pride comes from our humanity.. Surely.
Posted by LavaGirl on June 10, 2014 at 5:37 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 240
@ 232, whatever "it" experienced, "it" should be strong enough to tolerate its use in academic discussion regarding the use of the word "tranny" OR "it" should excuse itself and leave if "it" simply cannot do so at such a time.

Regarding your hypothetical, I have to ask if the audience had any forewarning of what was coming, and if so, did the lecturer use the words acedemically or not. If yes and yes, then those leaving may just be too sensitive.

You can't study these topics with any kind of gag order. If you research the Holocaust, you'll see and read about horrors that will turn your stomach and make you faint. If you attend a lecture about it, they may show slides of bulldozers pushing mountains of emaciated corpses into mass graves. That's very upsetting, but necessary to see in order to comprehend what happened. Some in the audience may want to leave because they're Jewish and/or had relatives who died in Nazi camps. That's fine. But what would you think if they call the lecture "hate speech" and start a petition protesting the lecturer, all the while giving the Holocaust denier who spoke in the same hall last week a free pass - no protests, no petitions, no demonstrations or editorials in the school paper?
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 10, 2014 at 6:30 AM · Report this
241
Wow! Reading this gave me whiplash. As if my neck wasn't messed up enough already! I am totally with you on this, Doc. There are real, HUGE, life-as-we-know-it-threatening problems out there and that's what these little twerps piss their gender-non-specific panties over? Gimme a break!

Oh, that's right, conservatives consider "climate change" to be hate speech too.

I'm a soon to be 60 years old Queer Hippie Fag. I've earned that badge and wear it proudly.

Robert in Ojai
Posted by Robear in Ojai on June 10, 2014 at 7:56 AM · Report this
242
Wow! Reading this gave me whiplash. As if my neck wasn't messed up enough already! There are real, HUGE, life-as-we-know-it-threatening problems out there and that's what these little twerps piss their gender-non-specific panties over? Gimme a break!

Oh, that's right, conservatives consider "climate change" to be hate speech too...

I am a 60-years old Queer Hippie Fag and I wear that badge proudly. I've earned it.

Robear in Ojai
Posted by Robear in Ojai on June 10, 2014 at 8:02 AM · Report this
243
This thread demonstrates why we need nested comment replies and up voting. A lot of good points are being made but the format is a convoluted mess.
Posted by wxPDX on June 10, 2014 at 8:50 AM · Report this
244
@243 Nested comments are a good idea, but upvoting leads to circlejerking echo chambers.
Posted by Just The Same on June 10, 2014 at 9:02 AM · Report this
245
From the Aravois piece you linked to:
"The word “tranny” has been in the news of late, as some trans activists, but certainly not all, find the word offensive. It was a word that has long been used by pro-trans gays and straights alike. (I never used it, though I have younger friends who have and still do, and not with any animus — it’s the simply the word they use for trans people.)"

What Cox said at the event:
"I used to make jokes about trannies,”

Replaced "tranny" with any racial slur, and those sentences would not be ok if made by white people.
Posted by j2patter on June 10, 2014 at 9:44 AM · Report this
246
Oh God, how sad, all of it.
Dan, I am sorry these overly-sensitive 'pc' people are able to sulk and throw tantrums in your direction and affect you like that. You might not always get it right, but you surely try hard, and are no Rick Santorum. What the hell. Hugs to you..

I would never think to call a person 'it', and I am sure you wouldn't either, unless they had asked you to. What the hell could lead a person to want to call themselves an 'it', regardless of gender identity? I have to feel sad for them, that they chose that for themselves.

Most of the transgender people I know are MtoF, and identify as 'her', or vice versa, and identify as 'him', so I am less familiar with the middle ground, but I do understand why a person might not want to identify as either sex. Nobody's 100% anything, in my opinion. (Reminds me of the 'straight but curious' comments in previous weeks).

But surely people need to recognize when things are done in spite, and when they're done with no ill intent, and just a lack of knowledge, or in your case, an intelligent and historical point to be made.

Well done, Dan, nice writing. I am sorry for you that this even happened.

Posted by Chandira on June 10, 2014 at 9:56 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 247
@ 245, at one time they were. It takes time to change language, and in the case of "tranny" we're at the very beginning stage.

My comment @240 was addresed to you. Do you have a response to it?
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 10, 2014 at 9:58 AM · Report this
248
I shudder at the thought of "it" as a polite referential pronoun. It reminds me of Silence of the Lambs.

"'It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again'"
Posted by macbill on June 10, 2014 at 1:06 PM · Report this
249
I'm so glad I went after an engineering degree instead of getting wrapped into the vapid bullshit that passes for so much of the liberal arts/social justice educational experience.
Posted by ctmcmull on June 10, 2014 at 1:21 PM · Report this
250
Idiocy is clearly independent of sexual orientations... It is indeed sad that you find these outbursts in a college forum.
Posted by efequis on June 10, 2014 at 2:12 PM · Report this
251
Yes, there are many people in a state of distress...and these are young people who are probably on their own for the first time in their lives, learning about new things, trying on different identities, trying to figure out who they want to become as adults...some taking ridiculous and unworkable stances...trying to have the final say in their own lives.

All that is age appropriate behavior...we may want university students to be civil and/or conform to our expectations....yet isn't that the work of the parents....the professors....and the administration...the family minister?....LOL!
Posted by berkeley9 on June 10, 2014 at 2:17 PM · Report this
252
@59 It's not about what harm would be in not using the word. Freedom of expression is not about only expressing yourself when it's absolutely necessary.

I say this as a person who now lives in a country where it's legally banned to use obscene language in media, including movies and theater performances.
Posted by puddles on June 10, 2014 at 3:30 PM · Report this
253
Chase, " and all I get to hear from you is noise and nonsense".
Is that your line? More poetry/ songs.
Posted by LavaGirl on June 11, 2014 at 4:03 AM · Report this
254
@ 232, Sometimes we have to realize that our personal damage or illogical terrors are our own burdens to deal with, and it's not the responsibility of others to protect us from them by burdening their own discourse to the point of absurdity. There are matters of degree in such things, and while Dan shouldn't "rush" to judgement, I think it's okay if he walks slowly towards it and then stands his ground when he gets there. Compassion is important, but 'right' and 'wrong' have to matter too.
Posted by Keey on June 11, 2014 at 7:38 AM · Report this
255
I have no sympathy, you've been explicitly biphobic and transphobic in the past, are you surprised that people jump to conclusions?

Yes, I've read your biphobia letter, and you have the gaul to say that bisexuals are at fault for the shaddy treatment the gay community gives them (treatment you admit) because bisexuals aren't out, ignoring the fact that it is that same treatment that discourages bisexuals from coming out, and dear god you tried to justify being biased against partnering with bisexuals on the basis of closeted bisexual behavior (and let's face it, those exact same arguments applied to closeted gays as well), it means nothing for out bisexuals. Your implication that essentially the majority had a right to force the movement to do whatever it wanted was a classy touch.

Not convinced.
Posted by AdumbroDeus on June 13, 2014 at 3:33 PM · Report this
256
'TAKE BACK THE NIGHT!"
"Its not your night to take back!"
Posted by Norn on June 13, 2014 at 4:53 PM · Report this
257
This new type of ultra-conservitve, fundamentalist thinking is doing no one in the trans-community any favors, and is not creating an atmosphere of friendliness that community REQUIRES to function. If you are that traumatized by the 'T' word, good luck in dealing with an ACTUAL situation where your survival or your community's survival is at stake. The people who rise up and do good in ANY community use skills that lift people, despite their own history of feeling excluded or hated. That requires maturity and skill, which this new breed of activists had better find before they alienate ANYONE who gets near them or the broader community that they mistakenly claim to represent.

Thanks Dan, for sharing your considerable and good-natured wisdom!
Posted by cakefangs on June 13, 2014 at 8:42 PM · Report this
258
Hey, Mr. Savage. I have a request for you. Can I use your house? I mean, just like, come over. Use the bathroom. Sleep in your bed. Throw some parties. Take a long shower and use up all the hot water at awkward moments. Play loud music whenever your neighbors are trying to sleep.

No?

Okay. No one can say I don't respect when someone tells me no, I can't use their house.

So, I'm going to be over in a couple of days. But in respect to your feelings, I will loudly announce that I am NOT using your house while I proceed to use your house.

That's how it works, right? I can use whatever I want as long as I explain that I'm not using it?

Because that's what I'm seeing here. Saying that you've stopped using a word in an article that repeatedly contains that word is the utter height of disingenuousness. You want to be patted on the back for being progressive and given a pass for your behavior--past, current, and future--while not actually changing anything.
Posted by Linka on June 16, 2014 at 8:44 AM · Report this
259
I don't have a dog in this fight - sounds to me like you and your adversary were both wrong and both being obnoxious. But this post is pretty low.

1) For someone who claims to have stopped using a word, you're using it a lot here.
If your reasons for not using that word are valid, then why don't those reasons apply here?

2) Taking a transperson to task about their use of pronouns. Do you also take people of colour to task about their choices? What you choose to call yourself is completely irrelevant.
Since when was "my friends are not offended so you are not allowed to be" a valid argument?

3) Picking on students is beneath you. You have all the power in this situation. Have a little decency.
Posted by SassiStClaire on June 16, 2014 at 5:37 PM · Report this
260
I don't have a dog in this fight - sounds to me like you and your adversary were both wrong and both being obnoxious. But this post is pretty low.

1) For someone who claims to have stopped using a word, you're using it a lot here.
If your reasons for not using that word are valid, then why don't those reasons apply here?

2) Taking a transperson to task about their use of pronouns. Do you also take people of colour to task about their choices? What you choose to call yourself is completely irrelevant.
Since when was "my friends are not offended so you are not allowed to be" a valid argument?

3) Picking on students is beneath you. You have all the power in this situation. Have a little decency.
Posted by SassiStClaire on June 16, 2014 at 5:42 PM · Report this
262
You think you have any right to use a word that you do not have to carry the weight of? You think that you have any right to suggest that someone's pronouns are inappropriate? You think you are an LGBT advocate after scaring a trans student out of your damn presentation? Excuse you. Actually, SHAME on you! You disgust me. How dare you enter spaces as a safe person or as an activist for the queer community. How dare you! How dare you childishly write an article attempting to console yourself, acting as if you did nothing wrong! Shame. This is disgusting coming from you and anyone defending your actions - oh btw, getting a single trans person to agree with you doesn't legitimate your hateful opinions and actions. Shame, just absolute shame! When will you learn!
Posted by ShaneC on June 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM · Report this
Posted by Amanda on June 17, 2014 at 1:39 PM · Report this
264
"It" is a common gender neutral pronoun, just like singular "they". Those aren't slurs, they're pronouns. And some people choose to use "it" or "they" as personal pronouns. "It" can mean an object or a person, "they" can mean a group or one person. English is fun like that.

"Tranny" is a slur, and slurs are meant to hurt, dehumanize, and dismiss people.

"Dick" is what you're being by calling out and undermining an 18 year old trans kid in a nationally read column. Especially when, from your side, sounds like a kid just asked you to stop making it uncomfortable.

Good job being the adult in the room, Savage.
Posted by dallyV on June 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM · Report this
265
This whole story makes me roll me eyes.. at both Dan Savage and the student who walked out. All a bunch of cry babies. Sorry if I offended the diaper fetish community just now.
Posted by hifiandrew on June 17, 2014 at 10:11 PM · Report this
266
Whether or not the young person is "misguided" enough to call themselves "it" is beside the point when a grown man is dealing with an undergraduate. Stop bullying a teenager and move on.
Posted by screenname14 on June 18, 2014 at 1:03 PM · Report this
267
I think it's dangerous to say that students shouldn't be able to contest that there was a hate crime in the seminar. Yes, it's supposed to be open and that's understandable, but shouldn't there always be a line? Indeed, it just seems as if these two have different ideas about where that line is drawn. As a student, I know how it feels to believe that I'm right, the world hates me, nobody gets it, and life is awful. Frankly, it's a terrible feeling! But, I also know it feels very similar to being queer in a hetero-normative society. I also know that as a youngster there was a point where I had to listen to someone older say either "it's okay, you're not crazy, your ideas have merit" or "my love, that was the stupidest thing you've ever done."

So, Dave Savage, if you'll ever read this:
I agree that it's an issue of age, but I don't agree with the way you handled it. Was there a time when you reached out to the student and tried to meet them on their level? I get that you're an adult, you're busy as shit, you're important and you shouldn't have to censor yourself. But, maybe that's the point of your work like "It Gets Better" (which was so helpful by the way, thank you). Just a moment of respect where you can try to teach and understand, rather than mock and prove wrong.

I mean, why would someone, anyone want to be called "it"? What is the source for their understanding of themselves in those terms? Maybe he has some logic that's harming himself, or maybe he's onto something, or maybe it doesn't matter as long as he feels better for a little while. After all, he's just a kid.
Posted by lillianlillylily on June 19, 2014 at 1:17 AM · Report this
268
I think it's dangerous to say that students shouldn't be able to contest that there was a hate crime in the seminar. Yes, it's supposed to be open and that's understandable, but shouldn't there always be a line? Indeed, it just seems as if these two have different ideas about where that line is drawn. As a student, I know how it feels to believe that I'm right, the world hates me, nobody gets it, and life is awful. Frankly, it's a terrible feeling! But, I also know it feels very similar to being queer in a hetero-normative society. I also know that as a youngster there was a point where I had to listen to someone older say either "it's okay, you're not crazy, your ideas have merit" or "my love, that was the stupidest thing you've ever done."

So, Dave Savage, if you'll ever read this:
I agree that it's an issue of age, but I don't agree with the way you handled it. Was there a time when you reached out to the student and tried to meet them on their level? I get that you're an adult, you're busy as shit, you're important and you shouldn't have to censor yourself. But, maybe that's the point of your work like "It Gets Better" (which was so helpful by the way, thank you). Just a moment of respect where you can try to teach and understand, rather than mock and prove wrong.

I mean, why would someone, anyone want to be called "it"? What is the source for their understanding of themselves in those terms? Maybe he has some logic that's harming himself, or maybe he's onto something, or maybe it doesn't matter as long as he feels better for a little while. After all, he's just a kid.
Posted by lillianlillylily on June 19, 2014 at 1:18 AM · Report this
269
i feel better about leaving the u of c now
Posted by marooned on July 6, 2014 at 3:36 AM · Report this

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