Dan Savage: Today, Every Student Knows Which Of Their Classmates Are Fags

I think it’s gotten worse for gay teenagers. One of the advantages I enjoyed at school 30 years ago that you could fly under the radar. I was a weird kid with no interest in girls, I liked musicals and I liked to bake and I like to read and people did not automatically assume I was gay. Nowadays, there’s an awareness… that an interest in musicals, an interest in baking and a disinterest in girls if you’re a boy – case closed, you’re a fag.

—Dan Savage, arguing it’s harder for today’s closeted gays to fly under the radar in school [via]

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #bullying #dansavage #kids stories and more


  • Ironic Hypocritical Fag

    Dan Savage is all talk. If he gave a shit, he would do something besides attack queer activists in his own neighborhood. Stop giving this self-promoting racist asshole a platform. “It gets better, kids, just self-promote like I do!”

  • milo

    Way to push the offensive names, Dan. And by the way, who the hell appointed you to be the official gay spokesperson?

  • Oli

    @Ironic Hypocritical Fag: @milo: Yeah guys, Dan Savage’s heart is so obviously in the wrong place. What a prick!

  • dave02657

    “…who the hell appointed you to be the official gay spokesperson?”

    Anyone in the gay community with a modicum of common sense, the ability to discern and recognize a quality intellect, and anyone that appreciates the 24/7 work, effort, and core competencies that Dan Savage embodies.

    Anyone else is just woeful over their own impotency in such matters and is just whining and biting off a big piece of the jealousy pie.

    Thanks, Dan, for all of your fine work.

  • Mia

    First off, reclaiming the word “fag” is actually a good way to undermine verbal assault against the gay community, but that’s beside the point. Dan Savage is a prejudiced moron who has no right to speak on behalf of the gay community. His derogatory remarks on the bisexual community is quite disappointing, and he brings a lot of negative attention to the gay community. Not sure what the point of his statement here was, but it doesn’t seem to be in the least productive. The point is not to encourage kids to “fly under the radar,” but to promote safer environments in which they feel comfortable being themselves. The reason why gay children are easier to identify now than they were back when he was a child is because of increased awareness of gay culture. Plus, liking musicals and baking does not inherently identify someone as a homosexual. That would be stereotyping and profiling, both of which are not beneficial to the gay community or straight men or women to that identify as being effeminate of masculine, respectively. He’s really not making any intelligent headway here.

  • milo

    and while we’re at it, Danny, why don’t you tell America again how all gay men are intrinsically promiscuous and there are no monogamous relationships in the gay community? Yeah, it gets better if you’re talking about your bank account.

  • Cam

    @Ironic Hypocritical Fag: said…

    “Dan Savage is all talk. If he gave a shit, he would do something besides attack queer activists in his own neighborhood. Stop giving this self-promoting racist asshole a platform. “It gets better, kids, just self-promote like I do!”


    Are you kidding? he was invited on CNN as a commentator and proceeded to rip them a new one about constnatly having people from hate groups on. he said that you would never have somebody from the KKK on to discuss afirmative action but you keep bringing people on from the FRC to discuss gay issues.

    He hasn’t been invited back, but CNN readjusted. So he hurt his career by doing that.

    As far as i’m concerned, call somebody whatever names you want, but if you’re going to call him racist etc… you should at least provide some evidence.

  • fsb

    @Ironic Hypocritical Fag: Just for the record, in the idiotic first comment “attack queer activists in his own neighborhood” means “once criticized the Seattle Eagle for having an event called ‘Bareback Thursdays'”. I believe this is the same person who brings this up nearly every time Dan Savage is mentioned on this and other sites.

    And milo “why don’t you tell America again how all gay men are intrinsically promiscuous and there are no monogamous relationships in the gay community?” is a horrific willful misrepresentation of Savage’s views about monogamy and you obviously have no credibility.

    Also “racist”? Really? Wow.

  • some fag

    I disagree, times are much more pc and bullying is often addressed. When I was in school in the late 80s, I was called fag everyday and nothing was ever done to the kids that bullied me. There was no education about stopping bullying or why it was bad or psas on tv about it. Back in my day I endured beratement everyday. Yet, if you disrespected a teacher you were suspended or put in detention, which I learned when I shot the finger at a bossy teacher behind her back and the douchebag sitting next to me blurted out loud that I just shot her the finger. Though I denied it, the principal systematically called all the kids that sat around me and would have witnessed the alleged shooting of the bird one by one. I could hear their names being called to the office over the intercom 15 minutes apart from each other as I sat in class. Needless to say I was ratted out and suspended, but a week later when a kid took my gym shoes from me in the locker room and threw them in water and I wanted him to be punished as I had been, the principal told me his dad was very strict and she didn’t want to suspend him like I was suspended because he would get in trouble at home. Looking back, the double standards I endured make me irate, and I have to believe that while kids are definitely still getting picked on, that the kind of open, daily abuse I endured is not permitted by most schools anymore, at least the schools that attempt to address bullying. Since I graduated, there have been lawsuits brought and won against schools that turned a blind eye to such harrassment and it seems to me more and more schools are being forced to address such bullying unless they want a lawsuit on their hands. Of course, the bullying still goes on, and maybe it IS harder to fly under the radar today than it was when Dan was in school but I didn’t flaunt my sexuality, I had people telling me I was gay before I even hit puberty and got to figure that out for myself. People were trying to out me everyday and nothing was done about it. I just feel with increased invisibility in the media and society, things have gotten better at a lot of schools, though i doubt this is true for EVERY school, but I just think if I was in high school today, things would go a little better for me than they did 20 plus years ago.

  • Oprah

    ‘Nowadays, there’s an awareness’

    Savage- has a point. HA HA HA HA HA HA

  • Shannon1981

    While I don’t always agree with Dan, he has a point here. And to the folks accusing him of racism, etc, evidence, please, or it isn’t true. That’s a pretty harsh claim to make without links and quotes to back it up.

  • Kev C

    He does have a point. 30 years ago, school kids didn’t know or care much about sex or sexual identity because they were kids. Nowadays, kids are minature fake adults.

  • Harold Osler


    Links?! Evidence?! What are you some kind of reality fascist?

  • Shannon1981

    @Harold Osler: Nah, that’s just not the sort of thing I would believe about someone willy nilly, that’s all.

  • Scrufff

    Wow, you guys criticizing Dan are way off. Racist? Yeah after prop 8, he was like many saying it was due to the black vote. A few days later after things simmered down and more concise exit polls were release, Dan apologized in his national column for his comments regarding the black vote rant.

    Yet week in and week out, he’s out there on national TV defending gay rights in an articulate, intelligent manner. I’ve seen him go toe to toe with right wing assholes who shout and talk over their opponents. In the past i’ve seen our mainstream gay “leaders” crumple under these types of verbal attacks. Dan does not, we will give as good as he gets. He will shout down these shouters and get his point across.

    Plus his work on “It Gets Better” project helps gay kids looking for role models. This blog has received national coverage and thus helping more gay kids out there who think they’re alone. Dan Savage has done by far more for gay rights and awareness than any of you out there criticizing him.

    He in IMHO is currently the best gay spokesperson out there be it TV/online/print/lecture circuit. Plus I find him really funny and sexy as hell!!!

  • TheRealAdam

    @Scrufff: I really don’t understand why he – or anyone else, for that matter – should have to apologize for the conclusions about the black vote during Prop 8. The fact of the matter was that 70% of blacks voted for Prop 8. So, while they did not cause the passage of Prop 8, per se, they voted overwhelmingly for it. You can’t just ignore that.

  • SBC19

    @Scrufff: Was that supposed to make it better? That he “apologized” after the exit polls numbers that fueled his indignant his rant proved false, and made him look like an ass? I don’t believe people say what they don’t mean in the heat of the moment; I think it’s actually the opposite. How you react under stress and anger is a representation of your *true* self. Dan is arrogant as hell when he thinks he’s right and, when he thought he could get away with it, revealed his sanctimonious racism that he probably tries to usually contain. For that, I can’t stand the sight of him.

    Furthermore, if he truly believes that while partaking in those non-masculine things as a child 30 years ago he “flew under the radar,” then he is deluding himself. Chances are they were talking about him then, even if at a quieter tone than is the case today.

  • Daniel M

    @dave02657: You sound like douche bag. How long did it take for you to come up with such an over the top reply? I bet you were smirking as you pressed submit thinking how awesome and educated you thought you came off. Hey, maybe you could use some of your core competencies to figure out how to be less of a douche!

  • TwlightoftheDogs

    What makes it racist is (a) you want to believe a stat that’s been discredited by such poll analysts as Nate Silver and (b) when shown all white states like IN and WY to name two (as well as going abroad to places like Russia) vote and react violently against gay equality you don’t blame the fact they did so on the fact they are white.

    Dan can apologize all he wants. He was developing being bigoted with the article, but he seems to be trying. It was definitely one of his worse moments.

    Also, he has a tendency to be over used. he’s okay, but in terms of his knowledge of the subject matter- he’s not the best. For example, there have been times when I have listened to him, and thought, he should know, for example, that gays face an income gap because of homophobia.

    Like much of the upperclass that speaks for gays, he does not think in terms of the economic impact of discrimination. Thus, he’s missed some opportunity to really hammer home why this all matters. Its not just a desire for abstract rights. It has very real world consequences. He doesn’t come out of that background. Were he one of many diverse speakers- including low income gay whites and blacks, etc. It would not be a problem.

    As it is, his ignorance on that area has hurt him in conversation such as when went on DL Hugley right after Prop 8 passed and could not articulate why bigotry in terms of rights is a problem. He kept falling back on the abstraction notion of equality rather than providing concrete examples. People don’t connect to abstractions as much as they do real life stories. The audience, mostly African American, can related to stories about concrete impact since that’s part of a history we get. However, in fairness, this last criticism is not his fault. Its an issue of a need for wider spokespeople.

  • Ian

    As I said before a few days ago, more and more Queerty seems to be the blog destination for Log Cabin Republicans. Articles on any out gay celebrity, spokesperson, or straight ally? Scream, denigrate, insult, & throw hate their way. Articles on any rich closet case (aka A. Cooper, et. all)? Swoon with love & adoration. This site is starting to make me sick.

  • Steve

    While Dan has said some questionable things over the years… I’d like to hear of another person who spawned a huge video campaign as an outreach to gay kids that has attracted both everyday people and high profile celebrities. I’d like somebody to tell me of another person who launched a huge internet campaign to smear the name of an anti-gay politician with a stomach turning slang word.

    Oh. You people act like he hasn’t done a single positive thing for the gay community when the opposite couldn’t be more true.

    And what about his comments above are hurtful or untrue? I’ve only been out of high school a couple years, and let me tell you, he is spot on. People pick up on things that people 20, 30 years ago were ignorant to. And so what if he said fag? Are you gonna GLAAD on him? Context is something we no longer seem to care about, and his use of the term was as a typical teenager, whose every other word is “fag” or “that’s so gay.”

    So if you wanna be mad at Savage, at least be mad at him for a good reason. But when he’s done nothing wrong, that isn’t when you should start in on him.

  • TwlightoftheDogs

    @Steve: I do not question his sincerity. I question whether he can be a spokesman for all seasons as he is use right now when it comes to gay issues. Got a spot for a gay views? Use Dan. No matter what the subject on gay rights or issues are. As usual online, there is a lack of balance. But, that’s about as clear as it can be said.

    Certainly his one time issue with race does not help, but he clearly is not an Andrew Sullivan, or, worse, GOProud, who I really do not like. I like Dan because he does seem like he’s a good guy trying to help.

    I am not a fan of “It Gets Better.” Mostly because I have known people who tried to commit suicide. I am not sure if its the right message as much as a message about learning how to cope. I am not sure how that could have been worded, but that’s what I would have liked to have seen. A lot of the people I know who tried it, didn’t have a coping mechanism for the hard patches in life that are going to happen.

  • JT

    Dan Savage is a tool, and yes he has done things that are wrong.

    He loves to tell GLBT youth that “It gets better!” while trashing adult bisexuals, adult trans people, and he goes on racist rants about black voters in the state of CA when prop 8 passed.

    It’s clear that his whole “It gets better” campaign is not about helping GLBT youth or stopping bullying but it’s just something he did for self promotion, fame, $$$$$$, and a reality TV show.

    Because Savage is biphobic and Transphobic I know many bisexuals and trans people who refuse to get involved with anything he is associated with even his pet “It gets better” self promotion project.

    Sorry Dan you’re not fooling anyone and you didn’t back then. The guys who in highschool were obsessed with musicals/drama, never dated any women or said anything about a certain girl in class being hot, and who liked to bake were assumed to be gay and were gay.

    I go out and talk to GLBT youth and volunteer at a GLBT center.

  • Jeffree

    Amazing how the Savage-haters jump on any thread on Dan and only post about Dan and nothing else.

    Dan spouts off on topics he shouldn’t no doubt. We could use a few more public & media “experts” on LGB issues other than just Dan.

    That said, he’s been doing his column for, what, 20 years? And the info and advice he’s given has helped a lot of people: he’ll address any topic. And his campaign has been useful too, although it’s just one piece of the solution to bullying & suicide & internalized homophobia.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Jeffree: Agreed. It’s amazing how people pounce on him and call him a racist and a bi and trans phobe.

    And if he’s indeed susceptible to any kind of personal financial greed, he’s not unlike 99% of the people in politics and/or activism right now. Singling him out like this is ludicrous, especially since we have no one willing to step up in the first place and put themselves on the line in the ways he and few others have.

  • Jeffree

    @TheRealAdam: Thanks.
    If I had to take 12 frequent flyers from this site to the proverbial deserted island to rebuild civilization, I’d definitely want you to be there.

    We may not agree on everything, but that’s a good thing: I’d rather be surrounded by thoughtful people like you than the koolaid drinking, mouth-breathin ‘, bottom feedin’, knuckle draggin’, kumquat loathing hoardes who populate our ranks here. You ask great questions and obviously care what happens in the world beyond your own four walls. That’s rare.

    As you said, putting oneself on the line means being susceptible to critics. I’d rather be criticized for trying to make things better than for doing nothing.

  • Kamikapse

    Dan Savage is a vile little shit.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Jeffree: Back at you, dude. I always look forward to your posts when I see them. Although if I had to select some people from this site, my pool would be much smaller than yours – you and about three other people, at the most.

    People like Dan will always be criticized by both gays and straights. I certainly don’t love the guy, but I understand that he is an extremely important ally, and one of the very visible few that we have.

    And how anyone could hate anything with the name “kumquat” or “cuttlefish” is just beyond me.

  • Chris

    Um, liking to bake is part of being gay? I don’t think he meant that, but it sort of came off that way.

    Also, I agree with posters above who don’t like having Savage as a “gay representative”. He is biphobic and trashes monogamy. The “It Gets Better” campaign was a feel good celebrity idea. I mean, I am glad it made money for the Trevor Project, but let’s not pretend that it was anything grand.

  • craig

    @Chris: It Gets Better was started as a project for regular gay adults to send messages of encouragement, understanding and the possibility of positive futures to gay kids who are isolated and attending high schools that won’t allow openly gay speakers. It’s to deal with the fact that adults gays aren’t allowed access due to “recruiting” fear mongering. Celebrities just ended up jumping on board.

    Dan Savage is a very effective and knowledgeable debator on gay issues. I’m glad he’s one of our representatives. His sex/relationship column reflects his personal observations and doesn’t change his skill as a political voice.

  • jon

    My problem in college is that so many fem guys are str8 and str8 acting guys are gay….I can’t tell who is on my team so i really don’t know who to hit on. Ugh! life is so easy for me! THANKS GAY LEADERS!!! Like Milk!

  • TwlightoftheDogs

    What I find more interesting is how the fanboys are basically acting as if everyone is saying extreme things about Dan. Like I said, the extremist behavior online whether in favor or against something is a real problem. I hope many of you do not act like this in real life.

  • Cam

    @Ian: said…

    “As I said before a few days ago, more and more Queerty seems to be the blog destination for Log Cabin Republicans. Articles on any out gay celebrity, spokesperson, or straight ally? Scream, denigrate, insult, & throw hate their way. Articles on any rich closet case (aka A. Cooper, et. all)? Swoon with love & adoration. This site is starting to make me sick.”

    Remember though Queerty was all over HRC and supporting the more grass roots activists over the past few years. As for Anderson Cooper. yeah, his little fangirls seem to be somewhat along the same lines as Clay Aiken’s were before he came out don’t they?

  • Cam

    @Kamikapse: said…

    “Dan Savage is a vile little shit.”

    Always nice to have Senator McCain posting on here.

  • dave02657

    No. 17 · Daniel M
    @dave02657: “..blah, blah, douche, blah, douche, blah.”

    To answer:
    1. likewise.
    2. not very long; I’m rather competent in the area of expression.
    3. not really; not the type to smirk – although your reply did prompt a chuckle or two.
    4. you really do have a low threshold for that which appears “educated” or “awesome”, don’t you? Never mind, your own post, itself, more than adequately confirmed that fact.
    5. likewise.

    Yo, Dan. Touched a nerve there with ya, huh?

  • Daniel M

    @dave02657: I see you did decide to use your core competencies, unfortunately you seem to only sound even more like a self absorbed douche. You are right, however, it is unnerving when people try to write something that appears to be begging for a compliment, especially when there is no real substance. I could be wrong, or you might just be a douche who likes to hear himself speak.

  • ZT

    LOL @ Ian. He’ll keep coming back though. Funny how posters on this site calling for the death and torture of others never made “him sick.” Gay priorities right there.

  • ZT

    And what is this new thing with gay activists? For years it was, “You can’t tell who’s gay and who’s not”, and now it’s, “Yes, you like playing with Barbie dolls and you ARE the victim of bullies because gays ARE weaker.”

Comments are closed.