health care

Dan Savage’s Superfun Transphobic Attack on Washington AG Rob McKenna

So Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, who has joined folks like his Virginia counterpart Ken Cuccinelli II in suing to block the just-passed health care reform law, is trans? (Updated: Or not.)

“Rob McKenna doesn’t make a big deal about it, but he is the only prominent Republican LGBT elected official in the country,” writes Dan Savage. Huh, this is news to us. (But not to you much wiser readers, right?)

Like a gay politician voting against gay marriage, McKenna’s lawsuit against the health care law would inhibit taxpayer-funded sex change operations, an enormously complex procedure that he’s apparently enjoyed himself. We won’t go as far as Savage in saying that by ridiculing the law he’s as bad as faggot-slurring Tea Party members, simply because they too don’t like the Democrats’ health care project, but it’s always stunning to see somebody move against an oppressed and denigrated community that he himself belongs to.

UPDATE: Ugh. Turns out Savage’s entire post about McKenna’s trans identity, according to the blog Pam’s House Blend, was a ruse to incite hatred toward the AG. And now the story is destined to focus on Dan’s arguably transphobic attack — insulting McKenna as a disgusting trans politico, in the same fashion anti-LGBT politicians attack our kind — than McKenna’s lawsuit.

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  • Dyssonance

    Oh, I’m pissed.

    Yes, he made it up. And your “update” doesn’t do a service, it makes it worse.

    Yeah, the lawsuit needs to be covered, but the whole trans lives as an insult thing — which he has done before on many occasions — it totally unacceptable.

    Here, or anywhere. You might as well have reported the whole thing without crediting him — probably wise to do.

    This is utterly unacceptable, and I’m personally hot for someone’s hind end on a platter right now.

  • Alleyne

    Savage definitely made this up. McKenna was a decorated Eagle Scout. He would’ve had to have transitioned as a 6 year old to move up the ranks to become an Eagle Scout.

    What this means is that Savage considers making up lies about trans indentity to be an appropriate way to draw attention to his disapproval of McKenna’s politics. There’s no “arguably” here, it’s the definition of transphobia in action. McKenna may well be anti-LGBT, but that in itself is enough to call him out on. Why make up lies unless you consider trans identities to be something worth using as a *thing* rather than something real, meaningful and worthy of respect.

    This is not Savage’s first foray into transphobia, btw. He does it regularly, along with regular outbursts of misogyny and biphobia/bi-erasure. Savage doesn’t respect any queer or gender identity except his own.

  • Mike

    What a lame post. “Transphobic”? Does that now include any comment that hasn’t been pre-approved by wacky trans activists? More power to Dan Savage.

    Oh, and one other thing. You said:

    “. . . it’s always stunning to see somebody move against an oppressed and denigrated community that he himself belongs to.”

    He does NOT belong to the “trans” community. He is not trans. He has never said he was trans. He is gay. That is an entirely separate thing from transgenderism. Gay men are men and do not wish to be women. Gay men do not seek to surgically alter themselves. And homosexuality cannot be found in the DSM IV, in contrast to Gender Identity Disorder.

    Stop insulting gay people by insinuating that they are gender conflicted. Stop injuring the self-image of gay youth in order to assuage the politically correct demands of trans activists.

  • missanthrope

    “Savage doesn’t respect any queer or gender identity except his own.”

    Quoted for truth. I’ve never figured out the appeal of this guy, he often goes into this territory (especially bi-erasure) in his column and is generally just clueless about how others might identify other than himself.

    But anyways, if you do a google search you’ll see that Savage has been pounding away at this lie for sometime now, so far that i’ve even found some reputable blogs that have repeated the whole “america’s first transgender state AG” lie as a fact.

    Bottom-line Savage is using someone’s gender identity (even a false/percieved one) to attack their character for a political purpose. This should be as unacceptable as a someone person claiming else is gay as a personal attack, that’s pretty much the equivilent here.

    And queerty shouldn’t be dismissive about the people who have a problem with this, the HCR repeal is a real issue, but Savage took the focus away from that when he decided to start telling lies to score political points. He should issue an apology. But I doubt we’ll get one since he usually thinks he is beyond impunity.

  • missanthrope

    “What a lame post. “Transphobic”? Does that now include any comment that hasn’t been pre-approved by wacky trans activists? More power to Dan Savage.”

    If a whole bunch of transgender people are telling you are acting transphobic, chances are you are being transphobic. End of discussion.

  • Lia

    I’d bet $100 this weedy Republican fella was born with a Y chromosome.

    Not that I’d have any objections if he were a weedy Republican transgendered man. In fact, that would make me like him a little better.

    So the question is: WTF, Dan Savage? Why use gender identity of all things as a smear, when someone isn’t trans? If he were actually trans and Dan was trying to smear him for it, it would be even worse.

    Unfortunately, I’m not surprised. I’m bisexual and I can recall many incidents where Dan has blithely stated that my sexual orientation doesn’t exist. Dan’s as out of step with queer reality as HRC is.

  • jeffree

    What was Dan Savage’s point?? He’s not commenting on the AG’s actions or politics but spewing a lie about someones gender identity, like that it would be bad if the guy was Trans? Its a desparate move, a big FAIL & it means Dan is stooping to a new *low* if he can’t stick to the real reasons the AG Mckenna is a enemy of lgbt rights.

    I think Dan needs to apologise. Sooner than later. Bless Ms. Pam for calling Dan out, Sorry but he makes us all look bad when he distorts truth & misses the real issue. BAD DAN BAD!

  • Lynn

    Dan Savage’s use of a transphobic smear attack is the same sort of thing that used to be used against straight candidates, with opponents accusing them of being secretly gay or lesbian.

    Honestly, if the article had been written by Michael Savage, I would understand. But Dan Savage should know better.

  • Kamikapse

    Queerty is getting more annoying by the day with insisting on constant usage of the f-word in oh such a witty and clever way.

    Oh well, no one is forcing me to come here and read through all that crap, I guess

  • Hyhybt

    [i]So the question is: WTF, Dan Savage? Why use gender identity of all things as a smear, when someone isn’t trans? If he were actually trans and Dan was trying to smear him for it, it would be even worse.[/quote]

    I may have totally misread everything, but in this case, if of course it were true at all, it would only *be* a smear because the guy was acting against a group he’s a part of. It would be no different than calling out gay politicians for their antigay positions. What’s wrong with that?

  • Hyhybt

    Great…. messed up the tags entirely, misstated the second paragraph, *and* couldn’t stop it in time. Of course I mean, specifically, the sort of closeted gay politician that keeps turning up, there’ve been so many and I can’t think of a single name at the moment; there was a new one just last week. Hypocrisy is its own reward, or something like that.

  • Kieran

    Another example of how unbridled hatred often cause people to say and do things that are stupid and ultimately self-defeating.

  • prissysissy

    @Mike: Is Dan Savage paying you?
    Either way, you are an embarrassment. Shame.

  • WTF?

    @Mike: Thank you!

  • terrwill

    Dan launches a savage attack……… : {

    Am torn here. The right wing lunatics will stoop to below the gutter to disparage our community. Faux News constantly show photos and videos which are false, they have been forced to admit to same multiple times. I think Dan simply got frustrated enought to “give them a dose of their own medicine”. And while I can understand, in the end it only hurts our cause. While I admire Dan for the stands he has taken in the past gotta give him a huge fail for this one………….

  • Washingtion Guy

    Ok this makes me quite pissed with Dan, as to make up shit to smite the AG who is busy enough dragging the state into a lawsuit that he has no business doing, to further his own republican party priorities (yes he is a republican) is not needed. All that it dose is distract from the story it self which needs coverage as it is, after all the AG has to governor at his throat over this too. Ether way the AG dose not need Dan’s help self destructing his political carrier he is already doing a bang up job of it after all to throw his caushes non republican wing-nut talk out the window and alien him self with the republican wing-nuts is not going to keep him in office when it comes time for reelection in a very Democratic state.

  • Mike


    “If a whole bunch of transgender people are telling you are acting transphobic, chances are you are being transphobic. End of discussion.”

    – By that logic, if a lot of “cis” people tell you that you are mentally disturbed, then chances are you are mentally disturbed. That is called guilt by accusation and it prevails in most totalitarian societies. A telling insight into the mindset of the trans activist.

    Fortunately, most people aren’t prepared to outsource their morality to a bunch of bullying, haranguing thugs who pretend to be civil rights activists. You can put a dress on a mobster, but a mobster is still a mobster.

  • Tara

    @Mike: I would like you to meet your logical fallacy. ‘false equivalence’

    Ya see, the difference is, a bunch of people telling you how they feel based on your actions, (IE saying that it is hurtful) is in fact NOT the same as a bunch of people telling me I am insane. Follow the directions. One is a group of people expressing emotions, the other is a group of people dictating psychology of an individual. WHICH IS TOTALITARIAN! However a group of people expressing outrage at how they are treated is much more in line with revolution.

    However you get points for trying this classic rhetorical stance.

    You have the right to say whatever you want, we have the right to call you a bigot. Congratulations we live in a free society.

  • robert


    you apparently have such stalwart faith in every pronouncement from the american psychiatric association! the dsm lists trans as a disorder, so it must be! according to your logic, then, the dsm was very much correct, prior to 1974, when it listed homosexuality as a mental disorder — but that it’s also just as right when the apa decided to axe that diagnosis from the manual! the apa, a very necessary organization that engages in beneficial medical work, is not necessarily immune from cultural and political influences just because it works in a scientific field. transgenderism will be removed from the dsm just as homosexuality was because matters of personal identity should not be subject to diagnosis.

  • Drake

    Who anointed Dan Savage to speak for the entire GLBT Community, when he is a sex entertainment writer who mainly writes about whips, leather, peeing on sex partners, etc? I’d prefer that we had someone less kinky as the “official face”.

  • Paschal

    @Mike: We should fight for the rights of all oppressed people and not just help ourselves. France has actually recently declassified gender identity disorder as a mental illness. Hopefully more countries will follow as people begin to learn more about transgender issues.

  • Hyhybt

    @Paschal: I don’t know about legally or anything, but logically, it seems to me that ‘disorder’ and ‘mental illness’ are not interchangeable. If such categories were mine to decide, I would say that transgenderism is not a mental illness, because there’s nothing wrong with the mind except that it doesn’t match the body it’s in… but I’d still call it a disorder because, unlike being gay, it requires medical treatment. Not of the mind, but of the body.

  • GimmeABreak

    Good grief. People are so damn whiny. This wasn’t an attack. It’s amazing that folks will bitch about Dan’s blog but completely agree with Rupert Everett’s disparaging remarks about gays who want marriage equality and gays who want to use surrogacy to achieve their parenting dreams. Re-read the comments to the story on this website titled, ‘Rupert Everett: Gays Having Kids Is ‘Egocentric and Vain’. So many gays were willing to jump right on his bandwagon criticizing other gay folks for wanting marriage and biological children. I guess if you’re gay you’re supposed to limit yourself to only being able to adopt. Apparently, gays aren’t worthy of the common human desire of wanting children of their own. It’s ok for straight people to feel that way and have biological children of their own. But, I guess gay people are inferior and shouldn’t be allowed to have their own biological children. Rupert and the folks who agree with his babble are the ones attacking folks. Dan’s blog does not even begin to compare to that level of bullshit. A poorly written blog about an AG gets you slammed by the gay media but degrade an entire group of homosexuals by suggesting their unworthy for wanting to have their own biological children and many gay folks will applaud you.

  • Bill Perdue


    Mikie, when did those wacky trans activists become a bunch of bullying, haranguing thugs who pretend to be civil rights activists.

    Was it when they (and so many others) pointed out that you’re a transphobic bigot. Transphobia is as bigoted as homohating, racism and sexism.

    Mikie, if those mean mobsters are out to get you maybe you could take refuge in some country like Uganda that’s working out ways to deal with trans folks.

    Be careful, Mikie, they’re also anti-g… never mind. You wouldn’t see the connection.


    As for Dan Savage, he’s a Democrat.

    What did anyone expect? That Democrats are against bigotry?

    The Democrat and Republican parties are cesspools of bigotry. They gave us DADT and DOMA and gutted ENDA, all with gratefujl Republican support. Obama’s “gawd’s in the mix” galvanized the bigot vote and passed Prop 8. Etc.

    Q. How does Savages trans baiting differ from Republican gay baiting.

    A. It doesn’t. Bigotry is bigotry.

  • PaquitofromtheBlock

    People like Savage sure help us dig our own graves…

  • Zoe Brain

    Next up – Dan Savage accuses the AG of “passing for white”. And those calling him racist for that get attacked for it – if they’re Black. Then they’re described as a bunch of bullying, haranguing thugs who pretend to be civil rights activists.

  • TheAwfulTruth

    What can you expect from a columnist who every other week writes about poop or bizarre sex?

  • hardmannyc

    Dan Savage has exactly one cause: promoting Dan Savage. Why do you think he adopted a child? For publicity.

  • RLS

    Dan Savage cares about nothing more than promoting a gay white male agenda. I was totally over him for his borderline racist comments after prop 8 passed, so I’m not surprised about this. People like him are the problem, not the solution, and there are far too many like him.

  • bob


    1.) When he was on colbert report, he made a point to say that prop 8 passed more from the vote of OLD people than black people.

    2.) For the people who are saying “what do you expect from a guy who gives advice to people who are in poop, peeing….etc.” That’s a double standard here. You’re saying Dan Savage shouldn’t use transgender as an insult but it’s okay to use comments about people’s kinky’s as a judgement and attack? Is that really okay? Don’t throw stones in glass houses and don’t judge people who have different sex lives than you!

    3.) I think he took the joke too far; it’d be great if he apologizes, but Dan has had a history of being irreverent. If you don’t like it, don’t listen/read his blogs. He doesn’t represent the gay community, so why are we treating him like he does?

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