About That Hate Crime I Committed at University of Chicago

Comments

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.
2
"Elders." Now you've done it.

Seriously, this is unpacking at its best.
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.
4
that does it. i'm not talking to anybody LGBTQ etc. anymore. i'm too old for this bullshit.
5
Trigger warning: Dan Savage.
6
@1
Yep. It's college now.
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....
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.
9
Those Chicago School economists sure are touchy.
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.


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*
16
Another example of why playing Word Cop is not only a losing proposition but a distraction from real issues.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
22
One good thing to come out of all this, though: the phrase "drama monarch" which I will now use all the time forever.
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.
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.
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.
26
Could this all explain why it didn't like the "it gets better project"?
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.
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
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?
30
As far as words go, "it" seems like a more difficult reclamation project than "tranny."
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...
32
Watch out, Mr. Savage. In the Cloud-Cuckooland of contemporary academia, any future campus appearances may require a Trigger Warning.
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.
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.
35
I would like to hear more about all this harm the It Gets Better Project is alleged to have caused.
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.
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
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.
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...)
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!
41
When I think of all the productive ways that this energy could have been directed instead, it makes me almost despair.
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.
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.
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.
45
I hope "It" gets better.
46
And just to clarify- "fanny" in Australia is a slang word for vagina.

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.
48
So, what harm did they think the It Gets Better Project had done?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
55
@ 36, are you serious?
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..
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.
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 .
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?
60
I wonder how Zooey Deschanel feels about being called the "It Girl?"
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.
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.
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.....
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
73
So what is the approved shorthand for an automatic transmission in a car?
74
@73

I believe that would be called the "bitch."
75
It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose.
76
All this drama and no glitter-bombing. I'm so disappointed. Kids these days.
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.
78
Sorta interesting
But:
2782 words -- Too long.
Also a bit confusing -- Too "inside baseball"

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!
80
Dan, you can't use the word "it". That's not your word to use.
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.
82
@ 73: Thank you. I was wondering why Savage Love had turned into Car Talk.
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..
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.
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".
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
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.
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.

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.
90
@84

Did you read the part about the online campaign, including a petition, against Dan?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.

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. :-)
100
@99
True.
Dan's columns (i.e. him) can be great -- commonsensical, even "traditional" in the very best sense, very human, clever, direct but gentle etc.

But I have seen him BULLY people and be just a bit too full of himself.

Him of all people: a bully.

Then again, maybe he is aware of that flaw (and most of us have some of it) and admits it in his work? Which would be admirable.