Savage Love

In Your Image

Comments

103
Well said, Dan! And to LR: When you love people in spite of their "sin", it's second-rate love if it can be called "love" at all. It's forced tolerance, at best. When you really believe that we're all equally deserving of dignity in our less than perfect state ("sinful", in your parlance)and that another's sin is truly no worse than your own... Well, if those were your true beliefs, then you'd be worried about having the "other" finding you lovable, or at least worthy of true tolerance, complete with-- gasp!-- full civil rights. They day you start talking about whether you're worthy to be around gays, then you'll be in a position to talk about Christianity. If you are interested in seeing how one Christian owned his homophobia because he understood that it was a flaw in his Christianity, read the chapter called "The Leper" in "Radical Compassion: Finding Christ In The Heart Of The Poor" by Gary Smith, SJ. Yes, that stands for Society of Jesus. In other words, one Christian who wasn't afraid to search his soul on this issue was a Jesuit priest. And a heterosexual, to boot.

Audrey Rasmusson
Pittsburgh, PA
104
http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/gay-se…

It's sad shit when a dating site feels the need to prove that gay people aren't a threat because of people like LR frantically shouting from the rooftops about those evil gays.
105
Re Comment 102: I agree. Progressive Christians are not part of the problem and it isn't right to lump them in with homo-hostile Christians. In fact, people who are willing to state that full civil rights and social acceptance for gays is part of Christianity are part of the solution. They are taking the "justified by Christianity" justification for homophobia out from under the -- ahem -- "Christians with a K" types.

Audrey Rasmusson
Pittsburgh, PA
106
I'm just a 46-year-old father of two in the Midwest whose been married 22 years. I've been reading Dan for a few years because it's simply the best written advice column in the world, and Dan's response to LR is all the proof I need to make that argument.

I go to church on Sundays. It's important to me and I don't feel the need to explain that here. I believe in God because I believe in love, compassion and justice -- ideals that have certainly evolved, but did not just pop into existence. I believe people who love one another must be allowed to love one another, because it is the greatest gift we have been given and can give -- to our spouses, to our children and to the world.

I know "the church" is part of the problem, but please do not lump me in with LR and friends because we share space from time to time. There are many like me -- a little timid, kind of confused, but inspired by Dan, It Gets Better and very much wanting to do what's right.

Help us to help make a difference. Or don't. I will find my own way to change things. But please don't piss all over us because we call ourselves "christians." Nobody has it all figured out, whatever labels they wear or pin on others (those who think they do -- now there is the problem). Besides (do I really need to point this out?) it's got to be about more than labels.
107
Yeah Dan!!!!! Great response to letter number 1, i even thought you're writing was better than usual ;)
108
Re: LR-- while I agree that anyone opposed to marriage equality necessarily sees LGBT people as "less than," I don't agree that that viewpoint is "partly responsible for the bullying and physical violence being visited on vulnerable LGBT children."

Like me and many others, Dan makes a lot of anti-fat comments. Are we partly responsible for the bullying and physical violence being visited on vulnerable overweight children, who are also regularly bullied and who also attempt suicide at higher rates?

I'm not equating obesity-- which is demonstrably harmful-- with homosexuality-- which is not. My point is that a negative viewpoint toward members of a particular group (whether justified or not) does not necessarily make one culpable for bullying and physical violence by others toward members of the same group.
109
Dan expresses it so well. Most Xians don't deserve any courtesy at all, given their history throughout the world and history and the current trend of hatred and ugliness. If only they would actually follow their religion instead of perverting it to suit their bigotry. Go read John Boswell's books, and don't expect me to do your research for you. And shut up. And fuck you. No, seriously, fuck you. And, Dan, thank you... again.
110
Remember, the christian church would not even allow marriages between men and women till the late 1600's. Women were deemed too "unclean", and the church wanted all of the the mans resources willed to the church when they died. Part of the reason for the witchunts, and desecrations of the springs and other pagan shrines was to stop the handfastings.
It is still that way, the christian church would have dissolved in this country if not for the free labor of women, lavished upon the same people that they debase, de-classe, and denigrate.

No matter the nice people that say they belong to a church, if you are part of the gang, you are a gang-banger.

Deal with it, or allow women to be ordained.
111
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax96cghOn…

this is really incredible. I love the support he received from his fellow Texan council members. So proud.
112
Dan has been very outspoken in his belief that not all Christians are bad. In a recent column, he mentioned the people out there who have religious objections to homosexuality, but nonetheless support the legalization of same-sex marriage. He said that he'll gladly mow their lawns.

If he'll say that about people who support equal rights for gays, while maintaining anti-gay religious beliefs, then I think it's VERY safe to say that he doesn't have a problem with people whose religious beliefs ARE gay-friendly. And who belong to gay-friendly churches, and recognize the separation of church and state.

Dan, I wish you'd mentioned that when you responded to LR. A huge part of LR's letter consisted of complaints that you were attacking all Christians. While you correctly pointed out that Christians aren't the victim in the anti-gay bullying debate, you also should have pointed out that you're not criticizing all Christians - you're just criticizing the bigoted ones.
113
I'm always saddened and disgusted by 'Christians' who chose to focus nearly exclusively on the Old Testament.

This is what Jesus said in the New, and although I'm a recovering Catholic humanist now myself, I'll have to go with Vonnegut on this one:

"For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!"

And because it deserves to be emphasized:

and he began to teach them saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.


Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
114
You know not all Christians are mocking/hurting/tormenting gays, right? Some ARE gay. I have even seen GAY Christian pastors!

You missed the point of the Christian's letter: you are being a bigot by lumping the assholes in with the good guys. Be against bigots, don't be one.

I also agree with #112
115
Oops...lumping porn genres to stereotypes seems anti-Savage. Trust me gays (as a group) watch porn. ALL porn. Tranny, straight, gay, and oh lord EVERYTHING else.
116
@27 What you wrote was really twisted, and difficult for me to sympathize with.

.......how could you possibly prefer the couch to the bed??

(Welcome to Slog, fellow TimBits eater!)
117
http://fckh8.com/
118
I just you to bits, sir. Thanks for everything you do.
119
I'm so very sorry Christians, but I have to agree with the haters. The Christian religion is really no different than, say, a bike gang. The only difference is that it's members are far too vast in number to really control. To say you are apart of a group but disagree with what it believes in would usually mean getting kicked out, or fired upon. But in religion there's no limiting free thinking because you can't dissuade what someone truly believes. I have Christian friends who are only really Christian because it was how they were raised, and they know nothing else. Lets go back to my bike gang metaphor. If a person gets beaten up by a gang of people, or that gang continually harasses the town that person lives in, then the entire gang is going to be shunned upon. Just because the "good bike gang member" doesn't feel the same way, it doesn't mean they are any less to blame. They are the reason the gang exists: by swearing their allegiance to sed gang.

Ok, so maybe you have good values, and you truly don't think that way. At what point am I required to care? As long as you call yourself a Christian, you will be associated with them. Simple. You cannot be a Christian and demand individualism. HAHA! Thats funny!

IMHNSHO (In my honestly not so humble opinion), in the end, religion and normalization have been and will continue to be the fire that fuels problems in the world. I am not saying, however, it's what starts it.

Why does religion have to exist anyways? Religion, ultimately, is the deciding factor to what's right and wrong. The problem is that it isn't always right, but far too relied upon. But it's impossible to think of religion as not existing. Humans don't think that way.

Cruel irony. I am Homosexual and Atheist too...just throwing that out there.
120
I love your response.
121
@108 I Hate Screennames:

Yes, your anti-fat comments contribute to an anti-fat culture. They help to cement the idea that it is natural and right to view fat individuals as ugly and disgusting. Even Dan said in Skipping to Gomorrah that views on physical attractiveness are social and cultural.

Your "soft" bigotry against fat people, your patronizing attitude ("it's demonstrably unhealthy") which is supposed to make your bigotry okay because you just care about people making unhealthy choices, these are exactly what help create a fat-hating, fat-phobic spectrum, with horrible bullies at one end, and you somewhere in the middle, and people who think "fatties" are "gross" privately but are too "polite" to voice it in public at the other end.

This is what Dan is talking about with gay people, too. Your "soft" bigotry naturalizes all bigotry, and kids aren't the most subtle or nuanced creatures, so what they're likely to hear in your message, and in quasi-tolerant Christians' messages about gay people, is that fatties and gays are classifiably different types of people and it's not okay to be one of them.

Now the problem is that if sexuality and homosociality exists on natural spectrum, as well as body type, and kids start to worry that they're one of the incorrect and unacceptable "them," they are going to lash out at a more obvious "them" as a means to feel more like the acceptable, desirable "us"--Church group, parents, popular kids, whatever. What better way to mark your belonging to the in-group than to persecute someone more obviously in the out-group?

So nature--our sexualities, our bodies--is composed of spectra, but our opinions tend to fall into harmful and divisive binaries, and this creates a scramble to belong to one side of the divide, and to be seen as belonging to one side. When people feed the view that one side is better--and that there are even distinct sides--they fuck over nature, and fuck over our children.

So, fuck your fat-phobia, and fuck the kind of "tolerance" that wrings its hands at kids' deaths without becoming enraged and doing something to change the state of affairs in this bigoted, awful country.

I Hate Screennames, you ARE contributing to the bullying of 'fat people.' You ARE contributing to the social conditioning that makes people with a higher-than-average BMI feel depressed, lonely, unattractive and unlovable. And you ARE part of the cultural force that drives even people with doctor-approved BMIs to constantly watch their weight and worry about LOOKING too fat. So fuck you.

And fuck any 'tolerant' Christians who don't take the state of things to be ample evidence that they need to take over the leadership of their churches and congregations NOW, and take the megaphones out of the hands of people whose words do violence to others.
122
@108 I Hate Screennames:

Yes, your anti-fat comments contribute to an anti-fat culture. They help to cement the idea that it is natural and right to view fat individuals as ugly and disgusting. Even Dan said in Skipping to Gomorrah that views on physical attractiveness are social and cultural.

Your "soft" bigotry against fat people, your patronizing attitude ("it's demonstrably unhealthy") which is supposed to make your bigotry okay because you just care about people making unhealthy choices, these are exactly what help create a fat-hating, fat-phobic spectrum, with horrible bullies at one end, and you somewhere in the middle, and people who think "fatties" are "gross" privately but are too "polite" to voice it in public at the other end.

This is what Dan is talking about with gay people, too. Your "soft" bigotry naturalizes all bigotry, and kids aren't the most subtle or nuanced creatures, so what they're likely to hear in your message, and in quasi-tolerant Christians' messages about gay people, is that fatties and gays are classifiably different types of people and it's not okay to be one of them.

Now the problem is that if sexuality and homosociality exists on natural spectrum, as well as body type, and kids start to worry that they're one of the incorrect and unacceptable "them," they are going to lash out at a more obvious "them" as a means to feel more like the acceptable, desirable "us"--Church group, parents, popular kids, whatever. What better way to mark your belonging to the in-group than to persecute someone more obviously in the out-group?

So nature--our sexualities, our bodies--is composed of spectra, but our opinions tend to fall into harmful and divisive binaries, and this creates a scramble to belong to one side of the divide, and to be seen as belonging to one side. When people feed the view that one side is better--and that there are even distinct sides--they fuck over nature, and fuck over our children.

So, fuck your fat-phobia, and fuck the kind of "tolerance" that wrings its hands at kids' deaths without becoming enraged and doing something to change the state of affairs in this bigoted, awful country.

I Hate Screennames, you ARE contributing to the bullying of 'fat people.' You ARE contributing to the social conditioning that makes people with a higher-than-average BMI feel depressed, lonely, unattractive and unlovable. And you ARE part of the cultural force that drives even people with doctor-approved BMIs to constantly watch their weight and worry about LOOKING too fat. So fuck you.

And fuck any 'tolerant' Christians who don't take the state of things to be ample evidence that they need to take over the leadership of their churches and congregations NOW, and take the megaphones out of the hands of people whose words do violence to others.
123
It seems that the whole chicks with dicks porn thing has been getting a huge ramp up in popularity and exposure of late. Been noticing more and more of it around and gotta say some of it, if the chick is beautiful and she can get hard and come - is pretty damn hot! I see a bright future for this particular niche of the industry.
124
108, 121

Saying that being fat is demonstrably unhealthy is not the same thing as being a bigot. It's not correct to say "any fat person is less healthy than any slim person" but it's silly to argue with "being fat is less healthy than being slim". That opinion doesn't make me a bigot; what would make me a bigot would be saying that fat people don't deserve to get married, or walk around in public, or whatever (those are *not* my opinions!).

(a) thinking that fat is unhealthy is not bigotry, and therefore
(b) the fat argument is not a good analogy of the gay bigotry discussion
125
124 correction:
what I meant was, it's silly to argue, in general, that "being fat is *more* healthy than being slim"
126
Thank you Dan, for once again stating the unvarnished truth as you see it. Keep speaking out. I came to the conclusion some years ago that Jesus had tried to teach his followers FORGIVNESS above all else. He pointed out time and time again through his parables that ANYONE who thought they were better or more deserving than any other person were destined to be judged by their own criteria- measured by their own yardstick. Jesus routinely accepted as brothers and sisters the worst offenders in his society: Prostitutes, drunks, tax collectors (read, political sellouts) the diseased,deformed, heretics, and Romans- that is- anyone who got his message that God sees you as a worthy person, and all you had to do was accept yourself, forgive your own imperfections, and do the same for others. He was especially critical of those who hurt children- even with words. So I dont call myself a Christian. Because I believe in the teachings of this man named Jesus, and I see very few Christians who follow his teachings.
127
my response to Dan's response to LR:
Thank you Dan, for once again stating the unvarnished truth as you see it. Keep speaking out. I came to the conclusion some years ago that Jesus had tried to teach his followers FORGIVNESS above all else. He pointed out time and time again through his parables that ANYONE who thought they were better or more deserving than any other person were destined to be judged by their own criteria- measured by their own yardstick. Jesus routinely accepted as brothers and sisters the worst offenders in his society: Prostitutes, drunks, tax collectors (read, political sellouts) the diseased,deformed, heretics, and Romans- that is- anyone who got his message that God sees you as a worthy person, and all you had to do was accept yourself, forgive your own imperfections, and do the same for others. He was especially critical of those who hurt children- even with words. So I dont call myself a Christian. Because I believe in the teachings of this man named Jesus, and I see very few Christians who follow his teachings.
128
@127 Funny that the fundamentalists always leave out the 'do the same for others part'.
129
Ah Dan, yet again you found someone to exploit. "observant Christians", suicidal gays, anythings fodder for Dan's self-promotion.
130
Not all Christian churches are equal. The church I go to does not condemn or hate. We teach and practice love. Are there people in my congregation that are hateful and wrong? Yes. Is that my congregation as a whole? No.
I am a gay Christian. I believe that God is love. I have been taught to love others as Jesus loves me.
Alienating an entire group of people by saying that all Christians are hateful, bigoted, suicide-causing people won't help your cause. Because we're not all the same.
131
What really kills me at the end of the first letter is that "oh so loving Christian" TELLS Dan Savage to be more careful with his words. Doesn't suggest, doesn't request - instructs. If that is not indicative of self-righteous ass-hattery, I don't know what is.
132
I'm with 15. Has she brought up playing with a strap on? He might like that. My boyfriend isn't exclusively into transgirls, but he does like them, I think in part because it's a "safe" way to play with cock. . . and I swear, all guys, gay or straight, are obsessed with cock. Plus, he likes having his ass played with, which I think is a somewhat separate thing--how many transgirls have reliably working cocks?--but you might as well bring it up and see if he'd be into it, as an extra fun thing for you guys to do if nothing else.

"that's a genre that appeals exclusively to straight/straightish/bi male viewers."

I like a sexy transgirl or transguy (Hello, Buck Angel. Yummm. . . Usually not attracted to super muscle-bound guys, either, but. . . um. . . Buck is HOT. Heh.) and I'm female.

Also, thank you Dan for knocking holes into that woman's letter. You basically said what I could never quite articulate.

@16: "I have respect for anyone whose faith leads them to do the humane thing."

Me, too.

@25: "There's nothing in the mail to indicate the lady in question was the girlfriend he cheated on. I think we've all been in relationships that were just not terribly serious and hence not exclusive. Marriage isn't like that."

I didn't take it as her being the one that was cheated on either, but how soundly would you sleep knowing your boyfriend/girlfriend cheated on their previous partner? What makes you so special that he/she wouldn't cheat on YOU, you know?

"people kill themselves all the time, for all sorts of reasons. "

Yeah, but these are KIDS that are feeling suicidally hopeless and being BULLIED to DEATH.
133
I'm with 15. Has she brought up playing with a strap on? He might like that. My boyfriend isn't exclusively into transgirls, but he does like them, I think in part because it's a "safe" way to play with cock. . . and I swear, all guys, gay or straight, are obsessed with cock. Plus, he likes having his ass played with, which I think is a somewhat separate thing--how many transgirls have reliably working cocks?--but you might as well bring it up and see if he'd be into it, as an extra fun thing for you guys to do if nothing else.

"that's a genre that appeals exclusively to straight/straightish/bi male viewers."

I like a sexy transgirl or transguy (Hello, Buck Angel. Yummm. . . Usually not attracted to super muscle-bound guys, either, but. . . um. . . Buck is HOT. Heh.) and I'm female.

Also, thank you Dan for knocking holes into that woman's letter. You basically said what I could never quite articulate.

@16: "I have respect for anyone whose faith leads them to do the humane thing."

Me, too.

@25: "There's nothing in the mail to indicate the lady in question was the girlfriend he cheated on. I think we've all been in relationships that were just not terribly serious and hence not exclusive. Marriage isn't like that."

I didn't take it as her being the one that was cheated on either, but how soundly would you sleep knowing your boyfriend/girlfriend cheated on their previous partner? What makes you so special that he/she wouldn't cheat on YOU, you know?

"people kill themselves all the time, for all sorts of reasons. "

Yeah, but these are KIDS that are feeling suicidally hopeless and being BULLIED to DEATH.
134
Sorry for the double post. D'oh.
135
Bravo Dan, way to stick it to the "Magic Sky Friend Jesus" Clan!
136
I LOVED the answer to the 1st letter, I'm an atheist, living in a majority catholic country (that legalized gay marriage earlier this year!!!), and I am so sick of religious people (be it catholic, jehovas witnees, whatever) talking crap about any subject... not just homosexuality, I can't explain the aount of criticism I have received for not baptizing my daughter, not wanting to send her to catholic schools.. Even though catholic schoools are traditionally better here, I refuse to send her to a lace that when gay marriage was legalized, sent home with every kid from kindy up a pamphlet saying that the only true family is a mother, a father and kids!!! Not to mention an article I read last week about a prminent catholic school making the boys that wanted to start tere sign an agreement to not "turn gay" as a condition of being accepted...
SO many religious people think they are better than the rest of us just for being religious, what happened to "love thy neighbour"? Not to mention the atrocities mankind has committed sincce forever in name of religion.
Sorry for such a long post, I'm passionate about this subject!
137
I've honestly never seen the argument before today that "good Christians" should be held responsible for the actions of the crazy ones, or the ones that have been dead for 2000 years. I totally understand where it's coming from, but that's like me (being of Jewish descent) saying that all Germans suck cause a while back there were Nazis, and the people didn't fight back hard enough.

I don't know that I'd call myself Christian, but I believe in God. I wasn't really raised anything, and I've explored other religions, but what I believe is what I believe. I started going to church a few years back, and went right up until my bible study teacher said something about gays never forming long term relationships (it was all about sex). I stood up, said, "Sorry, but that's insane." explained that I'd just had lunch with a man who's been with his partner for 25 years, and I left. So no, I'm not "supporting" anything. Just because I'm religious doesn't mean I'm dropping money into collection plates and calmly watching a few morons pick and choose from a book what's convenient to believe and try to ruin peoples lives. You can be Christian without going to or supporting a church. I certainly don't think I'll ever find God in one. Not my God, anyway.

I've marched in parades, organized a day of silence back in high school, and "debated" with my ultra-Christian MIL until I was blue in the face. The only "recognition" I've ever sought is from my Christian-raised fiance, who's come a heck long way from the man who voted for Bush purely because he had conservative values (in fact, he's nearly as outspoken as I am nowadays) and in seeing my much-younger siblings grow into people who'll speak out when it's the right thing to do. I believe in God, though, so I'm not a good enough ally? I understand where the sentiment is coming from, and it's not going to change who I am or what I believe is the right thing to do, but ouch.

Anybunnies, I'm not the best at putting my thoughts down on paper, so good luck on reading the babbling mess I just wrote. :-)
138
Excellent, excellent, and even MORE excellent. I'm happy to read that you pull no punches when slugging away at these impossible people. They need to be STOPPED, not given a forum that ultimately leads to kids' deaths. That goes for their damn fundy parents, too. I have this running on Suite 101:

http://www.suite101.com/content/are-you-…

Keep up the good fight, and best regards and hugs to you both !!
139
@121: Thank you, that was exactly the kind of nonsense I was trying to incite. So if my kid started getting obese, I should throw up my hands and accept that we are all God's beautiful creations. Because encouraging him to lose weight would send the bigoted message that being obese is bad, and thus I'd be responsible for bullying everywhere. Got it.

@124: I agree that opposition to obesity is not bigotry, but I don't see how that distinction matters when discussing the link between a negative attitudes and bullying. Are you saying that the collateral bullying damage is acceptable if your opinion is justified?

If so, I don't see how that's going to convince the anti-gays. They really do believe that homosexuality is bad, and thus they will similarly accept the collateral bullying damage. I've long argued that religious people can think whatever they want to think, so long as they don't seek to impose their religious laws on anyone else. Saying that they can't believe something (they think) the Bible tells them to believe attacks their religion directly, which does not strike me as a winning approach.

And in truth, any argument that says people can't even think something makes me squeamish. It's a little too Orwellian for my tastes.
140
I think the Apostle Paul said it best when he said that Christianity is like having a great, big, blue-veined cock. You know, a real Louisville Slugger. That is to say: it's wonderful! But you shouldn't wag it around in public, or beat people over the head with it, and you definitely should not cram it down a child's throat.
141
This Philosophy nerd (see: useless;friendless) applauds your very succinct detailed and properly ordered reasoning. Perhaps the most fantastic point was the idea of bullying abstractly. Even if I didn't agree (which I do), I would have enjoyed reading that because of how excellently argued it was.
142
Jesus taught us to love, love your neighbour as you love yourself, I am quite afraid that some people take this seriously, they hate themselves and as a result show hate to others, it is easier to relocate the shame you feel about yourself to someone else than to face your own demons. As a pastor I remember a case where a friend of mine preached tolerance for all people, some good Christians left this church and went to a neighbouring one, I was quite impressed when their new pastor "came out". I have the whole thing figured out, when I am perfect I will show up to offer to tell tell you what to do, in the meantime I'll use what Jesus taught to try and make myself a better person and the world a better place, you know, I'm pretty sure you are trying likewise
143
@124 Ak, @108/139

Indeed, being extremely overweight causes more health problems than being at an average bodyweight--almost always. Being extremely underweight, though, has even more dire, and by far more immediate, health threats. Obviously you don't get the "anti-slim" argument in America because we have an obesity trend. Even people undernourished in this country can be obese because they might get as many or more calories than they need, but the food they eat is so fucking terrible that they exhibit signs of undernourishment! We have a big food problem in this country, and it hurts poor people the most.

But, that being said, you can be a "little" too skinny visibly and it might translate into more than a "little" too skinny medically--people with average or somewhat higher than average BMIs are actually said now, scientifically, to live longer and have fewer heart problems than those on the low end of average or under-average.

So it is not ridiculous to argue that being slim is less healthy than being "fat"--if by "fat" you mean what we visibly take to be overweight in this culture, which can be someone of even a normal BMI!

So let the doctors and scientists tell you who is "too fat" to be healthy. Do you see someone who looks like they weigh 400 pounds? Yeah, they've probably got weight-related health problems: joint issues, back issues, cardiovascular issues. But why is it your place to care? They probably have a doctor. They've probably already heard it all.

We don't have socialized medicine, so that's not a real issue here. Emergency rooms, sure, but almost none of that is overweight people having overweight-related health crises.

So 108/139, your "anti-fat" shit is bigotry, and my response isn't ridiculous. If your child starts to get obese, by all means, that is your business. Talk to your doctor about how to put the darling little so-and-so on an effective diet, but ASK, first, if the kid is really medically obese and in medical danger...just in case your bigoted, fat-phobic eyes are registering a slightly-higher-than-average BMI--nothing to worry about--as clinical obesity (something to worry about).

And, no, you do not want to send the message that being obese is "bad" any more than you want to send the message that having any other medical condition is "bad." Medical conditions are something to be worked with in order to help the person suffering from them--not something for you to go around judging as "bad."

Now, do you want your kid at a healthy BMI (which differs from person to person) because you hate the way fat people look, or because you want your kid to have the healthiest future possible?

Nothing wrong with the second one, and EVERYTHING wrong with the first. And your concern should probably stop at your own child. Don't make public "anti-fat" comments, you little beautiful snowflake of God you: they're not helping anyone.
144
seriously...can we make a TShirt that says "Magic Sky Friend Jesus" and sell it to benefit The Trevor Project?

genius phrase.

Thanks Dan!!!
145
Dude, fitness is about how well your body works. I take African dance. I'm average weight, and I'm in class with a lot of fat women who are more flexible than me, can dance longer than me, have better coordination than me. That means their muscles, hearts, lungs and nerves are all in better shape than mine. And yeah, they are fat. Fatty fat fatsos in glowing, vibrant health. So check yourself before you wreck yourself, ok?
146
@145

WORD. Thank you for putting it so well.
147
@53, and anyone else who thinks equating judgment against christianity is equal to judgment against a person's sexuality (or whatever the proper term is)

People CHOOSE their religion and participate in it voluntarily.

That cannot be said for your personal sexual procilivities.

I also kind of wish Dan had mentioned that to LR1, but he nailed it anyway!
148
@53, and anyone else who thinks equating judgment against christianity is equal to judgment against a person's sexuality (or whatever the proper term is)

People CHOOSE their religion and participate in it voluntarily.

That cannot be said for your personal sexual procilivities.

I also kind of wish Dan had mentioned that to LR1, but he nailed it anyway!
149
how can americans be so brilliant, like you dan, and so fucking stupid, like religious fools?? Is this what democracy means? Argh! I am just grateful that your words get written and read, and you arent sent to jail for 11 years... Give the nobel prize to dan!
150
how can americans be so brilliant, like you dan, and so fucking stupid, like religious fools?? Is this what democracy means? Argh! I am just grateful that your words get written and read, and you arent sent to jail for 11 years... Give the nobel prize to dan!
151
@143, 145: Sigh. I'm using obesity to make a point about the flaw in Dan's logic. Stop reading from your fat acceptance movement scripts and listen to what I'm actually saying.

First, there are two levels of acceptance that you seem to be compacting together: legal acceptance and social acceptance. I think we all agree that everyone-- be they white, black, gay, straight, fat, or thin-- is entitled to the same level of legal acceptance. That means everyone should be able to marry a person of their choosing, everyone should be protected from unjust discrimination, everyone should receive equal pay for equal work, etc.

Where we part ways is at social acceptance. Everyone is not entitled to the same level of social acceptance, because people can and should be able to socialize with whomever they damn well please. If I don't like or don't want to be friends with fat people, Mormons, rednecks, blacks, Republicans, gays, Canadians, or midgets, that's my choice and I'm entitled to it (though perhaps I should learn to be more open minded). And if the collective effect of many people's choices is that fat people, Mormons, rednecks, blacks, Republicans, gays, Canadians, or midgets have less friends or are seen as less socially desirable, then that's the price we pay for living in a free society. If I can't choose who I like or don't like, then I don't know what "freedom" means.

Second, there's a level of courtesy that should be expected of people in a civilized society. That means that even if I don't like fat people, Mormons, rednecks, blacks, Republicans, gays, Canadians, or midgets, that doesn't give me license to be rude to them, much less bully them or encourage bullying them. Of course, I should raise my kid to treat others with the same level of courtesy.

Third, a person who doesn't like fat people, Mormons, rednecks, blacks, Republicans, gays, Canadians, or midgets doesn't necessarily approve of them being bullied to death. That I have a preference for thin people, atheists, college graduates, whites, Democrats, straights, Americans, or basketball players doesn't mean I want fat people, Mormons, rednecks, blacks, Republicans, gays, Canadians, or midgets to die. Nor does it make me an accomplice to their suicides.

Thus, the problem with Dan's argument-- and yours-- is the attempt to use suicides to strongarm people into socially accepting gays and fat people (or Mormons, Republicans, etc.). "You have to accept everyone," the argument goes, "otherwise kids learn it's OK to disapprove of fat people, Mormons, rednecks, blacks, Republicans, gays, Canadians, or midgets, and thus they learn its OK to bully, and thus they cause some kids to commit suicide, and that's your fault."

No, it isn't. Everyone makes social choices, kids will always bully, and the way to stop bullycide is to teach kids how to behave like decent human beings, not to teach them to love everyone equally.

Now to the extent Dan is arguing that the lack of legal acceptance for gays sends a particularly strong message about them being "less than"-- a message that is not transmitted about fat people-- and thus a particularly strong incentive for kids to bully LGBT kids, then I'm on board with that. But I get off the train once it states that we all need to socially accept everyone.
152
In regards to that first letter, fucking amen. My gay friend recently shared a note he got from his cousin [he had been posting all the articles about gay teens committing suicide]. That note? Said that they wouldn't have done it if Jesus was in their lives and that it was their decision to be gay. o.O He tore that cousin a new one, but holy fuck...THIS is what leads to LGBT suicides. How can they "have Jesus in their lives" if in the same breath, they're being told how wrong and sinful they are for who they ARE?
153
Bravo Dan!

To believe that god is an asshole that thinks that his followers should degrade those that don't follow him is shitbrained-wacko!

To believe that two consentual adults can love each other no matter thier sex or gender makes clear-as-day sense.

I'm all about degrading those that choose to be shitbrained bigots. I fully support euthinasia of shitbrained bigots. If shitbrained bigotry happens to be genetic then it's time to weed out the gene pool an up the percentage of humans on this planet that can except that love (including love with sexual attraction) is love no matter what the sex/gender combination is in the relationship.

Once again...Dan, you are The Man!
154
Bravo Dan!

To believe that god is an asshole that thinks that his followers should degrade those that don't follow him is shitbrained-wacko!

To believe that two consentual adults can love each other no matter thier sex or gender makes clear-as-day sense.

I'm all about degrading those that choose to be shitbrained bigots. I fully support euthinasia of shitbrained bigots. If shitbrained bigotry happens to be genetic then it's time to weed out the gene pool an up the percentage of humans on this planet that can except that love (including love with sexual attraction) is love no matter what the sex/gender combination is in the relationship.

Once again...Dan, you are The Man!
155
BTW: I think a better lesson to be drawn from the high number of gay teenagers killing themselves is this: Gay teens who are rejected by their parents are over eight times as likely to attempt suicide as those who are not.

Eight times. Holy fuck.

I can't think of any risk a reasonable parent would be willing to subject their kid to that increases the chance of death by that much. Which means homophobic parents should suck it up and give their gay kids a big hug when they come out. Unless they are so mean and hateful-- such manifestly bad parents-- that they're OK with octupling the chance of a suicide.

Also: that anti-gay vitriol? Pretty much guarantees that your kid-- who just might be gay-- won't come out to you and won't get that love and support he or she absolutely fucking needs to make it through the teenage years.

For once, let's actually think of the children. Not just any children, your children.
156
Here is a response Dan for your pounding on the Christian that wrote in. Chill the FUCK down. Homosexual are killing themselves? Homosexual children are having a tough time? Guess what they are hardly alone in any of these facts. Yes it is sad, yes it is a tragedy, yes we should do everything possible to see it happens less often but gays are not alone in such problems and pounding on Christians is not the answer to the problem. Especially when Christians, of all their stripes and flavors, outnumber by an order of magnitude any other religious group in the USA. None of Abrahamic Religions from a matter of dogma have a very friendly attitude towards gays. With these points in the front of your mind Dan now remember that the USA is a Republic where citizens vote on various things.

So what exactly do you think you are going to get done for your cause? Said cause being gay rights. When you bash the majority religious group, especially when some reach out to you? Besides venting your anger at people that is. People that get dumped on tend to respond in kind.

You are a case in point, Christians, especially the fundamentalist variety tend to dump on gays. So naturally you want to reply in kind. One slight problem when you are hugely in the minority it’s at best a fools game and most likely totally counterproductive.

157
Regarding L.R.

Your argument is basically this: "I don't care if making wide generalizations hurts people's feelings because that group [Christianity] as a whole is doing something wrong."

People who bully might say: "I don't care if making wide generalizations hurts people's feelings because that group [Gay people] as a whole is doing something wrong."

I'm having a hard time seeing how you're taking the high road here. I know full well that you disagree with traditional religious views on homosexual behavior, but your argument basically comes down to a relativistic he-said-she-said kind of "logic". No one will be convinced by this unless they already agree with you.

Those who advocate for gay marriage and the gay community in general have to realize it is a minority. As a minority it will not get very far making these "because I said so" type arguments. Logic and consistency is the only route. For instance, if love makes a family/ one man and one woman is an arbitrarily unfair distinction, why not allow all forms of marriage (especially polygamy)? If homosexually is not immoral because it can't be helped, why isn't pedophilia immoral? These are the questions, Dan, that need to be answered well if you are going to be taken seriously be the larger population.

I do realize that your comments are part of a noble effort to get kids through bullying. But please remember kids are bullied for all sorts of reasons and it all equally sucks. You do no help to your cause in referring to a "magical sky friend" which is as hurtful and insulting to religious people as any "faggot" uttered. You only give your opponents more ammunition with columns like these.
158
@ 151, I Hate Screen Names

Look, I can see you're having trouble understanding any logic but your own, so let me try again. And let me preface this by saying that if there's a "fat acceptance movement script," I don't have a copy, but I wish copies would be widely distributed.

First, we are talking primarily about social acceptance, not legal acceptance. Telling a kid he can or can't be out and gay in the military isn't the big issue right here: calling the kid a pansy, or whatever other forms of bullying take place, *is* the main issue here.

It is the lack of social acceptance that is what pushes these kids to depression and, some, to suicide.

If you are making public "anti-fat" comments, as you previously claimed you do, you *are* contributing to an unpleasant social atmosphere for heavier kids, and adults, too. You *are not* observing the basic level of courtesy that you tout. And if you make anti-fat comments, kids will make anti-fat comments. Even if you say, "Timmy is such an ugly little fattie, but shh my darling child, don't repeat what I said because that isn't polite," first, your child is probably smart enough to realize right off that you're a fucking hypocrite. Second, monkey see, monkey do. Third, you're going to give that kid some serious image issues if they ever gain even a little weight, because they'll worry about how fat they can get before mommy or daddy thinks they're a fit subject for ridicule. Part of teaching kids to behave like a decent human being is behaving like one yourself: it's easier to teach them not to be prejudiced if you, yourself, are not.

So that is why I am trying to get you to see the flaws in your own argumentation. Others have already pointed out that "fat" and "gay" aren't parallel enough for you to use as an example of how Dan is wrong. I can lay it out for you--and debate your arguments point by point--if you really want me to. But, I get this feeling that your recourse to touting our "free" society as the reason we shouldn't encourage real tolerance means that you're probably hiding behind your "freedom" to believe whatever you want, even if what you believe is poorly reasoned and harmful to others.

And if you don't think that there is a strong social message that fat people are "less than" in this culture, consider advertising, consider bullying, consider television...consider the thousand dominant sources that tell fat people daily that they are LESS attractive, LESS healthy, LESS desirable, than thin people. That they have LESS self-control... And all these things tell a fat kid or a fat adult that they are LESS deserving of love and fulfillment, because we value things like sexual attractiveness in this culture so highly--and decide that fat people can't possibly be sexually attractive.

Personal social affiliation is different from social acceptance, but too many personal choices tipping the scale in one direction can create acceptance...or not. So when Dan is trying to "strong-arm" people into socially accepting gays, it's because we do not have a civilized or enlightened level of true social acceptance yet, and he's trying to tip the scale. An ignorant person will definitely remain ignorant if they don't hear about other options (or sometimes have their faces rubbed in those options/ their own shit). A bigoted person will definitely remain bigoted unless there are social pressures that show bigotry as an undesirable trait. There is nothing wrong with what Dan is doing (and his logic is only flawed from your skewed perspective): he is trying to create a less ignorant, less bigoted social world.

Let me put it this way: what if you saw a fat person and thought, truly thought, "Wow, what an attractive individual!" Wouldn't you be a happier person if you could celebrate that your world was filled with interesting, diverse, attractive people? Wouldn't your children be happier if they had a more accepting perspective? Bigotry hurts the bigoted and makes them live in a scarier, uglier world, and so bigotry affects them nearly as much as it hurts those whom the bigotry is directed against.

We should see it as our responsibility to create as loving and accepting a world as possible for our children, and a big part of this means eradicating irrational prejudices.

If you can't see this, I Hate Screen Names, and can't get behind what Dan is trying to do, and what "fat acceptance" people are trying to do, well, I urge you to reconsider where your biases and opinions come from, and what kind of legacy they're likely to leave.
159
I'm already posted my own much-more-confrontational-and-militant anti-religion rants on other threads, so I think I'll let this one go. Instead I'll take up an issue about which Queer Theory has much to say:

@27: Actually, it's "orientation" that's bullshit, as it indicates a universal, uniform, essentialized view of sexuality. "Preference" doesn't indicate a "choice" in the sense of selecting from a number of equally-valid options (in fact, quite the opposite; it indicates that you CAN'T do anything about that which you prefer), it indicates a preference: for example, I prefer drinking gin and tonic to drinking urine - there's nothing that's going to change that preference if all things are equal, but there ARE environmental circumstances that might change it e.g. someone holding a gun to my head or I'm about to die from alcohol poisoning. This is a MUCH better reflection of sexuality; otherwise-straight men, for example, may have sex with other men when confined to mono-gender environments for long periods of time (prison). That doesn't mean their preference isn't heterosexual, and "preference" is better than "orientation" because "orientation" implies some sort of permanence/essentialism/exclusiveness that the prison scenario contradicts. "Preference" also allows for a much more varied set of parameters than "orientation": my own sexual preferences are for oral-oral contact with persons who possess vulvas and vaginas and with whom I have some sort of intellectual compatibility, for performing oral- and digital-genital stimulation on said persons, for having oral-genital stimulation performed on me by said persons, and for engaging in both penetrative and non-penetrative genital-genital contact/stimulation with said persons in a generally egalitarian and vulvocentric manner, all not in public spaces. Now that's both more descriptive and MUCH more accurate than "straight", particularly since it doesn't mean that I WON'T engage in other sex acts, just that these are the types of sex I prefer and seek out. The language of "preference" also helps deconstruct sexuality as an all-important, naturalized, essentialized aspect of "identity", a phenomenon that is highly problematic given the sort of culture wars it engenders. Read some Judith Butler or Kate Bornstein; we need new discursive strategies, because Liberal Toleration (we're talking the formal philosophy here) is proving to be NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
160
Letter & response #1 gave me chills. I still have goosebumps.

Bravo Dan, very well done.
161
I like Savage Love but sometimes Dan Savage can be a self-righteous dick. Speaking as an All Gay Man, I think Chicks With Dicks are HOT HOT HOT. I wish Dan would stick to speaking from his own personal perspective on subjects. His perspective is at times funny, interesting, and intriguing. He does not however speak for All Gay Men, and I wish that he and All Others would avoid such blanket statements, it is a disservice to the GLBT community to have one of our own members making generalizations about us like that. Who died and made you Queen anyway Dan?
162
@158: Perhaps there is some confusion as to what I meant by "anti-fat" comments, which are not the same as "anti-fat people" comments. By anti-fat, I mean comments that Americans in general are obese, that obesity is an increasing problem, and that there needs to be some kind of national dialog on how to address and reduce Americans' bulging waistlines. All of these comments implicitly or explicitly assume that obesity is "bad," and are thus anti-fat. I don't mean singling out individuals who happen to be overweight and disparaging them on that basis, which I agree is rude and uncalled for.

In addition, I don't want my kid to be fat, for both health and social reasons. Were he to gain weight, I would encourage him to lose it, enroll him in more physical activities, etc. This too is an "anti-fat" attitude. And while I've repeatedly agreed that obesity is unlike homosexuality, that's only because I am not anti-gay. Were I anti-gay; that is, were I the people Dan is trying to reach; I would have the same attitude about gaiety: I don't want my kid to be gay, I would encourage him to be straight, etc.

My point in bringing up obesity was to show people how Dan's argument looks when you don't already agree with the conclusion. Since you are part of the fat-acceptance "choir," as it were, you're missing the whole point. So pick some other characteristic: your kid starts hanging out with Scientologists, or gets really into Ayn Rand, or decides that Jesus is his personal Savior. Preferably pick a characteristic that you disapprove of that has negative social implications, and make the same "bullycide" argument to yourself. It will very likely not seem as convincing to you as the gay and fat versions.

For instance: if I disapprove of potheads, and I tell my kid that he shouldn't smoke pot, am I responsible for any bullying that potheads endure? Again, I'm not equating drug use to homosexuality or to obesity; I'm just trying to get you to see how the bullycide line of argument looks to people who think that their point of view is reasonable.

In other words, I'm trying to get people to see how the argument looks from the other side. I'm not agreeing with the other side.

Let me try stating it another way: bigotry doesn't look like bigotry to the bigoted. Anti-gay people don't dislike gays for no reason; they (think they) have valid rationales ground in the Bible or health or somesuch nonsense. Anti-fat people don't dislike fat for no reason; they (think they) have valid reasons ground in health or ease of socialization. Anti-drug people don't dislike drug use for no reason; they (think they) have valid reasons ground in health or exposure to criminality. So Dan's argument doesn't work unless you already agree with his conclusion; if you don't, you will insist that you have valid reasons for holding the viewpoint that you do, and it isn't your fault that some kids are assholes using that as an excuse.

I'm not suggesting that we not work to change people's attitudes; my point is that you can't use bullycide to morally blackmail people into changing those attitudes.
163
So I didn't have the time and effort to read all of the comments, but I'm fairly certain I have a good grasp on the arguments being made. I'd just like to make a quick point that I hadn't seen up until the 50th post or so.

If you are christian, you are a fucking morons. Plain and simple. There's no division between good christian and bad christina...you're all bad christians. Or more accurately, moronic christians. Every last one of you. The "Good" christians, in a way, are worse, because they seemingly have an at least somewhat rational head on their shoulders, and still believe that a magic man in the sky cares about them.

Religion truly is the opiate of the masses. People are too afraid to believe that their lives are ultimately meaningless and so they turn to "faith". It's called denial people.

I've always been a fairly tolerant person (despite what this post may entail) mainly because gay people, minorities, etc have absolutely no choice for who they are. If they did, no one would chose to be gay, why subject themselves to that?

But as a get older I grow less and less tolerant for so called religious people. Religion isn't something you inherently are, its something you choose to be. And if you choose to be religious, I hate to say it, but you're a fucking moron.
164
@ 151, I Hate Screen Names

Put simply, you are reserving the right to be a high school mean-girl, right?

*************
Overheard outside of IHSN's office:

Colleague: "Why didn't you invite Jane to party? You invited everyone else on the entire floor."

IHSN: "Well, Brianna, you see... Jane is fat and Canadian. And while I support her right to get married, have a family, and serve in the military I really can't deal with her being in my home, even for a few hours.

Colleague: "But she was the only one from the office you didn't invite... I mean, you singled her out..."

IHSN: "I also have a screen saver of her. I photoshopped her head onto Jabba the Hutt. A few of us at work had a big laugh over that. See, here it is... Look! Hilarious, right?"

Colleague: "How can you be so mean to her?"

IHSN: "Mean? I'm not mean to her. I smile every time I pass her desk."

**********

So you're not a bigot, just an asshole, right?
165
@164: Are you incapable of arguing a position you do not hold?

I've repeatedly stated that I don't actually agree with most of the positions I'm taking-- that's why I made my list of "undesirables" so whimsical. I'm trying to approach Dan's statements more critically, as someone who doesn't already agree with him. In other words, I'm trying to figure out if "bullycide" would actually convince anyone not already convinced. So your personal attacks are even less effective than usual.
166
RE: the first response - right on Dan. "We judge others by their actions, but ourselves by our intentions." The "loving Christians" who are against gay rights can't see past their "good" intentions of saving "traditional marriage" to the reality of the harm their actions cause in the world. Way to take him to task.
167
<3 Dan, Keep fighting the good fight, man. It definitely makes a difference and you're in a rare position to really publicize this issue.
168
@ 157 - Homosexuality hurts no one. Pedophilia hurts children. Can't tell the difference?
169
Dan,

As we all have opinions on everything the bottom line is everyone deserves the opportunity to live their lives as they see fit as long as it does not physically hurt anyone intentially. I believe something my Mom told me a long time ago, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" and another one that works for me, "you made your bed so lay in it". All most of us want is to be recognized, treated fairly and live our lives to it's fullest potential. Who are we to judge what is right and wrong? Love comes in different forms and fashion. Shouldn't we all be trying to do our part with those who come across our paths in life? If we do won't that help us to meet our maker (whoever we believe that may be in our personal part in the world of beliefs)? Bless you for being a voice for those who are timid, scared, in hiding, confused and most importantly.....alone.
170
Okay, I Hate Screen Names, your point has become clearer. It took a while, and perhaps in the future you might want to reconsider how incendiary and unclear you want your introductory salvos to be.

You would probably still benefit from considering some of what I've said--I don't think you are entirely off the hook.

But two points to make:

The author of the letter to Dan is not anti-gay (presumably), so while your hypothetical model holds in your hypothetical world, it does not actually deal with the matter at hand. Since this person wasn't anti-gay, Dan has a better chance of working an effect by pointing out that their choices make them complicit in the deaths of children. If you care, Dan is saying, actually do something besides be offended, for fuck's sake. If you care about gay kids dying, maybe your hurt feelings as a "good Christian" shouldn't be top priority. Sorry, good Christian, that you weren't singled out and given a prize. Go and change your religious community's outlook if you want a handshake and a cookie from me.

Second, you are totally correct that bigotry doesn't look like bigotry to the bigoted, but maybe we need to work on turning the less-bigoted or non-bigoted members of primarily bigoted communities into activists for true acceptance...which might be the case here with the letter-writer Dan responded to.

No activism? Well, no gold star, and no sympathy for hurt feelings.
171
To all those who think we should be nice to the christians/religious people so as to get them on our side:

The point is not to convince them that homosexuality is good, acceptable or whatever.

The point is to convince them that DISCRIMINATION, for any motive, is absolutely WRONG, no matter what they think about the motive. And the only way it's worked anywhere else is by showing them how it feels to be discriminated against so they get to see how unjust that is, and by saying WE'RE MAD AS HELL AND WE WON'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.

Thanks, Dan, for saying WE'RE MAD AS HELL AND WE WON'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.
172
@ 170 - I'm sorry, but the LW is indeed very anti-gay - just happens to be of the polite, hypocritical kind.
173
@ 170 - Sorry if this gets posted twice, but at the moment my previous post isn't appearing on the thread.

As far as I'm concerned, the LW is indeed very anti-gay, but just happens to be of the polite, hypocritical kind.
174
To 168,

I agree. But I'm also a strict libertarian who is in favor of the legalization of all drugs, prostitution and really any activity that involves consenting adults.

My point is that most people don't see it that way. A major talking point of the gay rights crowd is that innate desires make acting on those desires moral (or at least not immoral). As a libertarian, frankly I don't care about the moral implications, only whether or not something should be illegal. However, most people do care about the morality of the thing, including the gay community. I was simply trying to say that the aforementioned argument is insufficient in the effort to prove the morality of homosexuality. This is especially pronounced because the gay community is arguing for more than equal rights. I have spoken with many on the matter, and the consensus seems to be that even if there were full legal equality, that would not be enough, and (at least on the marriage question) there will be no rest even if something like universal civil unions are obtained.

So if you think morality is important, you need to come up with something better, or limit your argument to the legal ones only.
175
@ all the cool Christians out there, especially 24/Tschussle, right on. I'm not religious--I left the Catholic church after a nasty childhood situation in which I was expected to conform without questioning--but I respect and admire people who are true to the "love one another" part of Christ's message.
When I first read L.R.'s letter and Dan's response, I thought to myself, "I can see both sides' point". I still can, after reading all the vitriol from extremists on the anti-Christian side and comparing it with the peaceful messages from the Christians.
That said, I applaud Dan for his forceful response--he's right to call hypocrites on their bullshit. However, he should acknowledge that human decency does not depend on religious affiliations--there have been horrible acts committed in the name of God in ALL religions. Ignorance and cruelty feed bigotry, not religion.
176
@170: Cool, we finally disagree on something of substance.

I think LR is anti-gay. The first paragraph says
I heard an interview with you about your It Gets Better campaign. I was saddened and frustrated with your comments regarding people of faith and their perpetuation of bullying. As someone who loves the Lord and does not support gay marriage, I can honestly say I was heartbroken to hear about the young man who took his own life.
My opinion is that anyone who does not support gay marriage is anti-gay. Forget social acceptance; they still don't think gays are entitled to full legal rights.

So my hypothetical model is applicable here. :)
177
I was raised by a man who saw gay people as "sinful or damaged or disordered and unworthy of full civil equality", but I didn't grow up to be like him.

I agree that anyone who's against gay marriage is bigoted, and it doesn't matter if your religion *supports* your bigotry -- it's STILL bigotry. Sorry.

Also, it's actually REALLY difficult to suffocate someone with a pillow unless that person is in a coma.
178
@165, IHSN

MY personal attacks less effective than usual? But its my first one! Such a critic...

I'll try harder next time.

So now you are saying you DO NOT hold the following personal opinion:

"But I get off the train once it states that we all need to socially accept everyone."

Careful, now. You seem to be shifting your thesis a bit.
179
@178: I picked those words with care. Do you think we need to socially accept everyone? Or can you think of categories of people you are not required to welcome into your life?
180
Wie die Alten sprechen, so handeln die Jungen ...
181
GO, DAN, GO!!
Your column is the best!!!
182
First, thank you for the chat with the WAPO crowd earlier this week. You are a wonderful advocate and so very passionate about this issue. It is shameful to many of us how this issue continues to be a political cornerstone for people who are "haters." They bring nothing of value for this country. I can only hope that this too shall pass.

Your response above was probably the most powerful argument I have heard in a long time. I, personally, am sick to death of hating in the name of religion, whatever religion that may be. BRAVO, Dan, and thank you. We are your fans and we thank you for saying what we all feel but in a much better way than most of us can express.

Theresa
183
"If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preference, how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)?"

Still using the old "sexual preference" phrase, eh? Sexual orientation is no more a "preference" than is being right-handed. On the other hand, religionists choose to be religious. They weren't born that way...it was a choice, and continues to be a choice. They could change if they wanted.
184
Question all the rich, (or THINK they're rich) corrupt, in-your-face mortals who openly call themselves "God", because they obviously are NOT, while living insanely in the dark.

I wish someone would explain this to my sister, the "we're above the rules" doofus she married, and their pure-as-the-golden-snow son. After 34 years, I'm blue in the face.

185
Actually, there probably ARE gay teens and adults at this person's church. I was one of those teens and then adult--in church, in Christian school and Fundie College. In total repression, but I was there.

My biggest problem is the untruths/lies that are being told by religious people: gays are all pedophiles, gays are a danger to kids, gays will recruit kids/teens/adults into the gay 'lifestyle', gays die young, etc. etc. (Plus, is it logical that the ENTIRE male population of Sodom was gay? Come on, even San Francisco is only 12% gay. And Sodom existed 1,000s of years before the days of mass communication or mass transit, etc.). And they ignore the entire book of Leviticus, except that one verse about gays.
186
Who's talking about "absolution"? An actual Christian who supports gay rights completely can be vocal and activist AS a Christian, or can abdicate Christianity itself to the bigots. I question both the logic and the intention of people who suggest that the latter is the only noble response.

A friend of mine, a mom of a gay son, protests AT churches, left one domination for another, gets arrested in public acts of civil disobedience with her gay son, and advocates online. Are you really suggesting that it would be better for her - for gay rights or anything else - to make the empty gesture of denouncing "Christianity" per se? I do not.
187
Okay, I Hate Screen Names. It becomes clear that it is pointless to talk to you, because you will simply define things however you want in order to be "right," (whatever the fuck that even means at this point), and you pick and choose which points to respond to. Overall, your comments are far more worthy of ridicule than earnest debate.

BDNF, I eagerly await your second insult barrage against IHSN.
188
Thanks for the response to LR. You put all my thoughts that I've never been able to articulate well enough. I'd love to save this and send it to my mother.... except I stopped talking to that Catholic bitch many years ago. Her initials ain't LR, but otherwise, this sounds a lot like her.
We'll, maybe next time I'm going thru my spam folder and see some rightwing urban legend that she is forwarding because she is sceert to death of what Obama's gonna do, I can have a reply.
189
"If your message is that we should not judge people based on their sexual preference, how do you justify judging entire groups of people for any other reason (including their faith)?"

Still using the old "sexual preference", eh? Sexual orientation is no more of a "preference" than is being right-handed. However, religionists choose to be religious. No one is born religious...it's a choice. You could change if you wanted to.
190
IHSN, no one really agrees with you, and no one thinks you are right, and you are clearly not even consistent or coherent. So please stop trolling the board, and come up with a better way to get your jollies.
191
And, finally, IHSN, nothing you are saying is particularly interesting, original, important, or persuasive...So you gotta ask yourself, why do you persist?
192
@187: You made two points that were predicated on LR not being anti-gay. I disagreed and claimed that LR was anti-gay. If that doesn't respond to your points, I don't know what would.

But, whatevs.
193
@190-191: "Nobody likes you, go away"?

I am a-titter at the irony.
194
Absolutely Dan. Thank you. Christians like the one you replied to have such a sad sense of befuddled entitlement because they cannot connect their hateful words with the hateful deeds they engender. Honestly they do not know. They are too lazy to actually be spiritual - all they know is that they are afraid of what is in their own hearts. All they know are the things they don't know. God bless you Dan.
195
Would someone please give Dan Savage the Pulitzer Prize or something for his answer to the first letter? I feel like one of the universe's missions was just completed with that response said. Dan, I love you forever! XOXO
196
I can't find divinity in a book written by ancient pencilnecks who found a way to not be productive and still make a living. Divinity is in the soul of each of us - and love is an outgrowth, or a sign of that divinity. It is in the trees, and the rocks, and the stars, and they care not for how we love each other. If someone were to tell you that they wanted your money, or your vote, or your labour, or your force of arms, and in exchange they will tell you how to live, wouldn't you tell them to take a hike? Wouldn't you toss them, Detroit-style, out the door? Take every made thing - why is it sacred to you? It is an object, be it a book of fables and legends, or a chunk of wood, or a sparkly rock...how is it relevant? It is only made relevant by what you yourself have invested in it. It has no intrinsic value. You might as well hold the Brothers Grimm as prophets, or canonize J.R.R. Tolkien, or make offerings to an image of Carl Sagan. Any of these actions make as much sense as venerating the Christian bible and witnessing for Christ. So why do it? None of you proclaimers have one good reason to give your time or your money or your labour to organizations that, at best, imperfectly duplicate the work of state agencies and secular organizations. Abandon it. It does not serve you. Love is not in a barn with a very pointy roof, it is not in a great hall, it is not with the pointy hat brigades, nor is it with the televangelist politicians. It exists nowhere if it does not exist within your own hearts. It doesn't come from a book, or a building, or an organization. It comes from you and only you. Only you can add to its capacity, only you can take it away. No beardy-man in the sky can love you like another human can, nor can he snatch away your ability to love one another. You do yourselves such great harm. You waste all your love on the promise of a greater life after you abandon the rest of humanity - when you can have the best possible one right now by embracing them.
197
I can't find divinity in a book written by ancient pencilnecks who found a way to not be productive and still make a living. Divinity is in the soul of each of us - and love is an outgrowth, or a sign of that divinity. It is in the trees, and the rocks, and the stars, and they care not for how we love each other.
If someone were to tell you that they wanted your money, or your vote, or your labour, or your force of arms, and in exchange they will tell you how to live, wouldn't you tell them to take a hike? Wouldn't you toss them, Detroit-style, out the door?
Take every made thing - why is it sacred to you? It is an object, be it a book of fables and legends, or a chunk of wood, or a sparkly rock...how is it relevant? It is only made relevant by what you yourself have invested in it. It has no intrinsic value. You might as well hold the Brothers Grimm as prophets, or canonize J.R.R. Tolkien, or make offerings to an image of Carl Sagan. Any of these actions make as much sense as venerating the Christian bible and witnessing for Christ.
So, why do it? None of you proclaimers have one good reason to give your time or your money or your labour to organizations that, at best, imperfectly duplicate the work of state agencies and secular organizations. Abandon it. It does not serve you.
Love is not in a barn with a very pointy roof, it is not in a great hall, it is not with the pointy hat brigades, nor is it with the televangelist politicians. It exists nowhere if it does not exist within your own hearts. It doesn't come from a book, or a building, or an organization. It comes from you and only you. Only you can add to its capacity, only you can take it away.
No beardy-man in the sky can love you like another human can, nor can he snatch away your ability to love one another. You do yourselves such great harm. You waste all your love on the promise of a greater life after you abandon the rest of humanity - when you can have the best possible one right now by embracing them.
198
It is possible to breathe through a pillow that's being held down firmly enough to muffle but not firmly enough to asphyxiate.
199
OK...having read almost 200 comments ... we all agree that something has to be done about bullying and suicides of teens. Arguing about semantics is actually what the Radical religious want us to do. While we argue terms they spread more hate. We need to Grow UP and stop worrying about how we say things and GET OFF OUR ASSES AN DO SOMETHING!! Congratulations to Dan for having the guts to get some attention to this problem.
200
@179, IHSN

Your question was, "Do you think we need to socially accept everyone?"

A: A qualified yes. As long as the person in question does not go out of their way to ridicule or do harm to others in public or behind their backs... yes! One might be attracted to thin people, but should invite the heavier to lunch or parties or social functions. One might prefer darker skinned mates, but should also be able to enjoy happy hour with the pale. One might have a large amount of wealth, but not be ashamed to go with a less-advantaged friend to a blue-collar bar. One might be athletic, but sit down and play chess with someone who had unfortunate experiences in dodge-ball. You should be able to converse with construction workers as easily as you do a Ph.D.

The question is, IHSN, would you invite overweight Canadian Jane to your party?

To address another of your points:

"Everyone makes social choices, kids will always bully, and the way to stop bullycide is to teach kids how to behave like decent human beings, not to teach them to love everyone equally."

The two strategies that I see are:

1) Teach children, maybe not to love, but to RESPECT everyone equally, unless those in question are doing harm to others.

or

2) Have a mechanism in place to nail some little bastard to the wall if they EVER raise a hand to another child, or ridicule them in public because of some perceived difference. NAILED. TO. THE. DAMN. WALL.

Which do you think will be more effective in the long-run?

You take a kid who on one hand hears at home how gay are "unnatural" and gay marriage will crack the earth in two...and yeah, and then the parent may say, "child of mine, be nice to everyone." What message will be carried to school to later be turned in to vicious action?

Geez, you will tell them not to drink or trade pills at school... guess what they do at school?

Teaching respect for others starts very, very early.

Umm... um... I have no personal attacks... can't come up with any.
201
@199

Great Jeebus! You're right! WE ALWAYS DO THIS!

*Facepalm*

IHSN-- WE/You/I have work to do.

Kids are killing themselves.
202
OK after reading over 200 comments here ... we need to agree on one thing. We need to do something about bullying and teen suicides. The comments here have done exactly what the anti-gay movement wants us do do. As always, we end up arguing semantics till everyone looses interest. THE ISSUE IS BULLYING AND SUICIDE. We need to get off our asses and DO SOMEHING NOW! It doesnt matter what you look like or think..what matters are KIDS DYING!
Congratulations to DAN for getting involved!