The impact Dan Savage has had on the sexual mainstream is undeniable. The snarky sex advice columnist has spent the last 30 years telling people to get out of their missionary comfort zones, in the process adding more sex terms to the dictionary than William Shakespeare's hornier brother Strok'n. Between his tireless advocating for non-traditional relationships and forming charities like the It Gets Better Project, a suicide prevention program for queer kids, Savage was heralded throughout the early 2000s as one of the most important voices on sexual progressivism, LGBTQ+ issues, and the benefits of boning before dinner.
But for all those Millenials who cherish Savage for giving them the open-minded sex talk their parents hadn't attended enough bondage key parties for to handle, they might be surprised that today's vanguards of the LGBTQ movement are more inclined to DTMA. Some even rank Savage among celebrity bigots like Tucker Carlson, Pierce Morgan, Ben Shapiro, and other faces of conservative media you picture to delay orgasm.
Most recently, Savage's so-called bigotry took the form of him defending journalist and self-anointed trans issues expert Jesse Singal. In the trans community, Singal is regarded as at best as the kind of patronizing cis-dude who goes around maternity wards explaining to new mothers that childbirth isn't that painful, actually; at worst as a dangerous transphobe who goes to bat for trans conversion therapists and misinterprets data to scare New Yorker subscribers about his perceived dangers of youth transitioning. Doubling down on his bad take, Savage also signal boosted a pro-Singal article on Quillette, the preferred publication of the far-right for the latest on racial pseudoscience and hate speech. That's the kind of link you'd expect to find at the bottom of YouTube video about destroying leftists with logic, not a Tweet of one of the grand elders of the progressive bang-o-sphere.
And since Savage has spent three decades aggressively getting up in people's business like the Gordon Ramsay of eating ass, these incidents allow Savage's detractors to pull out receipts long enough to wrap the 54-year-old newspaper writer head to toe like the mummy he is. They'll eagerly remind every fresh face on the internet of, among many other Savage controversies, his decades-long use of queerphobic slurs like "f****t" and "t****y." Or his previous insistence that most bi people should just pick a lane and stop pretending. Or when, in petty revenge for being asked to stop using "r*****ed” as an insult, Savage starting calling everyone "leotarded" like the smuggest of 14-year-olds.
One could argue if these misstep medleys of Dan Savage are an unfair representation (he has shown remorse for some of his edgelording -- some) or if it should undo a generation's worth of him pushing the self-licking sex envelope. But it hardly matters. As much as his diehard fans would want Savage to continue being seen as the champion of self-acceptance, it's becoming clear that his brand of in-your-face irreverence (he started his sex advice column as a way to mock straight people, how Gen-X can you get) is a relic of another time. Whether seen as an old hero or a new villain, the Savage of yore is about as welcome in today's LGBTQ+ climate as a surprise santorum.
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Top Image: soundfromwayout, Wiki Commons