Syndicated sex-advice columnist Dan Savage will be the guest speaker at the Human Rights Alliance’s March 28 Gayla (505-988-1234 for ticket info). In addition to publishing “Savage Love” in dozens of newspapers across the US (including this one), Savage also has authored several books, including The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family and The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant. Savage is the editorial director of The Stranger, an alt.weekly newspaper in Seattle.
SFR: I’m sure when you’re here you’ll hear plenty about the recent defeat of the domestic partnership bill by the state Senate, by a 17-25 vote. What strategy should activists take next?
DS: There’s the option of moving to a saner part of the country that isn’t in the grip of religious nut jobs and residual Mormonism sloshing over the borders. The other reasonable advice is to just keep at it. What people have to learn who don’t like us and wish we would go away is we’re not going away. The issue won’t be resolved until we have what we want, until we have full civil equality. There are places where the waves started crashing on the rocks sooner than other places…so it’s moving, even as there are setbacks in individual states.
Some believe the bill failed this year by larger margins than before because the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops came out against it.
They have a lot of moral authority…maybe if gays and lesbians actually raped children at the clip of Catholic priests, we could have a conference to strip Catholic priests of their civil rights. You’d think if anybody was going to slink from the public debate on sexuality…gall has brought them far.
You were married in Canada? Would you remarry in the US?
My boyfriend and I were asked that question when California had legal marriage there for 10 minutes, and my boyfriend’s response was totally typical; he looked at me and went, ‘We are married. Straight people don’t dash around the country getting married everywhere.’
Do you talk to your son about these issues?
It’s kind of unavoidable; he asks about it, of course…It’s the same thing as with interracial marriage. When courts overturned bans on interracial [marriage], the polling showed 70 to 80 percent against, and now the polling is completely reversed and people opposed to interracial marriages know to keep their mouths shut. It’s OK to be a bigot but you know your bigotry isn’t the prevailing opinion on the matter, and we’re moving in that direction and we’ll get there eventually and they will come around or their children will be embarrassed by them…
As a sex columnist, can you tell us: Has the recession impacted people’s sex lives?
People have more sex during a recession because it’s free as long as you have something regular. We’re going to see drinking is way up; going to the movies is way up; you can get a drink and nurse it for a few hours. If you have a regular sex buddy or fuck partner, there’s a way to kill an evening without spending anything. Dating and romance is going to take a hit; divorce is taking a hit because [people will say], ‘I’m just going to tough this shit out…you’ll do; I can’t afford to dump you and wine and dine someone new.’
You’ve written on politics and getting married and adopting a child. What’s the next book?
I’m currently doing a book proposal plan for a sex education book: the sex ed I think people should have and that I know they never will have…I want it passed around like Samisdat illegal literature in the Soviet Union. No, it’s going to be 18 things you need to know by the time you’re 18.
You do a Savage Love college tour. How much do you think of yourself as an educator versus an entertainer, or is it all the same?
The college tours are great, they really keep me in touch with what concerns young people have…I’m uncomfortable calling myself an educator because I’m mostly a jackass and a joker, but if you can make somebody laugh they’ll think about what you’re saying for a minute. Education happens in Savage Love like balance happens.