Dan Savage at the Statler

April 12, 2011

Last night I got to see one of the most entertaining lectures that I have ever attended at Cornell— sex columnist Dan Savage, of the Savage Love columns and podcasts, spoke at the Statler Hotel. While he is perhaps best known for his brutally honest sex and relationship advice (hence the name, see), yesterday he split his time between taking the audience’s sex questions and speaking about his It Gets Better campaign.

A proud gay man himself, Savage’s It Gets Better campaign is directed towards children identifying as LGBTQ who are the victims of bullying, both at home and at school. When children come out to unsupportive families and communities their risk of suicide increases eightfold, because many of these children feel as though they have no other options since they will always be outcasts. Through a series of videos started by Savage and his HICBIA (husband in Canada, boyfriend in America), and now thousands more made by members of the LGBTQ community from around the world, those who were once child misfits get the chance to speak to those who hold that position now— and to assure them that it will get better. Cornell’s Gay-Straight Alliance made an It Gets Better video of their own:

Cornell GSA It Gets Better

Savage spoke a bit of his own struggles with bullies, and the bullying of gay children that is often done by entire communities (particularly those that identify with the religious right). His work reaching out to those who have to swallow their own young voices is extremely inspiring and a much-needed support system for those who have none.

And then, after the serious part had ended, he took questions from the audience. Full disclosure of the contents of the second half of the lecture would not be appropriate for this venue, but I will just say that Mr. Savage is a HILARIOUS man who really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to sex and relationships, whether you identify as heter0-, homo-, or a- sexual.  He has also come up with unique definitions for the names of some conservative politicians, like Santorum and Huckabee…

I will say no more.

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    I look forward to reading Dan Savage’s weekly column in my local free paper. Your school is very progressive to have him speak. I admire what he is doing to help young people realize that it does get better.

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