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Dan Savage Does Not Hate You*



Dan Savage does not hate you.* I know, because he told me so when I asked him. Last Saturday, Savage delivered the keynote address to “Pro-​Queer Life: Youth Suicide Crisis, Catholic Education, and the Souls of LGBTQ People” at New York City’s beautiful Union Theological Seminary, the oldest independent, multi-denominational seminary in the nation. The event was intended to “call upon the Catholic Church, as a significant provider of education and producer of culture, to seek the well-​being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.” I’m not sure if the Catholic Church answered, but it was an important event and Savage was extraordinary.

(For those interested, this was part two of a four-part series, called, “More Than A Monologue: Sexual Diversity And The Catholic Church.” The last two events look fascinating as well. You might want to consider going.)

Savage, who doesn’t look anywhere near his 47 years — his birthday was yesterday — as it turns out, in conversation is an amazing amalgam of witty on-the-spot soundbites, and long, ruminating explorations. He is more charming than you might have imagined if you’ve only read his advice columns on love and sex, or his angry rants, which he says he’s good at. (Trust me, he is.)

“I punch people who punch me. I punch back,” he says, with a slight grin.

Savage is animated, and does not appear nervous or stressed in the small bedroom used as a “green room” at the seminary, just minutes before he was to stand in front of hundreds of people to deliver a speech about the Catholic Church and its relationship with the gay community. Here is a man who was raised Roman Catholic by an ordained mother and father, sitting with three journalists, moments away from speaking in a church about his life as a married gay man who — like many — dances on the line between atheism and agnosticism, though he calls himself, “culturally Catholic.”


 “It is right-wing fundamentalist asshole monster Christians who are claiming to speak for all Christians, who are fighting the bad fight. Trying to prevent social progress for LGBT Americans.”


Perhaps all this appears remarkably easy to Savage because he puts it all out into the open; Savage doesn’t hold any punches. He doesn’t hide anything, and it’s almost impossible to not know where he stands.

“Santorum is a by-product,” Savage quips. And there’s more.

“It’s God Hates Fags with a big smile, but that doesn’t make it not God Hates Fags,” Savage professes about the Marin Foundation, which claims to be “the very first organization that works to build a bridge between the religious and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in a non-threatening, research and biblically oriented fashion.”

“Marin’s just the same old hate in a brand new bag,” Savage says, pausing, then adding, “all wrapped up in a new bright shiny lie.”

“We will contribute to a culture that beats you down, and then when you’re down and out we’ll condescend to scoop you up, and play the hero, but we won’t change the culture so you’re not winding up homeless,” Savage says of the leaders at Sojourners, a “progressive” Christian publication.

“40% of homeless teenagers are LGBT kids,” he continues. “Most of those kids are thrown out by parents who accept what the religious right tells parents what they should do when their kids come out to them. Reject them and be hostile. Make their love conditional upon their ‘recanting,’ or ‘changing,’ or becoming ‘ex-gay.’ They [Sojourners] should run an ad for a homeless shelter, they should shut the fucking thing down and run a homeless shelter and take some responsibility for the damage they’re creating.”

“The politicization of the church in America is appalling,” is Savage’s global answer to my question about the (greatly misguided and dangerous) move by the right to erase the wall of church and state separation by allowing clergy to support political candidates at the pulpit.

“We’re looking at an increasingly secular society. Increasingly, if you force people to choose between their gay and lesbian friends and relatives and co-workers, and their mega-church and their faith and their pope, they’re going to choose their gay and lesbian friends and neighbors — as well they should.

“As they [the Christian Right] put all their chips down on hate and wanting to roll us back to the 1930s and 40s, they’re going to lose the battle, and they’re going to lose a lot of their congregants.”

Savage, to his benefit, does not like to put up facades. And so, he’s going to call a spade an spade, even if you might not like that, even if it’s not politically-correct. And if need be (maybe) he’ll apologize later.

In preparing for our interview, I went on Twitter and asked my followers, “What do you want me to ask Dan Savage?” The majority of responses were, “Ask him why he hates bisexuals. We’re people too!” and “Why do you hate trans people?”

And so, I said, “Dan, my readers asked me to ask you why you hate bisexual and transgender people.” I thought it might hit a nerve, but instead it hit a wellspring of frustration, and revealed the Dan Savage that I found earlier this year when I called him out for both his comments on marriage, his comments on same-sex relationships, and the timing of those comments. In the end, Savage is interested in getting it right, not PC.

*So, if you’re bi or trans, and think Dan Savage hates you, he does not.

Here’s what Savage told me:

“In 2005, a study came out that showed there were no such things as bisexual arousal patterns in men. They’ve just come out with a new study that says, ‘Oh, we’ve just found bisexual arousal patterns in men,’ and the problem with the original study is they didn’t control for people who were saying they were bi as part of their coming out process, but were actually gay, an people who were lying, and claiming to be bi who were not. And when they went in and controlled for those two groups, and didn’t just accept people at face value who said they were bi — they didn’t take someone’s professed sexual identity as the last word — they were able to document bisexual arousal patterns.

“So, only by behaving as what I would describe as being biphobic for doing — I say some people as transient, some people are identifying as bi early in their coming out process — that gets me called biphobic. Some people are lying — that gets me called biphobic. I’m told by the bi activist crowd you have to accept someone’s professed sexual identity at face value, no questions — and to them I say Ted Haggard. But then, when these researchers turn around and do exactly what I’m accused of doing, being biphobic, for describing as phenomena, they documented bisexual arousal patterns in men. If these researchers had listened to me in 2005, we would have documented bisexual arousal patterns then.

“How do you disprove a charge like you’re transphobic? I’m not afraid of trans people.” Savage then goes into a mimicking voice, knowing not to say, “One of my friends is trans,” but does say that he has a friend who is trans who comes to his house for Christmas. “We hang out all the tie,” Savage says. “I certainly have had a journey in the last 20 years — as have we all — on trans issues. When I started writing Savage Love 20 years ago, and you can yank quotes 15, 18 years ago and flat them up today and say, ‘You know, that’s transphobic,’ I’d probably agree with you. 15 years ago I didn’t know as much as I know now — nor did anybody.”

Afterwards, I found this clip of Dan talking about this very issue, last month:

But perhaps Savage’s most-poignant moment was this one, which came a little out of nowhere.

“I love the idea that I’m bullying Rick Santorum, because all he wants to do is write anti-gay bigotry into the U.S. Constitution, prevent me from going to my partner’s bedside in a medical emergency, get in a time machine and prevent me from being able to adopt my son, reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t tell. Literally destroy my life. That’s all he wants to do,” Savage says, reeling. But then, he pauses.

“And I made a joke at his expense,” he sums up. “I’m the bad guy,” he says, almost sadly. “And he’s the victim. All he wants to do is beat this to death. How dare we — tease him.”

But taking into account the impetus of the event — to ask the Catholic Church “to seek the well-​being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people” — Savage says, “It is right-wing fundamentalist asshole monster Christians who are claiming to speak for all Christians, who are fighting the bad fight. Trying to prevent social progress for LGBT Americans.”

“And when I get into Tony Perkins, and I condemn Christians, and I buy into his binary rhetoric about, ‘Here’s the gays, here’s the Christians; we’re all enemies,’ what happens is I get a million emails from people, going, (he whispers,) ‘we’re not all like that.’ I call them NALTS — Not. All. Like That.”

“My response to them is, ‘I know you’re not all like that. Tony Perkins doesn’t. Yell at Tony Perkins.'”

Savage points to a study a few years ago that found that the largest growing segment of the U.S. population reported they were “unaffiliated – no faith.”

“When people plowed into those numbers, what they found was a lot of those people were actually Christians who no longer wanted to identify publicly as Christians because they didn’t want to be associated with hate.”

“And that’s a problem for liberal left Christians, that you’ve seceded Christianity in the public square to these motherfuckers,” Savage stresses. “And I can’t fix that.”

“Only left, liberal Christians can — and they can only do it by being as loud and as hyperbolic and as mean and as well-financed as Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council, the American Family Association.”

A few minutes later, we are in a massive cathedral-like stone auditorium and Dan is talking about his mother — a lot. Dan really loved his mother, and shared a glimpse of what it was like growing up Catholic.

Here’s the clip of the first few minutes of Dan’s keynote speech which I took (and take responsibility for the shakiness of — it was on my iPhone,) last week, in which he talks about his mom, and growing up, and the It Gets Better project.

No. Dan Savage does not hate you. But if you’re a right-wing fundamentalist asshole monster Christian who is claiming to speak for all Christians, look out.


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‘Supposed to Be Hard’: Political Experts Explain Their Thinking on Biden and the Election



Two weeks after the political class’s response to President Joe Biden’s poor debate performance threw the 2024 election into chaos, four political experts share their thinking about where the race actually stands and what Biden’s supporters should do.

“He can’t win right!? They point to the polling right?” wrote political strategist and pollster Cornell Belcher, a frequent NBC News/MSNBC political analyst, linking to a report about the latest polls which show President Biden ahead of Donald Trump. “Well this is the 2nd poll (credible poll) in 2 days showing the Pres race in statistical deadlock two weeks after debate! Using polls to push Biden out feels like red wave 2020 bs all over again.”

Belcher was commenting on the latest Marist College poll produced for NPR/PBS NewsHour. It found Biden beating Trump 50-48 in a one-to-one matchup. When factoring in the four third-party/independent candidates including RFK Jr., Trump came out ahead of Biden, 43-42.

FiveThirtyEight’s regularly updated polling aggregator currently shows Trump up over Biden by 1.9 points, a drop from Thursday where he was more than two points over Biden. FiveThirtyEight also currently shows; “Biden wins 50 times out of 100 in our simulations of the 2024 presidential election. Trump wins 49 times out of 100.”

READ MORE: Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?

Former Republican and former GOP communications director Tara Setmayer, a resident scholar at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, says the Democratic “freak out needs to stop.”


Pointing to that same Marist poll, she focuses on a different question.

“This poll also shows character matters more than age. That’s to Biden’s advantage.”

NPR’s headline on its article detailing the poll reads: “After Biden’s debate performance, the presidential race is unchanged.”

“Biden actually gained a point since last month’s survey, which was taken before the debate,” NPR reports, adding: “the survey also found that by a 2-to-1 margin, 68% to 32%, people said it’s more concerning to have a president who doesn’t tell the truth than one who might be too old to serve.”

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

To Setmayer’s point, NPR also says, “A majority said Biden has the character to be president (52%), while a majority also said Trump does not (56%).”

Mike Madrid, the Latino GOP political consultant and Lincoln Project co-founder, offered advice to Biden supporters on how to think about Democrats and pundits pushing for the President to drop out of the race, and how to deal with the day-to-day emotional toll.

“Getting lots of questions on how to lower the anxiety level people are feeling. Best thing you can do is unfollow the people attacking Biden gratuitously. Don’t engage them. Unfollow them. It’s not an honest discussion. It’s a frenzy that’s doing real damage.”

“You will not get an explanation from the political arsonists fueling this panic,” he added. “Stop looking for one. Unfollow them. Drop your subscription. Quit listening. That’s the best thing you can do in the pro-democracy fight right now. Their gaslighting is now a suppression tactic.”

To someone who said they are “scared,” and the situation is “confusing, maddening and sad,” Madrid advised: “Nothing has changed. Stop watching TV and get off Twitter. Take the weekend off. Please.”

The Lincoln Project’s Stuart Stevens, a political strategist for decades and author of “The Conspiracy To End America,” writes: “I worked in campaigns for 30 years. I am hardwired to respond one way when your guy is in trouble: fight harder. Don’t start looking for exit ramps or magic bullets. Play the next play. Do your job. Ignore the scoreboard. It’s supposed to be hard.”

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

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RFK Jr. Apology Over Sexual Assault Allegation ‘Disingenuous’ – Unsure if More to Come



Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the independent candidate running for president, has apologized to the woman who accused him of sexual assault, and separately told reporters he does not know if there are more potential accusers.

The 70-year old anti-vaxxer and conspiracy theorist who has said a worm ate a portion of his brain, has not denied allegations of sexual misconduct. A recent Vanity Fair profile reports that in 1998, Eliza Cooney, 23-years old at the time and working as a part-time baby sitter for RFK Jr. and his wife’s children, felt his “hand moving up and down her leg under the table” during “a meeting in the family kitchen.”

There are other allegations in the Vanity Fair profile that include Kennedy being shirtless in Cooney’s bedroom and asking her to rub lotion on his back, which she said was “totally inappropriate.”

And this: “A few months later, Cooney says, she was rifling through the kitchen pantry for lunch after a yoga class, still in her sports bra and leggings, when Kennedy came up behind her, blocked her inside the room, and began groping her, putting his hands on her hips and sliding them up along her rib cage and breasts. ‘My back was to the door of the pantry, and he came up behind me,’ she says, describing the alleged sexual assault. ‘I was frozen. Shocked.’ ”

RELATED: ‘What in the F’: RFK Jr. in Photo With Alleged ‘Barbecued’ Dog Carcass Disgusts Critics

The Washington Post Friday morning reported RFK Jr. “privately apologized to a woman who accused him of sexual assault, saying he does not remember the alleged incident and that any harm he caused was ‘inadvertent.’ ”

“’I have no memory of this incident but I apologize sincerely for anything I ever did that made you feel uncomfortable or anything I did or said that offended you or hurt your feelings,’ Kennedy wrote in a text message to Cooney sent at 12:33 a.m. on July 4, two days after her accusations became public. ‘I never intended you any harm. If I hurt you, it was inadvertent. I feel badly for doing so.’ ”

Cooney told The Post that Kennedy’s texted message was “disingenuous and arrogant.”

“I’m not sure how somebody has a true apology for something that they don’t admit to recalling. I did not get a sense of remorse.”

READ MORE: Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?

Also on Friday, hidden in the middle of a Boston Globe soft profile of the presidential candidate whose support has reportedly now hit ten percent – possibly enough to change the outcome of the election – is Kennedy’s apparent acknowledgment there could be more allegations of sexual misconduct.

“Asked if other women might come forward with similar allegations he said, ‘I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.’ ”

The Globe notes Kennedy “is currently on the ballot in nine states, and submitted enough signatures to eventually get on the ballot in 15 states. There are five other states where the campaign claims to have enough signatures but hasn’t turned in them in yet, in some cases because the window to do so hasn’t opened.”

FiveThirtyEight reports there is a 58% chance the election “is decided by a smaller margin than the vote share for third-party candidates,” meaning Kennedy, who has the largest portion of third party votes, may have the potential to change the election outcome.

In a parenthetical addition, Vanity Fair updated its report, writing: “After this story was published, Kennedy told the Breaking Points podcast, in response to Cooney’s allegations, that he is ‘not a church boy… I have so many skeletons in my closet.’ When pressed to respond directly to her claims, he told the anchor, ‘I’m not going to comment on it.’ ”

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders



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Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?



Following President Joe Biden’s 58-minute long unscripted, solo press conference without a teleprompter, fielding questions from reporters and responding with nuance and depth on a range of issues including foreign and domestic policy, some critics are calling on his opponent, ex-president Donald Trump, to do the same.

It’s been a long time since Trump has held an actual unscripted, lengthy, solo press conference, with questions from reporters, and well-over a year since he did one that wasn’t centered on his legal crises.

“When is last time Trump did an hour long press conference? Anyone know?” asked Bloomberg News’ Steven Dennis Thursday night after the President’s press conference.

“So now the media will demand that Trump hold an hour-long press conference on complex foreign policy issues — right?” snarked attorney and legal commentator Tristan Snell, who headed the successful New York State civil prosecution of Trump University.

READ MORE: ‘Dead Heat’: Biden Ahead or Tied With Trump in Two New Post-Debate Polls

“Trump is getting a free pass just like he did in 2016. No way he could do a press conference for 40 minutes after 3 long days with world leaders. He is incoherent most of time when he’s not spewing bile,” declared CNN Political Commentator Karen Finney Friday morning.

“It’s now time for the corporate media to dissect every word Trump says for the next two weeks, have debates on his mental state, amplify the small number of Republicans who want Trump to drop out and demand he hold a press conference where we can dissect him even more,” remarked attorney and SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah Friday morning.

“Per CSPAN last time Trump held a press conference that approached an hour in length at which he took questions from reporters, he was still president,” observed Aaron Fritschner, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) Friday morning.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

He adds, “Per the CSPAN archive, the last time Donald Trump took questions from reporters in a press conference was on February 8th. National and campaign reporters made an issue of the lack of press conferences with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. To date, they have not done so with Trump.”

On November 8, 2022, from Mar-a-Lago, after polls closed, Donald Trump delivered remarks discussing the midterm elections. He spoke for about four minutes to supporters and took no questions from reporters, whom he mocked. (Full C-SPAN video.)

Semafor’s David Weigel argues, “A lot of the ‘whatabout Trump’ stuff is cope, but he really is getting an easy ride with interviewers compared to 2016 or 2020.”

“Most of his interviews are softball-fests. When he did All-In the campaign had to clean up his green card/diploma answer.”

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

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