In the years that Westword has published Savage Love, author Dan Savage's savagely funny, very smart weekly sex column, I've been fascinated by the seemingly buttoned-up Denverites who always turn to his page first to see what he might be saying about butt plugs, for example, or who ask me what Dan's "really like?" Now they can find out in Time magazine.
No, Savage hasn't been named Man of the Year, but he's the focus of the current Q&A, 10 Questions for Dan Savage, prompted by Savage's "It Gets Better" campaign to help troubled teens coming out.
Savage tells Time that last summer, "I was reading about teen suicides, speaking at colleges and thinking that what I should be doing is going to high schools. But I would never get permission, as a gay adult, to speak to gay kids. Then it occurred to me that in the YouTube era, I was waiting for permission I no longer needed."
So he started loading interviews -- from gays, from straights -- assuring teens that their lives will get better. "I think that kids are coming out younger," Savage says. "So [some] suicides that used to be chalked up to 'Who knows why they were sad?' we are now able to attribute to conflict about sexual orientation. And with the culture wars in the past twenty years, I don't think we realized how bad it was getting in [certain] places..."
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For anyone who follows Savage's column -- which is published in dozens of weekly papers around the country, including The Stranger, the Seattle paper where Savage has served as editor -- his sensitive answers to Time won't be a surprise. As for everyone else?
"I have a thick skin, but I have a heart," Savage tells Time. "Every once in a while, as rough and tumble and cynical as the column can be, I'll really reach out to someone. This is only out of character for people who perceive me as the potty mouth who writes a dirty sex column."
Hey, maybe Savage should be Man of the Year.
More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Parking ticket at 4 a.m. for a tire on the curb? Denver enforcement never sleeps..."