NPR Celebrates 'A Good Year to Be Queer' With Gay Sex Columnist Dan Savage

For New  Year's Eve, NPR's All Things Considered some pieces on the year in review. NPR analyzed the year on Twitter -- completely ignoring Anthony Weiner (and discussing the TV show "Glee" instead).

But first came what NPR most wanted to talk about -- "gay rights." Substitute anchor Rebecca Sheir reported " It was a banner year for a lot of things: from uprisings and Occupy to, as we'll hear later in the show, Mercury missions and mice. Yes, mice. But first, you can't talk about the year that was without mentioning gay rights." Her one and only expert on the subject was the vile gay sex columnist Dan "F--- Your Feelings" Savage, who hailed  Hillary Clinton and "evolving" Obama and the idea that "increasingly, straight people are demonstrating their support in ways that really touch my heart and terrify Tony Perkins."

Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, was not interviewed by NPR. They don't believe in balance on NPR. They are willing to grant Dan Savage his wish and stuff the religious "bigots" in a cone of silence.

First, Sheir underlined all the "progress" the gay left was making: "In September, we saw the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." So now, gay, lesbian and bisexual people can openly serve in the military. Just this month, two women sailors became the first to share the Navy tradition of a first kiss. And, of course, in June, New York became the sixth and largest state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow same-sex marriage." Sheir celebrating the marrying of "84-year-old Connie Kopelov and 76-year-old Phyllis Siegel." Then came the Savage interview:

REBECCA SHEIR: Among those applauding the recent strides and gay rights is columnist and activist Dan Savage. Last year, he and his husband, Terry Miller, started the It Gets Better Project, a series of YouTube videos to help prevent suicide among LGBT youth. This year, the pair co-edited a book inspired by the videos. And Dan Savage joins me now from the studios at KPLU in Seattle. Dan, thanks for being here.

DAN SAVAGE: Thank you for having me.

SHEIR: Dan, it seems like it's been a really big year for advances in gay rights. In fact, a recent article in The Guardian newspaper calls 2011 a good year to be gay.

SAVAGE: Why do they avoid the obvious rhyme: A good year to be queer? (Laughter)

SHEIR: Do you agree with that?

SAVAGE: Yeah. It was a huge and very consequential year from the end finally of "don't ask, don't tell," gay marriage being legalized in New York state, in the legislature, which, in an instant, more than doubled the numbers of Americans who are living in states, six now, and the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal.

Hillary Clinton's speech to the U.N. where she stood up for half an hour and lectured world leaders on the fact that gay rights are human rights. We were all blown away. LGBT people in America just were staggered when she began the speech and was talking about LGBT rights all over the world and didn't stop. And it was historic.

SHEIR: You mentioned the passage of the New York Marriage Equality Act - arguably, one of the biggest victories for gay rights this year. What do you think this means then for the rest of the country?

SAVAGE: What this means is, you know, increasingly, people are seeing LGBT people as not these sort of existential, scary, bogey-monster threats to the institution of marriage, but people who have a right to equal treatment under the law and are no more a threat to the institution of marriage than divorced people remarrying or Jews marrying Catholics or any of the other sea changes we've seen in the, quote, unquote, "definition of marriage" over the years.

SHEIR: "Don't ask, don't tell," of course, officially ended this fall after quite a fight, and many soldiers have come out publicly since then. How would you describe the adjustment process, so to speak?

SAVAGE: It's been a nonissue. The head of the Marines who is the most vocal and high-profile opponent of repealing DADT has admitted now that he was wrong. The DADT repeal mid-December got its iconic image, much like the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square. On V-E Day, a lesbian sailor won the right to be the first off her shift after 80 days at sea to kiss a loved one, and she kissed her girlfriend who's also a lesbian sailor. This image was all over the world. It's in the front page of newspapers all over the United States.

SHEIR: So do you feel like there's a big sea change then in terms of the American public?

SAVAGE: A couple of years ago, I was at a park in Seattle that has a beautiful view of the city and there's always a crowd of people milling around taking photographs, and a limo pulled up and a wedding party got out. And this bride and groom were holding each other and having their wedding portrait taken, and everyone began to applaud. And I was standing next to a gay couple, but I didn't know. They're clearly gay. I was clearly gay. And we caught each other's eye and one said to me, you know, we're always happy for them. Would it kill them to be happy for us?

And what we're seeing now is increasingly straight people are happy for us too. And there are always straight people out there who were happy for us, but they didn't because there was no sort of public ceremony attached to same-sex relationships. They didn't have a chance to express it. And increasingly, straight people are demonstrating their support in ways that really touch my heart and terrify Tony Perkins.

SHEIR: So then, Dan, looking ahead at the next year, 2012, what would you say are the biggest issues that the gay community is going to be facing?

SAVAGE: The re-election of Barack Obama, who isn't perfect on our issues. He devolved on the issue of marriage equality. Then in 1996, he was a supporter of marriage equality. And then by 2008, he was opposed. But I believe the president is going to evolve on marriage equality, and we may see an evolutionary leap after the 2012 election. So I'm supporting him. We're going to see more marriage equality battles, and we're going to see us starting to win some at the ballot box.
 

Over on his Twitter page (at @fakedansavage), Savage took to mocking Ron Paul-endorsing pastor Phil Keyser, who wrote a book insisting that gays could be punished by death as "restorative" to Christian culture.

--  If we're gonna start with biblical executions... adulterers first. 10 Commands and all. Where in Iowa is Newt today? They got rocks there?

-- Then we move on to biblical executions of all women not virgins on their wedding nights. That's 95% of all women. God will not be mocked!
 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis