Savage Q&A

Tim Magaw

Columnist stops by KSU to offer advice, insight to students

Columnist and author Dan Savage speaks to Kent State students in Carol A. Cartwright Hall yesterday. Savage, who is openly gay, spoke as part of PRIDE!Kent’s Coming Out Week. KATIE ROUPE | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

Despite a low turnout, syndicated columnist Dan Savage managed to turn the auditorium in Carol A. Cartwright Hall into an intimate question-and-answer session during his speech last night.

“We sent all the Republicans away,” Savage jokingly told the audience of about 30. “That’s why no one’s here.”

PRIDE!Kent President Amanda Boyd said the event for Coming Out Week went well even though attendance was low.

“I definitely enjoyed the more intimate format of this,” she said. “I think he was helpful and informative for the people who showed up.”

PRIDE!Kent Programming Chair Carrie Wicks also said she thought the event went well, pointing out that the dreary weather might have deterred people from attending.

Savage fielded questions from the small audience ranging from topics such as the war in Iraq, the scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley and the process of coming out.

“It really is a different world for coming out,” Savage said. “I came out in 1980 and walked into the buzzsaw of HIV.”

Savage said the LGBT community is now living in “dark times,” adding that the community is being attacked by the far right through sodomy laws and gay-marriage bans. But with the upcoming Nov. 7 election, he said things might be looking better for the left.

“This year it looks like we’re going to fight back,” Savage said.

He also touched on the Foley scandal, saying that Foley is not a pedophile because pedophilia is associated with offending prepubescent children.

“It’s disingenuous to throw Mark Foley out of the gay camp,” Savage said, adding that Foley is mainly guilty of being a hypocrite because of the right wing’s concentration on family values.

Laura Hannah, junior English and history major, said she enjoyed Savage’s comments on the current political scene.

“I really enjoyed him trying to fire up the voters,” she said.

Savage’s weekly sex advice column “Savage Love” is centered around readers’ questions. Savage said a lot of the questions he receives are from women who dump their boyfriends because of weird fetishes.

“Nobody’s normal,” he said. “Everybody’s kinky.”

Men hit their sexual peak around 18, Savage said, while women usually don’t hit theirs until their late 20s and early 30s. He mentioned one letter he received from a woman who broke up with her boyfriend because he admitted to having a foot fetish.

“If you break up with the honest foot fetishist,” Savage said, “you’ll marry the dishonest necrophiliac.”

PRIDE!Kent’s Halloween Ball, the final event of Coming Out Week, is tonight at 9 p.m. in the Rathskeller. Boyd said she thinks the Halloween Ball will have a higher turnout because it’s the organization’s big social event of the year.

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected].