Alex Blaze

Somebody's trying to be inclusive, cue Dan Savage whine

Filed By Alex Blaze | July 27, 2007 4:28 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Dan Savage, inclusiveness, labels, names, Office of LGBT Affairs, University of Michigan

Don pointed me to this Slog post that found this item on the University of Michigan webpage.

The University's Office of LGBT Affairs is considering a name change for a number of reasons, including the fact that they'd like to include people outside of those four letters and that they'd like the name to reflect their commitment coalitional politics. So, no problem really, right?

Well, here's what Dan had to say about the "process queens" involved here:

Sorry, UM, but “queer” is so 1991. Today’s ‘mos prefer the term “invert,” or “third sex.”

Never mind the facts that UM never said it was thinking of changing the office's name to the "Office of Queer Affairs", that the whole effin' point of the name change to to refer to people who don't identify as "'mos", and that "invert" and "third sex" are are so much more rare than "queer", someone is challenging Dan Savage's top-down identity politic that makes him more important at the expense of others, so he's whining.


That’s not the way it works in the LGBTQIALMNOP community. Everyone has to be included, every voice has to be heard, input welcomed, feelings honored, etc., etc., etc.

Because gay men won't stand to benefit at all from voices being heard, input being welcomed, and feelings being honored. Once Dan gets his marriage license out of the government, toodles social justice!

And never mind the fact that the UM Office of LGBT Affairs isn't on the forefront of the movement towards queer equality, Dan still has to take a cheapshot:

So they’re going to change the name. Great! So call a meeting, toss some ideas around, and pick a new name. Easy! Ah, no.[...]

Sometimes our movement moves so slowly that it looks like it’s not moving at all—or moving backwards.

That "our movement" is probably the entire point - Dan wants to define who owns it and who doesn't, and these God damned queers keep on getting in the way.

Saturday Update: Since Dan updated his post to respond to me, I'll do the same. But I'll do it in one long semi-colon delineated sentence:

I never called anyone an "asshole", "homobigoted", or "homophobic" over this one; if his main issue was over the timeline (three years! he said), then maybe he should have noticed that two years of that are already completed, one half of the coming year listed on the timeline is after the name has been changed, and the whole process included stuff other than a name change, like a logo contest; this isn't at all a part of the gay-rights movement, whatever that is, it is, rather, university policy, and university policy changes always take a whole bunch of time because they aren't corporations; he can be in favor of inclusiveness in his update, that's whatever, but the whole mocking tone of the post really undermines that, especially since the mocking starts several paragraphs before the oh-so-terrible timeline is even mentioned and since he uses the sarc-expression "LGBTQIALMNOP" to make fun of the "process queens"; and some people agree with me, like this guy, who picked up on the same mocking tone that was directed at whatever undergrad intern works 10 hours a week at the UM Office of LGBT Affairs.


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Lynn David | July 28, 2007 1:48 AM

Common, everyday homophobigots like Dan Savage probably aren't worth the time to blog about, Alex. At least this didn't appear to be. Their sad attempts to make any sense are just pathetic.

Just weighing in on this one. I really don't consider Dan Savage a "homobigot." Michael Savage? Yes. Dan Savage? Not at all.

And I think you missed the point of his article, Alex. He wasn't advocating that the group not change their name. He wasn't even mocking their desire for inclusiveness.

Your part about "queer," for example, leaves out the blockquote directly above the part you mention that specifically quotes the university staff:

The letters LGBT, as representative of the identities lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, are no longer inclusive of the diversity of the community. Changing trends in identification tell us that the community of LGBT people go by any number of terms, including Queer.

So while they may not want to call it "The Office of Queer Affairs," put in context Dan's next sentence makes a little more sense - our names for ourselves keeps evolving.

It seemed to me that he was really mocking how long it was taking them to complete the process. Your other blockquotes from his text also switch some things around, I notice. Put together it clearly states the object of his derision (emphasis his):

So they’re going to change the name. Great! So call a meeting, toss some ideas around, and pick a new name. Easy! Ah, no. That’s not the way it works in the LGBTQIALMNOP community. Everyone has to be included, every voice has to be heard, input welcomed, feelings honored, etc., etc., etc. And a respectful, inclusive process takes time. How much time?

Three years.

He then goes on to show the timeline that the staff has prepared to do everything under the sun to postpone and delay the change. Which is amusing, because - really... Does it take three years to change the name of an office?

Mountain out of a molehill, here. Dan's gay, gay friendly and usually an interesting writer. And on this one, he's right. Three years is an extraordinarily long time to change the name of a university office.

He's answered you back on the original blog post, btw. He specifically mentions you by name. :)

Responded above, Bil. Never said he was homophobic, and the terrible timeline isn't even what he said it was: 2 years have already passed on it, one year was devoted to hearing complaints, as in, they didn't know there was a problem and they heard complaints for a year and decided to include that in the timeline, half a year is devoted to a logo contest, and the whole thing is pretty much done. It took two seconds to notice that, and mix that with the mocking tone directed at everything else, and it's pretty apparent that it had little to do with the timeline itself.

And you're accusing me of misquoting him? As Joe Perez points out (link above), Dan and Andrew obviously didn't read the UM site in the first place, or he would have noticed that the whole thing was about getting rid of the alphabet soup that they mocked.

Whatever, I'm so through with this one. This is so stupid.

The "homobigot" part was for the comment above mine, Alex. Not you. And I'm not saying you're misquoting him - he said everything you copied. I'm just saying that in context it read to me much more like he was just making fun of the timeline of three years to change the name of a campus facility. Since Jerame works at IUPUI, I know how long the universities can stretch something out. and completely believe that it would take three years to do something this simple. Whether that's because of our community trying to be inclusive or the university moving at a snail's pace is the crux of the issue, I think.

[Ed. note] This comment was removed for violating the ToS. Play nice, people.