When MTV premiers a one-hour special tonight calledIt Gets Better, host Dan Savage will yet again become the face of the LGBT adult world as it delivers a message to young people. This time, he’s sending them three, documentary-style coming out stories instead of the thousands of YouTube videos from adults promising a better future.
Viewers on MTV and Logo tonight at 11 p.m. ET will meet Greg, Vanessa and Aydian — a closeted student body president, a lesbian fighting for her family’s acceptance, plus a trans man trying to get married.
And while Savage has often called himself an imperfect messenger for the movement, it was during the taping of the special and his upcoming MTV sex advice show, called Savage U, that some tried again to question whether the outspoken, nationally syndicated sex columnist really represents them. It was during a taping of Savage U in Vancouver that he was glitter-bombed by trans activists for what they say is a history of transphobia.
In a wide-ranging interview with the controversial civil rights activist, the lead Google bomber admits he finds Rick Santorum’s chances of beating Mitt Romney “terrifying.” He wonders aloud whether their antigay views are contributing to the suicide epidemic. And Savage responds to his trans critics, accusing them of opposing marriage equality.
But amid all of that, as is always the case with Savage, he has a deadly serious mission for helping youth survive.
The Advocate: When it happened, you sent us your reaction to Rick Santorum winning in Iowa, saying that you thought it was going to be good for the LGBT movement as people realized he’s outside the mainstream. Are you surprised that he’s been surging instead. He’s the front runner in a lot of polls.
Dan Savage: You could knock me over with a drop of Santorum. I am completely blown away by this. I do think that the clock ran out. Everybody else had their surge and he had a surge at just the right time for Iowa. But now it’s something different. Some people are saying that because the economy is improving, Mitt’s rationale for running is kind of deflated and his selling point is deflated and the GOP base is now looking to run against birth control? And Santorum is benefiting from a shift to social issues. Whatever it is, it’s terrifying.
So you are less enthusiastic about his benefit to LGBT people now than you were after Iowa?
Yes, I am actually. Because after Iowa I thought he was going to tank. I thought he was going to have his little Iowa moment like Mike Huckabee and then go nowhere and just prove again that the Iowa base is too conservative. But this is now crazy. We are reaching a point that is actually little scary. MORE