What Happened After My Boyfriend and I decided to Go
image to go to Dan Savage site."
Best known for his syndicated sexual advice column, "Savage
Love," Dan Savage shares his own story in The Kid, a hilarious account of his
efforts--along with his partner--to adopt a child. (Whoops, make that his
boyfriend; Savage can't stand the "genderless" P-word: "Straight people and
press organs that want to acknowledge gay relationships while at the same time
pushing the two-penises stuff as far out of their minds as possible love
'partner.' I hated it.") Savage doesn't give an inch on the sexuality issue;
it's hard to imagine that a homophobic reader would even pick up The Kid, but
if it happened, Savage's unapologetic presentation of his life would quickly
scare that reader off. Which isn't to say that he paints a rosy picture of
homosexual cohabitation: the very first scene finds Dan's boyfriend, Terry,
locking himself in the bathroom after a fight over the music on the car stereo.
The misadventures continue through each step of the open-adoption process, in
which Dan and Terry get to know their baby's birth mother, and the first few
weeks of parenthood. The Kid is a wonderful, charming account of real "family
values" that proves love knows no limits.
Reviewer: J.A.H. "Poetlinus" (Virginia)
It's about time...
In Dan Savage's "The Kid", he and his partner Terry explore the
incredibly complex, issue-laden world of adoption. With Dan's usual brutal
honesty, queer-influenced thought patterns, and unique insights, we are exposed
to the highs and lows of the choice of adoption, no matter what your sexuality.
At first, I found the book an egostical diatribe of usual gay-themed fodder
with which we are bombarded. Fortunately, Dan warms up to us as he warms up to
the idea of being a dad, and the marriage is a happy one indeed. I came to
appreciate, and even love, the little story of these two men trying to wrestle
a child into this world, no matter what value you place on their intentions.
They prove, once and time again, that the struggles of gay couples in today's
society are exactly the same as hetero couples... and that's how it should be.
Kudos to Dan and Terry for becoming parents; I wonder if DJ knows how blessed
he truly is.
Reviewer: Erin K. Darling "naive cynic" (olympia,
The trials of adoption, with humor & triumph
I often enjoy Dan Savage, though I am by no means a rabid fan. I
picked up _The Kid_ on a recommendation from a friend, and read through it
fairly quickly. The book is a true story recounting the trials of Dan and his
partner trying to adopt a child. As if the adoption process weren't rife with
terrors for straight folks, Dan candidly discusses the additional hurtles he
and his partner faced as gay men. As if that weren't difficult enough, the
birth mother is a tough street kid with issues of her own, including alcohol
and drug use, and even shows Dan and Terry where to buy drugs in her
Savage does a good job of portraying the couple's anxiety as the
birth looms closer and closer, with a good mixture of humor and frankness (and
sometimes both at once.) Overall, it's a satisfying and entertaining story
Reviewer: Jen (Minnesota)
This is such a cute, humorous and honest story; a very
entertaining and easy read.
Reviewer: Michael Murphree (Tallahassee, FL)
Made Me Weep.
This is an incredibly honest recounting of how the author and his
boyfriend adopted a child. It was fascinating to read about "open adoption", at
the time of the book only legal in three states, Washington, Oregon and New
Mexico. This system is where the birth mother is allowed to choose the adopting
couple and continues to visit the child after giving birth. Worried that no
young mother would choose a gay couple, they still go through with the grueling
application and review process and are rewarded by being the first couple in
their orientation group to be picked. The mother is truly a fascinatingly real
character and Savage does a wonderful job portraying her. The scene at the
hospital when they finally take the baby is heart wrenching and the author
beautifully explains how experiencing the mother's grief completely validates
the open adoption approach. This simple book encompasses so much about the
human condition it becomes a spiritual beacon of tolerance and compassion.
Reviewer: World Traveler "Oakland" (Oakland, CA)
Deeply personal account of the adoption process.
Dan Savage and his partner decide to make the step to adopt a
child together, and this book tracks the entire process in minute detail, and
the feelings and ethical dilemmas that present themselves at each and every
turn. (Should I tell my mother even though it's not certain yet? What should we
name the child? How much contact should we allow the birth father? etc -- there
are dozens explored in the book) At the same time, Savage doesn't lose his
sense of humor, a rather sarcastic one at that (something that unfortunately a
few readers/reviewers here missed).
Yes, he does step up onto the soapbox a few times, but his
preaching is always relevant to the stage of the process he's in. He usually
explains how the entire process of adopting a child is quite a bit different
for gay parents, in many ways that are not immediately obvious. And there are
some social/legal inequities that are only fair to point out.
In the end, though, it was a satisfying, honest account of this
life-changing event in their lives. It was a quick, enjoyable read.
It's true that an editor could have corrected some of the
misspellings, and cleaned up the text from repititions, though. It doesn't
really take away from the story, though.
Reviewer: Michael Lima (Fresno, California)
Honesty Is The Best Policy For This Book.
The entire premise behind open adoption is that honesty is the
best policy. Proponents of the practice maintain that being truthful with the
child about their adoption, as well as maintaining contact with the birth
parents, reduces the emotional difficulties that all parties face in this
situation. Given the importance that complete honesty is to open adoption, any
good book on the subject should be permeated with that quality. I was very
pleased to see Dan Savage meet that threshold with this book.
Savage so completely embraces open adoption's honesty ethos that
the reader is spared no emotional detail. He clearly depicts the adoption
process' fears, sorrows, anticipations, and joys. Upon completing this book,
the reader will have a clear understanding of the emotions that one goes
through while proceeding through an open adoption. However, while I cautiously
anticipated that the book would be honest, I didn't expect it to be as funny as
it is. The passage that had me laughing the most was the fake "letter" he
drafted to the birth parents. This missive is every homophobe's worst
nightmare. Yet, after playing the stereotypes to the hilt, Savage pulls back
and shows the actual letter he drafted to the birth parents. By moving
seamlessly from broad satire to poignant introspection, Savage emphasizes
adoption's bittersweet nature.
As has been noted, Savage's penchant for honesty also extends to
graphically disclosing the lifestyle that he and his boyfriend live. Portions
of the book, such as the criteria Savage used to decide if his son should be
circumcised, will undoubtedly shock some readers (who will likely quickly
become ex-readers). While some might see this disclosure as self-indulgent, it
is entirely appropriate when considered within the spirit of open adoption.
Still, I don't see The Kid being distributed as a required reading text at open
adoption seminars due to these passages. However, it is a book worth seeking
because the emotions and experiences that are depicted will resonate both with
people considering open adoption and a broader audience as well.
Daniel Keenan Savage (born October 7, 1964 near Chicago,
Illinois) is an openly gay American sex-advice columnist, author, media pundit,
journalist and newspaper editor whose strong opinions pointedly clash with both
traditional conservative moral values and those put forth by what Savage has
been known to call the "gay establishment." He is also a playwright and theater
director, both under his real name and under the name Keenan Hollahan, using
his middle name and his grandmother's maiden name.
His internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column
is Savage Love. Its tone is humorous, profane, and on occasion hostile to
conservative opponents, as in the Santorum controversy. His first break came
while in Madison, Wisconsin, as a manager at a local video store. A friend from
The Onion newspaper was starting up The Stranger; Savage suggested it should
have an advice column, not knowing that he would be offered the position.
Savage stated in a February, 2006, interview in The Onion AV Club that he began
the column with the express purpose of providing mocking advice to
heterosexuals. "Forever, I'd read letters that had been written to straight
advice columnists from gay people. Sometimes the advice was okay, but
oftentimes it was clueless about gay issues or gay people or gay sex or gay
rights. And I just thought it would be funny for once if there was an advice
column written by a gay person where straight people had to get slapped around
or treated with contempt." Savage wanted to call the column "Hey Faggot!" His
editors at the time refused his choice of column name, but for the first
several years of the column, he attached "Hey Faggot!" at the beginning of each
printed letter as a salutation. After the first year or so, he moderated the
tone of the column and tried to provide more helpful advice. Recently, he has
written in a number of columns about "straight rights" concerns, such as the
HPV vaccine and the morning-after pill, saying in his November 9, 2005, column
that "[t]he right-wingers and the fundies and the sex-phobes don't just have it
in for the queers. They're coming for your asses too."
In addition to authoring four books, Savage is currently the
editor of the Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger and a contributor to This
American Life, an hour-long radio show on Chicago's WBEZ syndicated by PRI.
From at least September 1994 until 1997, he had a weekly 2-hour call-in show
called Savage Love Live on Seattle's KCMU (now KEXP). From 1998 to 2000, he ran
the bi-weekly advice column Dear Dan on the news website abcnews.com.
His political bent is primarily leftist or liberal, with a
pronounced libertarian streak. In 2000, he wrote that while suffering from the
influenza virus while on an assignment for salon.com to cover the Iowa caucuses
, he was so angered by televised remarks in opposition to same-sex marriage
by conservative Republican presidential hopeful Gary Bauer that he abandoned
his original plan "to follow one of the loopy conservative Christian candidates
around -- Bauer or Alan Keyes -- and write something insightful and humanizing
about him, his campaign, and his supporters." Instead, he volunteered for the
Bauer campaign, intending to try to infect the candidate with his flu. He wrote
that he'd licked doorknobs and other objects in the campaign office, and handed
Bauer a saliva-coated pen, hoping to pass the disease on to Bauer and his
supporters (though he later said that much of the article had been fictitious).
He also registered and participated in the caucus, which was illegal, as Savage
was not an Iowa resident. He was charged with perjury and felony assault, pled
guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fraudulent voting in a caucus, and was
sentenced to a year's probation, 50 hours of community service, and a $750
He does not, however, shy away from defending unexpected
positions: he disapproves of the gay pride theme, has called for harsher civil
penalties against people who knowingly place others at risk of HIV, and
supports sending more American troops to Iraq in order to improve the situation
of civilians there (see U.S.-led occupation of Iraq). He himself describes his
view towards family as "conservative", and his boyfriend, Terry Miller, is a
"stay-at-home dad" for the couple's adopted son, Daryl Jude "DJ" Pierce (b.
1998), but at the same time is skeptical towards the concept of monogamy. He
has often clashed with other perceived leaders of Seattle's gay community. For
example, he has often expressed contempt for the editorial calibre of the
Seattle Gay News and under his editorship, The Stranger frequently publishes
criticisms of the messages put out by local AIDS organizations and of how they
handle their money. He is also friends with the controversial gay pundit and
self-labeled South Park Republican Andrew Sullivan, whose influential blog
(http://www.andrewsullivan.com) he took over for a week in August 2005 while
Sullivan was on vacation.
Savage's editorship of The Stranger has established him as a voice
in local Seattle politics, in which he has been an outspoken critic of the Teen
Dance Ordinance and other crackdowns on all-ages events. Savage argues that
closing down supervised all-ages dance venues drives teens to boredom and
reckless activities: "Places like Ground Zero and the Kirkland Teen Center are
invaluable from a law enforcement point of view. They keep kids out of, say,
7-Eleven parking lots or the homes of friends whose parents are away." After
growing up in Chicago, Savage studied theater and history. As a writer and
director for theater, in the mid-1990s Savage (working under the name "Keenan
Hollahan") was founder of Seattle's Greek Active Theater which mainly staged
queer re-contextualizations of classic works, such as a tragi-comic Macbeth
with both the titular character and Lady Macbeth played by performers of the
opposite gender. More recently, in March 2001 he directed his own "Egguus," a
parody of Peter Shaffer's 1973 play Equus, undercutting its stodginess by
substituting a fixation on chickens for a fixation on horses.
Savage surprised many of his readers by writing in his syndicated
sex advice column: "I'm Catholicin a cultural sense, not an
eat-the-wafer, say-the-rosary, burn-down-the-women's-health-center sense. I
attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary North, a Catholic high school in Chicago
for boys thinking of becoming priests. I got to meet the pope in 1979 when he
dropped by our school during his visit to Chicago" . Shortly after the death
of Pope John Paul II, he wrote in the same column that:
John Paul II had more "no's" for straight people than he did for
gays. But when he tried to meddle in the private lives of straights, the same
people who deferred to his delicate sensibilities where my rights were
concerned suddenly blew [him] off. Gay blowjobs are expendable, it seems;
straight ones are sacred.So I can't get behind this orgy of cheap and easy
piety... I'm sorry the old bastard's dead, I'm sorry he suffered. But I'm not
so sorry that I won't stoop to working John Paul II into a column about zombie
On December 3, 2002, after columnist Ann Landers' June 22 death,
Savage purchased her desk
Purchase the book at AMAZON.COM
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Lesbian, Straight Education Network Tarrant County
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