Dan Savage grew up in "a loud, argumentative, and very Catholic" family, and came out as gay as fruit cocktail.
In 1991 he was the night manager at an independent video store in Madison, Wisconsin, when a co-worker told him he was planning to move to Seattle and start a new alternative newspaper. Savage, a self-described "pushy busybody," replied, "You have to have an advice column. Everybody hates them, but everybody reads them." And suddenly Savage, who'd never considered himself a writer before, was a snarky "Dear Abby" for the sexually active.
Savage's column, "Savage Love," first appeared in 1991, in the first issue of The Stranger. Readers of any sexual persuasion were invited to seek Savage's pithy advice with the salutation "Hey faggot," an attempt by Savage to make the word more socially acceptable. In 1999, Savage announced he'd grown weary of "Hey faggot," possibly because a lot of readers thought "Hey faggot" not "Savage Love" was the name of the column.
The once-a-week column is funny, informative, outrageous, non-judgmental (about consenting sex acts), and very judgmental (about moronic letter-writers). "Savage Love" is now syndicated to better alternative weeklies across America.
Savage is the author of The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family, Skipping Towards Gomorrah: The Seven Deadly Sins And The Pursuit Of Happiness In America, Savage Love: Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist, and The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant. The latter book tells how Savage and his boyfriend adopted their son from his willing mother, a "spare-changing gutter punk." It is also the inspiration for the upcoming musical from the producers of Avenue Q, which will have its debut in the 2009-2010 season for the New York-based New Group theater company.
"If the religious right really wanted to stop gay sex ... they should get behind gay people adopting, because nothing puts a stop to gay sex faster."
In addition to writing his column, Savage is now the editor of The Stranger. He's also active in theater, directing queer plays as Keenan Hollahan. Keenan is Savage's middle name, and Hollahan is his grandmother's maiden name.
"Dying is easy," says Savage. "Coming out is hard."