DTH: What prompted you to start the Savage Love Live circuit?
DS: Colleges started asking me to come and speak about sex, sexuality, health, birth control, safety and consent. A lot of young people arrive at college without having the tools they need — or the permission they need — to begin their adult sex lives. They’ve been denied not just a comprehensive sex education, but permission to speak up for themselves, to advocate for themselves. My column — and my talks — can help give them that permission.
And that permission isn’t about permissiveness, or “anything goes” sexually. You’re giving people permission to make their own choices, to make informed decisions, and some people — armed with all the info — decide that they’re not ready for sex. And that’s a totally legit choice and one I support.
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DTH: Is there one message posted as part of the It Gets Better Project that’s stood out?
DS: One of the early criticisms of the project was that it was just a bunch of rich gay white men bragging about their lives and their material success. It wasn’t true. The one that really struck me was made by a Latina lesbian poet who lives in the Bronx — she’s about as far from rich and white and gay as it gets — and she said in her video that it doesn’t get better. “What happens,” she said, “is that you get stronger.” You get stronger: that’s Latina-lesbian-Bronx for “it gets better.”