Dan Savage did not come to Gainesville to promote what he called his “big, sweaty, gay agenda,” as some conservatives have thought he was guilty of in the past.
Savage shared advice on sex and relationships to a crowd of about 400 people Thursday night in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.
Savage is the internationally acclaimed writer of “Savage Love,” a relationship and sex advice column that is syndicated in more than 70 newspapers worldwide.
It is his humorous, blunt and downright dirty style of writing that has made his column popular, and he answered numerous questions from the audience in a similar way.
“He preaches to be yourself,” said Alyssa Craig, a UF psychology senior and director of speakers and performers for Pride Awareness Month.
“You have to love yourself first and then love will form around you,” Craig said.
That theme factored heavily into the questions posed to Savage by the audience.
One of his most in-depth responses was to a question asking how someone deals with their conservative parents.
“Firmly,” Savage said. “You have to be the grown-up during this process because they will be children. The only leverage you have is your presence in their lives.”
Katie Schubert, a graduate student, teaches a human sexuality course at UF and heard about the speech from her students.
“I like how he says how it is,” she said. “And his advice is very practical.”
Following the speech, Savage hung back to take pictures and sign autographs.
In the end, there were some questions even Savage wouldn’t answer. “Is polyamory a good idea in college?” a student asked.
Savage chuckled. “Pass.”
Savage’s speech was one of the headlining events of Pride Awareness Month, a series of events celebrating the LGBTQ community that runs from April 1 to April 21. Pride Awareness Month is spearheaded by Pride Student Union, and Savage’s speech was co-sponsored by Accent. Savage was paid $10,500, according to Student Government finance records. The theme for Pride Awareness Month is “Love Lawlessly,” which organizers felt fit with Savage’s themes and writings.