Dan Savage, the controversial gay author known for his abrasive, biting commentary against his critics, is now in some hot water with the University of Chicago’s LGBT community for using what protesting students call the “t-slur.”
Savage took part in a seminar at the university’s Institute of Politics last month, in which he urged using the term “tranny” to reclaim the word and eliminate the stigma. His use of the word prompted a transgender student to speak out against its use, which Savage responded to by listing more words that could be considered offensive and asking if he was permitted to use those. Guardian columnist Ana Marie Cox, who moderated the discussion, sided with Savage as the student spoke out.
The student eventually walked out “in a state of distress,” according to a petition calling on the university to condemn and ban such language from future events.
“Obviously [he attempted] to threaten me and make me feel uncomfortable in that space, which was pretty successful,” the student, who was identified by solely “Hex” and whose preferred identifying pronoun is “it,” told the campus newspaper, The Chicago Maroon.
The petition asks the university to “denounce and prohibit the use of transphobic slurs at UChicago’s Institute of Politics events,” and calls Savage’s language an example of “hate speech.” The petition also refuses to actually state the word, opting to use “t-slur” instead; the Maroon also censored itself in its reporting by using “t—–.”
While the university has said it does not necessarily condone Savage’s stance or use of the word, it is not apologizing, nor is it willing to condemn or punish Savage, or Cox, for using the word “tranny.” In a statement, the Institute of Politics, of which former White House senior adviser David Axelrod is the director, notes that Savage never used the word in direct reference to anyone, but instead as part of a “spirited debate” about the word.
The petition currently has 1,500 signatures.
Via Campus Reform.