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Return Your Speaker Fee To The University of Utah in Form of a Scholarship for Queer Students

This petition had 217 supporters


In November 2008 Savage called for a boycott of the state of Utah. This was in response to California voters pressing Prop. 8, the anti-gay marriage ballot measure. This was an extremely harmful move, because not only did it assume that the totality of Utah is composed of the certain members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who helped fund Prop. 8, and ignores the Queer people who are marginalized here, but also pits the state in a harmful "us" vs. "them" dichotomy on a national level. However, Dan Savage was quick to take back his harmful words about Utah after being offered a large sum of $25,000 as a speaking fee to be the keynote speaker for Pride Week at the University of Utah.

 

Below is a letter in response to Dan Savage:

 

We, the students of the Honor’s Queer Activism Think Tank, as part of the University of Utah community, are opposed to Dan Savage being chosen and invited as the keynote speaker for Pride Week at the University of Utah. We strongly oppose elevating Dan Savage as a voice of the greater Queer community, by his status as a “keynote” speaker. The theme for Pride Week is “Pride Has Many Voices,” however, with his voice, Dan Savage has caused those most vulnerable within the Queer community to remain voiceless. We are angered and hurt by his ostentatious speaker fee that could have been better used to aid the inequality and prejudice Queer individuals face within our own community. Due to Dan Savage’s transphobic, biphobic, and ableist opinions and remarks, we cannot simply accept him as a “key” representation of our community. Dan Savage is not representational of basic values of Queer solidarity such as inclusion and acceptance. The most discomforting reality for us is that Dan Savage is seen as a strong voice within a movement that is often misrepresented, commoditized, and mocked within our social consciousness which he participates in through the guise of “comedy.” We feel that the “It Gets Better” campaign does not enable direct action, or the larger idea of creating safer and more equal communities, rather falsely assures vulnerable Queer individuals, mostly targeting youth, that things will just “get better” without action.

We peacefully ask that Dan Savage return his speaker fee for the creation of a scholarship that aids in the education of the very groups he openly ostracizes, and through this, engage in direction action. This scholarship would not only be a better representation of our main objective with Pride, but also would offer a way for Dan Savage as a large media persona to atone for the hurt he has caused within the Queer movement for visibility, acceptance, and equality.

Peacefully,
The Honors Queer Activism Think Tank of the University of Utah

 



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