Dan Savage: Straight blog post on Justin Bieber was not homophobic

A few readers have contacted me about a blog post at the Straight that they felt was homophobic.

I read the post after the headline was amended—"dick" had been removed by the time I saw the post. But even with dick in there I don't feel that the post, as-written, was or was intended to be homophobic.

Saying that something or someone "sucks dick" is pretty common, gender- and orientation-neutral slang way of saying that someone or something "isn't good". As anyone can suck dick, or have his or her dick sucked, the expression has never struck me as particularly homophobic. It strikes me as oral-sex-phobic. (Don't we all agree that oral sex is a good thing?)

The author of the post didn't accuse Justin of being gay, or seeming gay, and he didn't go off on a homophobic tirade. He used a common expression that everyone understands to mean "not good".

Perhaps the headline wasn't well-timed, as everyone is currently incensed about the damage that hate speech and anti-gay bullying are doing, but let's cut the author of the post—and this publication—some slack. Blogging is a rapid-fire process. Writing for a blog is like thinking out loud—as a consequence, a poorly chosen or poorly timed thought or expression that would've been caught by Ye Olde Editing Process finds its way into a blog post.

We have to take that into account as readers and as writers.




Oct 20, 2010 at 1:24pm

Woah there, slow down with the common sense, people are trying to be outraged here.

come guzzle at dicks

Oct 20, 2010 at 1:38pm

thanks dan.


Oct 20, 2010 at 2:53pm

Nope. Not homophobic.

But offensive. Sexual language toward a young boy. WRONG.


Oct 20, 2010 at 4:09pm

won't someone think of the childrens!!!!! please. It's not WRONG, it's funny.


Oct 20, 2010 at 9:24pm

I didn't find it homophobic, just crass, whiny and in bad taste. I'm a fan of Dan's advice, but I don't see where sexuality has anything to do with the quality (or lack) of music.

Dick Penis Boobs!

Oct 20, 2010 at 11:49pm

Keep shoving that nose up people! It may not have been the best choice of words but come on what isn't shoving sexuality in our faces these days (and I'm not even a fan). I'm sure teenage celebrities are quite used to the word dick oh my god. Fine something of more importance to freak out over so the post stops hogging the Most Popular section, I need something else to read.


Oct 21, 2010 at 12:30am

Yes Dan, it appears you do have dick problems ....

NV Dmo

Oct 21, 2010 at 9:49am

Wrong Dan. I have never heard anyone say a female performer "sucks dick" as a way of indicating that she is no good.
It is only directed at men. Yes, it means they are no good; but it also suggests that they perform oral sex on other men - and that there is something "no good' about that.
It implies that male on male oral sex is no good and therefore it is homophobic.


Oct 21, 2010 at 12:15pm

What is being offended really? It seems that people love to toss this one around when they read/see something they don't like and then apply the label as a victim of something or rather. Sure you don't like it but please your life hasn't been affected, nothing happened to you

Andrew Fleming

Oct 21, 2010 at 1:35pm

Anyone else remember when letters to Dan's column used to begin with the words "Hey Faggot"? That was so gay.