In the late '90s I was 15 and the only out gay kid in my high-school in Silverdale, WA. I was lucky enough to be apart of a program run by the Kitsap County Health Department to create the first GLBTQ Youth Program in the area. In attendance was usually me, my boyfriend, and a rotating assortment of random lesbian girls. We decided to host a town hall meeting discussing harassment of GLBTQ youth in local schools. To help promote the event I called into your radio show that you had at the time on Sunday nights. The event was to be held at the Silverdale Community Center, on Silvedale Way, in Silverdale, WA. I remember you thinking that was funny. When I called in, you and the others on your show were talking about gay bathhouses and your dislike of them. Without realizing how old I was, you brought me on the air and asked me if i had been to a bathhouse. I told you no, I had never been to one, and you made me promise on the air that I would never go to a bathhouse.
To this day have never been to one.
It's a great story to tell at parties—that at 15 I promised Dan Savage that I would never step foot in a bath house—and everyone gets a kick out of it. I don't know if you remember me or not, Dan, but I just wanted to thank you for being a positive role model and for giving me and others permission to express our true selves. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Older Wiser Grateful
Thank you, OWG, and... gosh.
I don't usually run letters about how awesome I am—and modesty prompted me to cut an additional paragraph that detailed just how awesomely awesome I am—but I'm making an exception for OWG's letter on account of the bathhouse detail. My detractors accuse me of promoting the worst excesses of gay sex culture. That is has never been the case. So, like, suck on that, detractors.
As for you, OWG, thank you for writing, thank you for staying the hell out of bathhouses, and thank you for coming out in high school back in the '90s and working so hard to make things better for the LGBT kids in your school at the time and the ones who came up after you. You were and remain a role model and an inspiration.