Donna Rose

Savage thoughts on transgender detective

Filed By Donna Rose | January 09, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Michael Savage, SFPD, transgender, transsexual

Michael Savage is an ass. I looked for another word to put there but that is, in fact, the kindest one I can find. He's one of those people who's so consistently hateful, abrasive, ignorant, and just plain foul that it really makes you scratch your head in wonderment. Being generally without redeeming characteristics isn't a crime (if it was, he'd be in prison) but the thing that is criminal is that this buffoon preaches to an army of similar thinking conservanauts.

One of Mr. Savage's favorite targets is LGBT people. His most recent tirade has been triggered by the fact that a detective on the San Francisco Police Department is apparently transitioning on the job and, as happens in workplaces across the country, co-workers are being provided training on the unique challenges involved. I have no idea why Mr. Savage would or should have an opinion that matters to anyone on the issue but apparently he does and he wants to make sure everyone knows what it is.

Earlier this week Mr. Savage used a segment of his radio show to share his thoughts. An overview of his comments are provided on the MediaMatters website:

Radio host Michael Savage continued his attacks on transgender people during the January 7 broadcast of The Savage Nation, declaring that a sensitivity training program for San Francisco police detectives on transgender issues is "sort of like toilet training for adults" and describing the program as a "class ... to teach normal men how to have sensitivity to a psychopathic sex-change operative who should be in a mental hospital." Savage also published a "memorandum" about the sensitivity training program -- which he claimed was "sent to me anonymously by ... someone in the [San Francisco] police department" -- on his website under the headline: "Exclusive: SFPD forcing detectives to undergo brainwashing by transgendered dick."

Previous attacks by Mr. Savage on transgender people are well documented. It should come as no surprise to anyone that gays and lesbians are not held in high esteem by Mr. Savage, either.

This leaves me with some questions.

First, where is the outrage? How can a man who's show is carried by 300+ radio stations across this country and who's audience is estimated at over 4 million people consistently get away with this kind of blatant hate-mongering? Others have been held accountable for far less. For example, Don Imus was eviscerated for making far, far less inflammatory remarks about a member of the Rutgers University women's basketball team in 2007.

Early last year Mr. Savage caused quite the uproar by attacking autistic kids as "brats" who are simply fakers needing tougher parenting. Did he get spanked? No. He got media attention. He got headlines. And, I'm sure, he got advertisers.

Second, where is the accountability? Each of us is held accountable for the things we do and say. Apparently, some are given extra privilege in that regard.

I, of course, know the answer to my own question about why Savage gets away with his outrageous remarks. One reason is because it sells. Just as importantly, though, is because we don't have the power to hold him accountable. I've been watching the GLAAD website this morning to see if they have anything to say about it. Nothing yet. HRC issued a statement when the pope opened his big mouth before Christmas but hasn't said anything about this yet either. We'll see.

Is this buffoon spouting his ignorant sludge any different than the Pope saying that men not being manly enough or women not being womanly enough is a threat to all of mankind? No. It's made from the same cloth. It all emboldens people to dehumanize, mistreat, and victimize others. The consequences of these kinds of things manifest themselves as harassment, discrimination and violence in workplaces, schools, and all across society each and every day.

I take small solace knowing that Mr. Savage will have lots to talk about over the next 4 years. In a twisted kind of way the fact that he's even singling us out for attack is a sign of progress. I can't wait to hear what he has to say when a fully-inclusive ENDA passes, when "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is repealed, when hateful violence against us is prosecuted for what it is, and when our marriages are finally recognized as fully legitimate and equal. I expect we'll be providing quit a bit for Mr. Savage to spew about in the coming weeks and months. And for that, I couldn't be happier.

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Savage is only syaing out loud what is on the mind of millions of others. that is why he can get away with it. I mean all the rest have to do is substitute their favorite target for bigotry, and his is a message that is in the thoughts of millions.

Blacks, mexicans, peurto ricans, jews, chinese, you name it. Since the bigots can't get away with ragging on them, queers have become an easy target. Where in the past few decades society has decided that it is not all right to call a black a spade, a jew a hebe, a mexican a spic, they have to have some group they can denigrate and heap their bile and abuse on.

Guess what, we are elected, congratulations on finally figuring out that we are societies new scapegoat.

Maybe he needs to be stuffed in a GLADD bag and put on display for all future generations to see.

"And here, children, is an example of the 'Bafoonus Supreamus," in it's natural surroundings, a garbage bag. His kind became extinct during the Transgender Uprisings of 2117 when millions of transgender people broke into media outlets across the nation and injected these creatures with an overdose of hormones.

It is rumored, however, that there are still some of his species living in the wilds of the Valles Marineris on Mars, but as of yet, there is no proof of that. Their small brains adapted easily to the rarified air on the Red Planet."

I actually do not think they really have to worry about oxygen starvation, their brains are so well insulated from reality by all that $hit they believe that they have morphed into methane breathers.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | January 10, 2009 12:45 AM

Roaring at this thread! Especially after far too much close time with the Pentacostal in-laws of late.

Good God, Monica!
I spit my coffee when I read that, as the visual of a tearful Michael Savage looking down at cleavage came to mind....

You need to put warnings on posts like that, girl.

I'm in the process of revising my Sci-Fi novels and so I'm in that zone.

Donna, as you note above, you answered your own question: Savage stays on the air because because he draws listeners and therefore sponsorship money. He's currently the #3 most listened to radio talk show host in the country. Only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are more popular.

The good news is that as time goes on, I fully expect these guys will draw less and less listeners as liberals like Rachel Maddow draw more and more. We're already seeing this happening on cable TV news with Maddow and Keith Olbermann closely competing with and often winning their timeslots against Bill O'Reilly and Larry King.

As far as GLAAD and HRC go, it's just par for the course with these people. Both of these organizations have "gay and lesbian only" tunnelvision when it comes to the media and it's no surprise at all they're ignoring this anti-trans bigotry, just as they ignored it last time, and the time before that, and the time before that...

As I've written before, the way to go after people like Savage is to go after that which keeps them on the air: Their sponsors. It worked with Dr. Laura's TV show, but once that battle was won the activists all went home and didn't finish the job. Dr. Laura still has her radio show and she's still one of the top talk radio voices in the country.

Similarly, Savage didn't last 3 days on MSNBC before being fired for anti-gay bigotry, but he's still spewing his hate all over mainstream radio.

The problem with orgs like GLAAD and HRC is that they value their contacts within the mainstream media more than they value their own credibility within our community. They remain silent on bigots like Savage as to not upset the major media players upon whom they depend for funding and publicity, only daring to risk speaking out when it's gays and lesbians being maligned. As far as I'm concerned, they're self-serving cowards who deserve neither our money nor our participation in their activities.

As a community, we should withdraw all funding from both of these organizations and let the wealthy white Appletini crowd pay their bills. In the end, it's who they really serve anyway.

Hope you get lots of votes for your blog - and please can your readers also vote for this British blog that's also up for the awards:

It essentially brings together the creative community in Birmingham (UK) and gives a space for reviews, shout outs, adverts but rather than being made by paid officials at a newspaper it's all run by local artists.

It's fun, funky and focuses on stuff that mainstream media misses.

In other words, it's really rather ace.

Another good reason to vote for this blog is that its main competition comes from Melanie Phillips. She is a columnist for the Daily Mail, a right-wing British tabloid newspaper with a long-standing history of antipathy towards gays. She herself is, like Michael Savage, virulently anti-gay and would doubtless be a huge supporter of Prop 8. Created in Birmingham has sneaked ahead of her, but only just, so every vote really does count!

Vote today!


Chris, thanks for telling us about the blog and about the horror that is Melanie Phillips. I just voted and see that her blog is in the lead by 180 votes.

Please everyone, consider voting Created in Birmingham for Best UK blog.

I agree about you with HRC, but I have to respectfully disagree about GLAAD. I just received a media alert about this Savage id10t's disgusting anti-LGBT ramblings and asking to contact the radio station and inform them this behavior is unaccaptable.
From what I have seen over the past year about and from GLAAD, I would not perceive them as "self-serving cowards." I feel they support the L, G, B, and T.

While it's great to hear that you got an action alert from GLAAD on this, I just went to GLAAD's website and could find no mention of it whatsoever.

What I found, out of all the many features available there, was exactly two transgender relevant pieces, one a single paragraph about Laneesha Elzy (linking to Bil's recent piece on the topic), the other a press release about a recent survey on public opinion on major LGBT issues. The two statistics relevant to transpeople were buried in the middle of the PR while the parts relevant to same-sex marriage were prominently displayed near the top and headlined the piece.

As far as radio goes, no detectable mention of Savage on the site at all, but Rush Limbaugh's recent comments about Barney Frank were prominently featured on the top of their front page in a posting dated today.

I'm sorry Jenny, but in my book that's not even close to fair or evenhanded, and it's certainly not what I'd call anything approaching real support. I stand by every word I said above.

Sounds to me like San Francisco has a radio talk show host problem! The SFPD officers who are getting this training are probably fine with it. They're probably fine with the trans cop. And that just galls the shit out of this guy. He doesn't care? Funny. Hoist on his own petard! He couldn't even get other hatemongers to call in. What a loser.

Michael Savage is an ass?

Yeah, that's putting it nicely alright.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | January 10, 2009 12:54 AM

Maybe we're not quick on the draw about Savage because, in the last eight years, our outrage meters have had to have been reset higher and higher so many times that the damned reset screws are stripped and we reserve going to the trouble of twisting them for stuff that's outside of being expectedly pukeworthy -- and Savage is just too predictable for that. I hear each new Savage attack and find myself thinking, "yeah, yeah, yeah, fuckwad, tell me something new enough to be worth lifting a middle finger in reaction to and maybe I will -- if I'm not too busy making you even more of a nattering nabob of an anachronistic nothing than you already are, that is."

First of all, Savage is a pseudonym. His real given name is Michael Weiner. Which is what I always call the dickhead. He doesn't deserve respect.

Second, Weiner's done this sort of thing for years. When I think of him, I think of Eric Bogosian in "Talk Radio" - and hope and expect the same fate will befall Weiner. I cannot understand how the T community of the Bay Area permits him to continue.

Do you drink energy drinks? Weiner and his son own Rockstar. Avoid Rockstar energy drinks.

During the ENDA battle, comments identitical to Savage's were to be found on multiple so-called LGBT blogs and including the election section of 365 gay com.

If gay men can say that trans people need therapy, not surgery and Lesbians can advocate for removing the T from LGBT to "improve our image" by "getting rid of the freaks," perhaps that is why Savage feels safe going after the T peope. Because he knows that there will be no reaction from the LGBT organisations that supposedly represent them...

Marja Erwin | January 11, 2009 7:44 PM

Yes. John Aravosis has done more to spread anti-trans bigotry than Michael Savage ever can.

Michael Savage is an ass. I looked for another word to put there but that is, in fact, the kindest one I can find.
Then let me kindly suggest that you resume the search.

Asses serve a function.

Savage? Not so much.

I'd rank him several rungs below Jesse Helms on the evolutionary scale.

Angela Brightfeather | January 10, 2009 4:55 PM


"If gay men can say that trans people need therapy, not surgery and Lesbians can advocate for removing the T from LGBT to "improve our image" by "getting rid of the freaks," perhaps that is why Savage feels safe going after the T peope. Because he knows that there will be no reaction from the LGBT organisations that supposedly represent them..."

And to you Donna, my compliments on finally exposing to many of us, yes, there are things that are not to be dealt with in a gentle or "positive" fashion and that there is a line in the sand, overwhich you grow sharpened teeth.

It's a great change for you I approve of it entirely and hope we will see more of it.

As a matter of fact, if you read Maura's point, then multiply that 10 times, over many years of activism, education and tolerance on our part, you can understand why many older activists have given up being nice to everyone about having to swallow our pride so many times.

Having that one space where Transgender people live in their minds and continue to suppress for the sake of political expediency and acceptance in the GLB communities, let alone the troglodytes like Savage, that feeling that there is a line not to cross with us. In fact, for each year in this fight for our human rights, that line gets just a little closer to the person who set it, and the anger and frustration come to the surface that much faster.

Unlike gays and lesbians who are now planning their retirement to Key West in a few years, transgender people who never had jobs in the first place with retirement benefits are still wondering how they are going to make it over this depression after already being themselves depressed for so long. Then they have to live with people like Savage on the airwaves, blasting them every time they hear him.

I listened to the The Agenda today and Joe was out. Nothing was said about this hate speech issue.

So lets face it, it's nice to be nice sometimes, but these are not the times to be nice after ENDA. Live with it. Get mad and expose the beast and let the Gods of War rule. Well, we can at least be pissed and talk about it frankly.

So Donna, I was happy to see your line in the sand and hope that you can keep pushing it away from you. That shows great strength in the short run, but it draws deeply on your reservoir of charm over the long run, and eventually can push people over the edge where they start to see the victims at fault for their fate and then they just disappear. This has happened to many of our very best advocates and activists over the years.
It can become very tiresome and even debilitating for people to have to smile and hold that line in the sand at bay.

Frankly, I have the same attitude as Maura, and after many years, that line in the sand becomes harder to hold back and the "activist evil doers" start to emerge from deep in my bowels. simply pouring out over people like Barney Frank when he tries to imitate someone who is less Transphobic than a year and half ago.

Brenda Jean Louise | January 10, 2009 7:49 PM

I agree with Polar's January 10th post. Michael Savage (AKA Michael Weiner) is in fact a dickhead and his mouth is the anus. And what proceeds from his oral anus is a smelly gas that he uses to form his words.
The sad thing here as my partner points out is that if he had applied his diatribe to a spacific race, religion, or ethnicity, he's reputation would be drawn and quartered both in court and by the media. Perhaps his unchecked attitude to others is one of the reasons that SF has a high murder rate. The Trans-community needs a legal fund developed to take him, and others of his ilk, on in the court system.

As we all should be aware of, the federal hate crimes legislation will not enhance penalties or make hate speech illegal. The four categories already covered in the existing hate crimes laws, race, color, religion, or nation origin, also do not cover hate speech.

However, because the law exists and covers these four categories, it has become unacceptable for people to say hateful things based on those four categories. Imus is a prim example of that.

If we get four more categories covered, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability, then when people like Savage opens his mouth to spew his garbage, the outrage will be based more on the US government saying you shouldn't show hatred toward these people. It will not happen over night, but it's a start. It will, unfortunately happen long after Savage is gone and people become tired of pissing on his grave.

I am sorry Monica, but I would never waste perfectly good piss on Michael Savage's grave.