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Monday, 17 November 2008

When gays riot

We're going to have to wait to see it until January but Shaun Penn's next Oscar winner will be 'Milk'.

The long-awaited biopic of the San Francisco gay supervisor Harvey Milk, assassinated alongside Mayor George Moscone in 1977, has just opened in the US.

Here's the trailer:

Harvey was an icon for the gay rights movement. He came just before my time but I still remember when I saw the biopic 'The Times of Harvey Milk' in the early eighties and came to learn more about him. Harvey changed the world.

It's just wonderful that Gus van Sant is the one to finally make this movie and all the reviews are great. It's extra great because the history will come back and people will get to see what was sacrificed to make the world we live in today.

This is especially good for young LGBT.

Here's some videos about that history.

Milk and Moscone's assassin, fellow San Francisco Supervisor (councilor) Dan White, got a very light sentence. This was 1977! Following this there was a candlelight parade and then a riot (the gay movement started with a riot at Stonewall).

Now California State Senator Carole Migden speaking so movingly about Harvey.

I'm such an old fart. I can totally relate to this aging queen, Cleve Jones, who worked with Harvey (and then went on to start the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt).

He speaks wisdom:
If your generation of young people do not know our history you will not be prepared to fight. History is full of examples of people who thought they were free and woke up and discovered they were not.

It's important for people to understand that Harvey Milk was an ordinary faggot. He was not a genius, he was not a saint. His personal life was in disarray. He was poverty stricken. He was an ordinary man and yet because he was honest. because he had courage and because he really did love his people and love his city he was able to change the world. And I want all young people to understand that they have the power to do that.
Just like Rosa Parks.

Gay San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano adds to this point - Harvey was just like you and me:
Harvey was a mensch. He could also be a diva. He would have loved knowing that Sean Penn would be playing him.
At the moment there's a riotous anger in California because of the passage of Prop 8, blocking gay marriage.

Harvey's spirit lives on.

HT: This post is for Darren.

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