Monday, July 20, 2009

Milk (or Being Gay)

First- some assigned reading.

Read this.

And this.

Jeff was wonderful enough to pick up a copy of Milk on blue-ray this weekend. I hadn't had an opportunity to see it... and desperately wanted to... especially after being so moved by the award speeches a few months back.

What I loved about the movie... from my limited knowledge, it seemed historically accurate. Casting was excellent. Acting was superb. It was moving and inspiring. Harvey Milk made great strides in the gay rights movement and the film very well depicts his accomplishments, how he got there, and also gives glimpses into his personal life- into the man he was.

I liked his message of hope. That was repeated over and over.

One thing that I think was missing from the film- and I think there wasn't an easy way to add this in- was that the timing of the murder of Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone coincided with the mass suicide at Jonestown. The Wikipedia link above gives a lot more insight on that bit of history and how it played into the tone of the times.

But here's what got stuck in my craw after the movie ended.

Everyone I know who has seen the movie has raved about it, loved it. I've honestly not heard anyone say they just didn't like it. I would think that the subject matter is pretty darn obvious, right?

Some of those people who rave about it, loved it, critically acclaim it... are opposed to gay marriage. Are opposed to laws that defend or protect the rights of gay people as a group.

It boggles my mind. I raised an eyebrow at the times I heard of these non-supporters enjoying the film. And having now seen the film, I'm really befuddled.

Maybe these people don't see their own homophobia? Maybe these people don't want to align themselves as being a Dan White or John Briggs or Anita Bryant?

The similarities between Prop 6 back in 1978 and the fight against Prop 8 in 2009 are striking. There are those for it and those against it. There is very little gray area.

Can someone explain that to me? Saying you've been really touched by a film about a man who fought for gay rights but also wanting to deny rights to a group of people- the same people this man was fighting for.

The sign posted at the site of Castro Camera and Harvey Milk's apartment reads:

Harvey Milk
May 22, 1930 - November 27, 1978
Harvey Milk made history as the first openly gay elected official in California, and one of the first in the nation, when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in November 1977. His camera store and campaign headquarters at 575 Castro Street and his apartment upstairs were centers of community activism for a wide range of human rights, environmental, labor and neighborhood issues. Harvey Milk's hard work and accomplishments on behalf of all San Franciscans earned him widespread respect and support. His life is an inspiration to all people committed to equal opportunity and an end to bigotry.
"You gotta give 'em hope!"

All people committed to equal opportunity. An end to bigotry. Hope.

Equal opportunity. Ending bigotry. Giving hope.

5 comments:

Flartus said...

Um..dunno, just guessing, but maybe those people are ok with gay people having rights to, you know, not get beat up or kicked out of their apartments...but marriage and shared health care, protection of adopted children--all that's just asking too much!

I mean, it's ok letting gay people live together as long as they leave us alone, but, y'know, letting them get married threatens...um... No, you know, it still doesn't make sense to me.

Sorry. I tried! Next?

Eternal Lizdom said...

Good effort, Flartus!! An A to the French teacher!

But yeah... it just doesn't quite work, does it?

Harumph.

Angie said...

I haven't gotten around to watching that movie yet - but I'm going to add it to my to-watch list.

And you make a great point in the rest of your entry - I'm baffled by it as well. It reminds me of the times when I've heard pro-life people, who claimed they thought adoption was the best option for those dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, go on and say negative things about adoption. Something just doesn't compute.

Teacher Tom said...

I kind of understand people of my parent's generation having this attitude -- they just can't get their mind around the concept of same sex marriage. I even excuse them a little because they were the generation who ushered in civil rights for African Americans. Last year my parents made a pilgrimage to Mobil in honor of MLK. They're good people, but they just can't make the leap . . .

Many people have commented that this is a generational issue and I agree with them to a certain extent, but we have a long way to go even with young people. A lesbian couple with a daughter in my school has been trying to adopt a second child for over 2 years. They are a loving, committed couple who already have a child. They are not being denied by old people. They are being denied because in our state, the birth mother gets to "rank" her preferred types of adopted parents and lesbian couples are at the absolute bottom of the list -- even below single parents. The good news is they finally got their baby in May.

Thanks for your activism on this. I'm confident that our own children will grow up thinking we must have been crazy.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Good point, Angie. I've seen the adoption double talk, too. Anti-choice and also anti-international adoption or older child adoption or whatever.

Tom- I hope you are right. I hope my kids are surrounded by peers who don't understand why our society would discriminate against any group. Especially when society is discriminating against love. Then I also wonder who the next group will be that has a major battle on their hands for equal treatment under the law...