Yawn, I’d top him. He has a book to push.
When Jeremy Affeldt came to the Bay Area as an opposing player, he refused to leave his hotel room aside from going to and from the ballpark. He was admittedly homophobic.
When he joined the San Francisco Giants five years ago, Affeldt became determined to get rid of his negative feelings toward the gay population. The transformation took time and a change of heart, given what he calls his “sheltered” upbringing in the Eastern Washington city of Spokane. Now, Affeldt is more than comfortable saying he was wrong to judge a community based solely on sexual orientation.
‘Milk’ was shit.
Today is Harvey Milk Day in California.
And I’m left to wonder what Harvey would say if he were here.
I imagine he’d start by saying that this day isn’t about him. For Harvey, it was always about the movement, never about ego.
He’d likely say that this day is for the kids out there in Altoona, Pa., who still feel that what makes them different makes them “less than” and are feeling hopeless. He’d tell anyone who would listen that they must come out and stand up — and send that young person a much-needed message of hope.
But I’m afraid that the next thing Harvey might ask is, “What has happened to the coalitions we started building?”
Because as proud as I am of the work that so many brave people have done to come out and share their stories, I’m afraid that we have neglected one of the most critical pieces of Harvey Milk’s successful political philosophy.
Harvey Milk was not myopic when it came to his equality. If he had been, he never would have been elected. Harvey was a pure populist. He worked hard for all people who have been made to feel “less than,” and all minorities whom the system wasn’t working for.
Early on, he backed the unions in the Coors beer boycott in the ’70s, forging an unexpected alliance between gays and union truck drivers. He went into Chinese communities and made sure that the ballots were written in Mandarin instead of in English. He fought for seniors and the homeless.
It seems that the message we too often miss from Milk’s work is that all Americans have an interest in equality because soon we will all be minorities in some way or another; it just depends on how we slice the pie.
Separate, we are all vulnerable. Together we are unbeatable.
Harvey called this his “coalition of the us’s” — not only gays but blacks, Asians, seniors, the disabled. He understood the interconnectedness of our common struggles.
The idea was simple but brilliant. Harvey believed that people who are very different deserve equal protection. And he knew that if we were ever going to win that freedom and keep it, we had to stick together.
When I wrote the movie Milk, I focused mostly on Harvey’s call to send a message of hope to the young LGBT people who were suffering, likely because I had grown up feeling a lot like that isolated kid from Altoona.
But here’s the thing: I grew up gay, but I also grew up Mormon and in Texas. I grew up with a single mother who walked with crutches because of polio. And we had no money. I was a free-lunch kid. We were different in so many ways beyond just the gay thing. So why didn’t I shine a brighter light on Harvey’s “coalition of the us’s”? It’s one of my few regrets with the portrayal.
Because the bottom line is this: We in the LGBT movement have a long way to go when it comes to joining together with other groups who are seeking equal opportunity and equal protections. Too often I witness a myopia that I fear may keep us from crossing the finish line of full equality and leave any gains we make feeling impermanent.
Never has this been clearer to me than in these weeks leading up to the Supreme Court’s ruling on full marriage equality. With a true coalition, every citizen, regardless of sexual orientation, would understand that this isn’t simply a gay and lesbian fight but a fight for justice and equality for anyone who has ever been singled out as second-class.
When the Supreme Court does get it right, it should be clear that this is a victory for everyone who has ever felt different in some way, which increasingly means every single one of us. But if it continues to leave gay and lesbian families vulnerable, it is making all families vulnerable.
Now more than ever, we need organizations and individuals to do the hard work to rebuild, build out and strengthen our coalitions and reach out and find commonality with unexpected new allies.
We need the “us’s” to stand together publicly with our voices raised to remind the world that this nation is strong because of our differences, not despite them.
Because when the day comes that the U.S. Supreme Court rules for full equality for gays and lesbians, it should not send a message of hope solely to LGBT young people. It should be clear that the court has sent a message of hope to every young person who has ever felt “less than” for being different.
BREAKING – ‘Old Dogs And New Tricks’ Loses Lead Actor With Ryland Shelton Suddenly Quitting The Show.
SUPPORT SEASON 3 HERE.
WTF?????? Why?????? Well, I like the idea of recasting the role. That rocks in soapland. Shame though, great work in the final episode. Can’t wait to find out the word.
Old Dogs & New Tricks Refocuses After Losing Key Player
What does a hit web series do when one of its pivotal players takes a powder?
Videographer and activist Sean Chapin, along with Andrea Shorter, Randall Mann, Sister Roma, Courtney Walsh, and Aaron Wimmer, produced a powerful reading of Harvey Milk’s famous “Hope” speech at the top of the Castro in honor of today, Harvey Milk Day in California.
Walsh and Wimmer are two actors from Dear Harvey, the recent New Conservatory Theater play about Milk’s life, Mann is a local poet and winner of the 2003 Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry,Sister Roman is a 20 year veteran of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and Shorter is a lesbian political consultant who serves on the city’s Commission on the Status of Women.
“What came to be called ‘The Hope Speech’ was initially conceived as a stump address, wherein Milk attempted to embolden a strong GLBTQ nationalism within the Castro, while also appealing for an alliance with other disenfranchised groups and straight folks,” wrote Jason Edward Black and Charles E. Morris III in their anthology An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk’s Speeches and Writings (University of California Press, 2013). Milk would revise the speech and recite it several more times at various appearances, according to the introduction written by Black and Morris to the version they included in their book. It was a defiant speech about gay self-acceptance that included Milk’s call for LGBT people to come out of the closet and inspire others to do so. For as Milk said, particularly of LGBT youth, “And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for a place to go if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be alright.”