MILK Does a (gay)Body Good

Tonight I watched the movie Milk. If you haven’t watched this movie yet – it is time to crawl out from under your rock and find a way to see it! Normally when a movie comes out with “critical acclaim” I try to avoid it. Having known who Harvey Milk was, I ignored my usual reaction and downloaded the movie to watch it. It may be the best movie I have ever seen. Not for the filming or anything but merely for the subject matter. Also, I was surprised how well Sean Penn portrayed a gay man – not “forcing” the character and ending up as a straight actor playing a gay-ish man (as Heath Ledger did in Brokeback Mountain).

If you are gay, straight or whatever you need to know about the life of Harvey Milk. I know that people were promoting this as a “gay film” but after watching the movie, you’ll see just how important his work was not only for gay rights but also for the preservation of universal civil rights. For those who do not know who Milk was, he was the first openly gay individual to be elected to public office. The movie is about his fight to win the office but it is about so much more than that.

Gay people today can thank Harvey Milk in part for what protection we have today. He came about in a time when Anita Bryant and fascist homophobes were on a crusade to make this a country when someone could be fired, evicted and openly discriminated against for simply being a homosexual or a gay-supporter. I think the thing I got from the movie most was how one person could inspire not only the disenfranchised but also the unwilling. One of the people Milk inspired was a young boy named Cleave Jones – someone who had no interest in doing anything more than turning “tricks” on Castro Street. Not only did he inspire him, Jones ended up joining Milk’s ‘inner circle’ and went on to create the NAMES Project (Aids Quilt). To me, that is what I find so inspiring about what Milk as able to do.

Milk’s message was clear – if “they” know one of us, they will care. Maybe that is what it will take for people to accept the idea of gay marriage/domestic rights. People do not want to take a stand if they are not directly affected themselves. Maybe if people knew their sibling, friend, parent, etc was gay it would make them get off their butt and vote to preserve civil rights for all – not just for themselves.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 16, 2009 and is filed under , . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .