Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Milk the Movie: Do More For Hope

Go see this movie. Take your teenage children -- or take your youth group.

My 15 year old son and I saw it last night. He was unfamiliar with most of its history; I remembered Anita Bryant and the murders, but little else. I kept reminding myself that this was the 1970's, before the HIV/AIDS epidemic devastated San Francisco.

I found myself wondering what Harvey Milk would think about now. He'd be 88 years old if he was alive. I'd like to think that he would feel satisfaction knowing that the majority of Americans now support job protection, marriage or civil unions for same sex couples, that young people are more likely to come out at younger ages, that an out lesbian has the top rated talk show on daytime TV.

But, the parallels between the Prop 6 campaign and Prop 8, the lies and the bigotry, the hate from people who think they talk for God but hate gay people, and those who wanted to erase the face of gay people and families would surely cause him dismay.

I left the movie feeling that I'm not doing enough. That we have to do more. That more religious leaders need to speak out. That we must create a world where sexual and gender diversity is affirmed. Where one day this struggle will feel like "old history" not today's history.

Where hope, Milk's ever-present word, is fulfilled.

1 comment:

Cameron Partridge said...

Yes, my partner and I saw this movie the day after Thanksgiving, and it's very much worth seeing. I grew up in the Bay Area in the 70s and 80s and have only the vaguest memories of Milk and Moscone's assassinations. I too found the film incredibly moving and galvanizing, so much so that I went out and bought Randy Shilts' _The Mayor of Castro Street: the Life and Times of Harvey Milk_, which I'm now close to finishing. There is so much to learn and/or be reminded of in this history, re: the political dynamics between the various liberal and gay groups, as well as the possibilities for leaders of faith to speak out, as you point out. In the book, I've been glad to come across a few references to religious leaders speaking out for L/G folks. I noted in particular Rev. Bill Barcus of St. Mary the Virgin (Episcopal) in SF, who in a sermon came out as gay and urged his parishioners to vote against Prop 6, with Harvey Milk in attendance (p. 242). The Prop 6 and Prop 8 parallels, while not completely analogous, are stunning.