Gay Rights: Why we need a film like Milk now.


Harvey Milk in 1978 Photo: Daniel Nicoletta/Wikipedia Commons

Harvey Milk in 1978 Photo: Daniel Nicoletta/Wikipedia Commons

I read an interesting opinion piece in The New York Times today by Mary Frances Berry, she makes a very good point about the double-standards of civil rights:

There is no need to analogize the battle for the rights of gay and lesbian people to the struggle of African Americans to overcome slavery, Jim Crow and continued discrimination. But as Coretta Scott King said to me as she tried to imagine what position the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would take on “don’t ask, don’t tell”: “What’s the yardstick by which we should decide that gay rights are less important than other human rights we care about?”

Indeed, what is the yardstick when people who will happily and prolifically use the word ‘gay’ in an insulting manner, will just as quickly call someone ‘racist’ and take the utmost offence. Isn’t using ‘gay’ in a derogatory manner the same as saying  ‘nigger’? Now I’m not saying I’d like a white person to call me that or even call me a half-caste (as I used to call myself ignorantly when I was young) but it does amount to the same thing.

It’s such a shame that in the 21st century it is still illegal in many countries for two people who love each-other to get married and that so recently ths Proposition 8 has carried through in California making only heterosexual marriages legitimate. I really hope that Obama doesn’t neglect this basic civil right for the gay  community as people concentrate on the fact that he will surely do more for ethnic minorities domestically and abroad.

His appointment of the Rev. Rick Warren at his inauguration is not promising , the Reverend being a man very opposed to gay marriages.  Which is why Gus Van Sant’s Milk couldn’t have come at a better time, as various articleshave pointed out we have to thank Dustin Lance Black,  Sean Penn and Gus Van Sant for bringing him deservedly back into the spotlight. I certainly hadn’t even heard of Harvey Milk (pictured above) before the film but I now see what a pioneering and inspiring guy he was and how horrible it was that his murderer only get 7 years on a ‘Twinkie’ defence. I hope it will enlighten people though unfortunately those that most need to see it probably won’t.

After all this it’s just such a shame that Boy George  has to go and get jailed for beating an escort while on cocaine, this will only add fuel to the fire  of the religious right-wingers.


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