Friday, May 22, 2009

Got Milk?

Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you have heard of Harvey Milk. Once Sean Penn grabbed Oscar by the throat, the world became enlightened. Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. When I first moved to San Francisco in 1994, I hadn't a clue who he was. The MUNI station I used to get to work was named Harvey Milk Plaza and there was a plaque stating who he was, and his significance to the city and more importantly, to our community. When he was assassinated, the world had just gotten word of the Jonestown Mass Suicides and Murders. So much grief for our beautiful city by the bay, as many of the Jonestown victims were San Francisco transplants. Upon my arrival, it had only been fifteen years since this all took place. I worked at Macy's in Union Square, and my staff was filled with old queens who actually knew him. They quickly got me up to speed on Harvey. His influence, and his legacy. The ridiculous ruling on his assassin, and the White Night Riots that followed. Harvey Milk was an inspiration to all of us in the community, and thanks to Dustin Lance Black and Gus Van Sant, his story was told to the masses. Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the White Night Riots and today is Harvey's Birthday. He would have been 79 years old. Oh how I would have loved to have met him.
Happy Birthday Harvey.

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