Sunday, August 8, 2010

Harvey Milk

In light of the California Prop 8 ruling I re-watched the documentary on the life of Harvey Milk, not the Sean Penn movie.

If you haven't seen it before, or if it's been a long time, take 90 minutes and watch it. It's a great reminder of how far we've come as a society and how far gay rights have progressed.

When the Prop 8 ruling came down I remember thinking to myself how someone like Milk, if you could magically transplant them to today, would have reacted? What would they think about the place where we've come? Attitudes and values have changed so much for us to get to this place with gay marriage. Not that I'm naive enough to think that there aren't those who want to go back, to put gays back in the closet or worse, but for the majority of us who think that gay rights is the same as African-American rights, is the same as human-rights, we've come so far in our country and I'm proud of us.

I just read a book called "The Lacuna" where the main character is gay and it's set in the 1950's. He has NO place to go. Coming out isn't even an option. His gayness is the only reason needed to hate him and fear him. But today, thanks to people like Harvey Milk, that is no longer the case.

I think too, that part of what has gotten us here is that we all have children, friends, family-members or co-workers who are gay. And what was once fearful and other is now common and day to day..and finally simply someone just like us. It's hard to hate your own child, it's hard to hate someone you deal with every day at the office. And it's especially hard when they seem to have the same sort of lives and loves, fears and hopes that we all share. We are humans and so are they, whether we want to see it or not.

To hate minorities of any kind, be it color or sexual orientation, country of origin, or whatever...when you fall into those positions you demean the whole of humanity.

We have to treat all people with dignity because that is the way we ensure a world worth living in.

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