November 27, 2009
Today marks the 31st anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk, the San Francisco city supervisor who became an LGBT rights political legend for his work demanding equality. Photo
In legacy terms, it's been a very good year for Milk. The movie based on his life, Milk, won several Oscars, and Milk himself was inducted into the California Museum's Hall of Fame. Milk was even awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, becoming one of the very few openly LGBT people to receive such an award.
Perhaps the best news is that after multiple efforts, the California state government finally enacted a law that will create a Harvey Milk Day in the state, to be commemorated every May 22 to honor the birth of Milk. In May 2010, on what would have been Milk's 80th birthday, California residents will celebrate his life and legacy for the first time with the blessing of the state.
But today, during a holiday season that encourages us to give thanks and undertake reflection, it seems fitting to ask the question "What Would Harvey Milk Say?" about the state of LGBT rights, and the battles we're both winning and losing in the struggle for equality.
One simple guess as to what Milk would say today, that doesn't differ at all from what Milk said during the last summer of his life in 1978 as he was fighting an anti-gay ballot initiative in California, is that gay people won't win any demands for equal rights so long as they stay hidden. Read complete article - BY MICHAEL A. JONES