Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Loss of Hope

I ask this... If there should be an assassination, I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out - - If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door... And that's all. I ask for the movement to continue. Because it's not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power... it's about the "us's" out there. Not only gays, but the Blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us's. Without hope, the us's give up - I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. So you, and you, and you... You gotta give em' hope... you gotta give em' hope. - from the film Milk as spoken by Sean Penn portraying Harvey Milk.

Frank and I watched Milk last night. It was a powerful and awe-inspiring movie that made me laugh, but more often, it made me cry. The ironic thing about the movie: the parallels between then (1978) and now (2010).

I mean, seriously, what has changed? The gay community is still fighting, and losing, the same battles they fought 32 years ago! 32 years and society has barely moved forward at all!


Why hasn't the gay movement moved forward? Why aren't gays (lesbians, bisexual, transgendered) allowed the same rights as heterosexuals? Why is the battle for equality still going on?

Did the life and death of Harvey Milk mean nothing to our community? Were his words just meaningless utterings?

I don't have the answers to these questions. I only know that today (2010) the same battles are taking place.

Yes, we've (the gay community) gained some ground, but not much, people, not much at all. Proposition 8 passed! Yeah, court battle, and all that jazz, but it passed! Where was the cohesive rallying that saw the defeat of Proposition 6 in 1978? Where was the united effort to win one battle when the gay community was losing so many battles across the United States?

Yes, people came forth in defiance of Proposition 8, but . . . it wasn't enough. Why? What's changed within the framework of society that a community and its allies failed to defeat a measure that is born out of hatred and ignorance? Why did we fail to defeat the allegedly narrow-minded bigots who think their way of life is the only way to live?

Again, I don't have the answers to these questions. I only know that the gay community and their allies need to galvanize their efforts to defeat any and all measures that strip us of the equal rights guaranteed us under the Constitution of the United States of America. We can no longer sit in our closets hoping somebody else will do the job for us.

I am here tonight to say that we will no longer sit quietly in the closet. We must fight. And not only in the Castro, not only in San Francisco, but everywhere the Anitas go. Anita Bryant did not win tonight, Anita Bryant brought us together! She is going to create a national gay force! And the young people in Jackson Mississippi, in Minnesota, in the Richmond, in Woodmere New York, who are hearing her on television, hearing Anita Bryant telling them on television that they are sick, they are wrong, there is no place in this great country for them, no place in this world, they are looking to us for something tonight, and I say, we have got to give them hope!

Did the hope of the gay community die with Harvey? Did we become too complacent in expecting someone else to take up the fight? Are we to blame for the defeats we have suffered in our fight for equality?

I say - YES! We, as a community, every single one of us, not just the select few fighting the fight, are to blame!

We live in an age of instant communication - Facebook, Twitter, Blogs. All a person has to do on Facebook is hit share and all their friends can see a message, and then those friends can share and so on and so on and so on! In a matter of minutes a message can travel from one part of the country to the next and . . .

. . . yet, it's not happening. Who's to blame? Hmmm . . .