Monday, November 24, 2008

It's All About Milk

I am sorry that I do not have a memory about Harvey Milk. I was 10 at the time of his death, and I was probably more excited about becoming a big brother (my brother was born in October of 1978). I look forward to seeing the bio-pic of his life, because I recognize the important place he has in American history generally, and GLBT American history particularly.

I am glad that "Milk" is out now. It's a visual reminder of how far we have come as a nation with regard to gay rights. It should also serve as a reminder of how far we have to go. Too many people still believe that one makes a decision to become gay (yes I am pointing particularly at black and Latino communities). I just need some str8 person to let me know when he/she decided to be str8. At the same time, I wish more folks would follow Milk's lead by coming out of the closet and jumping into the fray (particularly in black and Latino communities). Milk once defended the closet. It took moving to San Francisco, and working to defeat the Briggs Initiative, to recognize the freedom that coming out could provide.

It's interesting that the 30th anniversary of his assisination falls on Thanksgiving. Like most people, I will give thanks for family, friends and my health this Thursday. But this year, I would like to add that I give thanks for being a beneficiary of the sacrifices that people like Harvey Milk made to help make my life easier. Harvey Milk was a genuine hero for me precisely because he was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things; he is a reminder of what each of us is capable of giving to our communities.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Question--how do you define being gay? Is it biologically determined (as you seem to feel), or is the act of having sex with people of the same gender? Assuming there is a biological determination, what about someone who is "biologically straight" but has sex with people of the same gender? Are they a second-class gay? A non-biological gay? Do you believe that such people exist? Are they entitled to the same rights that you are pushing for biological gays?

hscfree said...

@Anonymous: Turn your questions around. How do you define being straight? Is it biologically determined (as you seem to feel), or is it the act of having sex with people of the opposite gender? Assuming there is a biological determination, what about someone who is "biologically gay," but has sex with people of the opposite gender? Are they second-class straights? A non-biological straight? Do you believe that such people exist? Are they entitled to the same rights that you are pushing for bioligical straights?

I'll wait for your answers.

Anonymous said...

Yola Hola! and happy t-day everyone!

Now on the question of any possible, literal, decision ever having to be made concerning whether or not a person is in fact straight or gay ... well ...

Lookit, here's the deal, I'm straight. And I will admit preferential confusion during my formative years because my father was gay ... but he was living a straight lifestyle due to both societal necessity and a basically familial need (not "desire" mind you) to father a male heir, thence carrying on his family name. I see my "confusion" essentially stemming from not really having all that much of a male role model either from which I might beg advice about a plethora of curiousities nor to lean upon, simply due to his consistant absence within our household.

Hadda basically "go it alone" there from a very early age.

So I will also admit what I construed as a same sex attraction to those within my social setting. But I know now that those were intesified feelings of acceptance and comeraderie. Clearly when the realization dawn upon me that my friends "really liked me" for who I was, it made me feel closer to them. And because I didn't really have a social guage against which I might compare those relationships, many times I would misinterpret my happiness and comfort levels within that group to be feelings of the "unspeakable" love so taboo within today's society.

Many many many of my friends today are gay, and I kiss them "hello", and we hug and all that ...

But really, at no time was a decision ever made by me to become straight or to become gay. I'm straight, and that's all there is to it. I dig chicks. Something about the female form really draws me. I loooove scent of women. I feel certain excitement just watching the way women move. And the realationship I have with my wife is truly second to none.

So let's just debunk the decision theory. It's completely ridiculous.

The entire question never even need be asked. We all just know. Love is love. And we find happiness within whatever draws us in like moths to flame. Doesn't matter between which genders or otherwise, which kinds of people ...

Love is just love. And the real kind should be for life ...

Sincerely, Grumblebunny

Micheal Sisco said...

Does it really matter? Why in the world do we, as a society, try to determine where Cupid points his arrow?
Should the nature/nurture debate really matter when it comes to the basic human right to love another human being?
It's really ironic that there are those who would use the Constitution, a document that was founded on the concept of protecting the rights of the people, to deny rights to a segment of society. Ironic and sad.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey--with respect to your turnaround of my questions--I think as the group that is trying to overturn a definition of marriage that has existed for thousands of years, the burden is on the petitioner to answer the questions not the other way around. On the substance of the question, my guess is that it is biological for some gays and for others it is not. And if the fact that it is biological is the basis for the rights movement, what do you do with that group that is not biologically gay? Do they get rights or not?

For Sisco—it matters because the entire premise of the gay rights movement is that they deserve rights because it is not a choice. Were they to acknowledge that for some % of the gay population it is a choice then they would have less standing to argue for rights.