Sunday, November 30, 2008

Commentary on the Movie "Milk"

"Milk" is a film based on the true story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official. It stars Academy Award Winner Sean Penn as Harvey Milk. What struck me the most while watching the film were all the similarities to what gays and lesbians are struggling with today.


                               "Milk" movie trailer

In the movie, which takes place in the mid to late 1970's, the discrimination against LGBT people was fierce. Police would raid bars to round up gays and have them arrested. The physical violence they faced at that time was much worse and not stopped by the police.

However, one of the big struggles shown in the movie was the struggle against the religious right. It wasn't over marriage but over protection in the work place. It was fascinating to watch and realize that history is repeating itself. I'm watching as Harvey Milk is telling everyone,

"You must come out. Everyone must come out."
I had just finished having dinner with friends and all of us discussing how many people we knew we had influenced to vote against the marriage ban just because we had come out to them. The fact is if you build relationships with people it makes them think before they vote. It puts a face on who the vote is against - makes it personal.

It was such a powerful experience. The gay rights movement has made strides, but at the same time it seems we are having the same debate 30 years later. I was left wondering, who will our generation's Harvey Milk be. There is clearly the same desire to come together and fight. So who will be the voice of our generation?

I say we all need to be. What I took away from the movie was it can't be about one person, but about all of us. We must all learn to use our voice. We must use it to come out. We must use it to help others reach for equality. Most importantly, we must use it to demand our equality. We must say as Harvey Milk said,
"Enough is enough!!"
 I encourage implore everyone to please go see this movie. More importantly make everyone you know go see it. When it comes out on DVD have "Milk" house parties. The story and the message in this movie speaks to what is happening now and will touch people and make them think.

Funny, I guess Harvey Milk may turn out to be the leader and voice of another generation.

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