Thirty years ago, Harvey Milk-the first openly gay person to ever hold a significant elected office-was assassinated while sitting at his desk in San Francisco City Hall. The new film Milk is a testament to the gay rights icon’s living legacy, and goes to show that while we’ve made much progress, the fight for truly equal civil rights is still very much an ongoing battle. That reality was driven home last month, when California voters narrowly approved Prop. 8, a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that opponents say is nothing short of outright bigotry.
To reflect on Harvey Milk’s message and his continuing meaning for the 21st century, we present this collection of stories. They include former San Francisco Chronicle reporter and editor Jerry Roberts remembering his role in covering Milk’s rise to power during the 1970s; the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s director Roger Durling chatting with Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black about the film and Prop. 8; and our Gay Girl/Straight World columnist Penny Patterson explaining why she cried during the movie’s happy parts. Lastly, attorney and former political operative Benjamin Bycel reflects on the other great man assassinated on the same day, the popular and progressive San Francisco mayor George Moscone, and explains why his message, like Milk’s, is as relevant as ever.
• Crying in the Happy Parts – Our Gay Girl Watches Milk
by Penny Patterson