Wow. That's some powerful stuff. Sean Penn certainly has come a long way from his Spicoli days.
Gays and lesbians have always been a part of my life.
My mother was a hairdresser. I know it's stereotypical, but hairdressing really did attract a lot of gay men, and still does. My mother often took me to trade shows, where one could see some fairly outrageous behavior for the times. But for me, it was just part of the biz. It didn't seem odd or deviant.
Whether they were regular seeming guys or flaming Queens, they were all nice to me. They told me I had gorgeous hair, luminous eyes, an ass to die for. If not for that pesky little sex thang, I would have happily married a gay man. They're good for a gal's ego.
One of my cousins is a lesbian. My best friend in high school was gay. One of my dearest friends today is a lesbian. One of the best teachers my oldest son ever had is a gay man. My new next door neighbors are an older gay couple. And I've recently met a lesbian family who has touched my heart and earned my undying respect and admiration.
They have never been gay people to me. Just people.
And that's why I sometimes forget that it was and still is a struggle for gays and lesbians.
This movie was a very salient reminder of that. Since time began, people have been giving their lives for freedom; freedom to worship whom they please, freedom from tyranny, freedom from opression and slavery....
Doesn't it strike you as patently absurd that people should have to fight and die for the freedom to love?
Does it hurt you if the man next door wants to live in a loving committed relationship with another man?
Does it hurt you if the woman down the street wants to share her life and raise a family with another woman?
I've heard all the arguments.
If you're some Christian fundamentalist considering leaving a comment to tell me how it is an abomination in God's eyes....save it. No God I care to worship would put conditions on his love. No God I care to worship would punish his children for loving one another.
If you're some ultra conservative considering leaving a comment to tell me how allowing gays and lesbians to marry is undermining the sanctity of the institution, you can save that too. Heterosexuals have done a fine job of that all by themselves.
If you're some family values zealot who feels compelled to tell me that homosexual couples can't raise healthy, stable, well-rounded children, again, save it. Because I happen to know children who were horribly abused and neglected by their heterosexual parents.
Their adoption by their new Moms was recently finalized.
The older ones are finally beginning to believe that the safety and security of their new home is forever, and the baby will never remember being hungry or cold.
I understand hate. It comes from self-loathing and insecurity. It comes from being taught that love and acceptance is conditional. It comes from being taught to see differences as perversities.
What I don't understand is the need to spread it like a disease.
I don't understand being so threatened by another person's way of life that one loses all sense of humanity. I don't understand the desire to infect others with the malignancy of blind malice.
Well...things are getting better. Slowly.
Thanks to people like Harvey Milk who are willing to risk everything to make life better for others.
Harvey paid the ultimate price.
Hopefully, because of him, and others like him, no more lives will have to be sacrificed for the cause of Gay rights.
On behalf of all the gay and lesbian people in my life...thanks Harvey.