Sunday, December 07, 2008

You Gotta Give Them Hope



When Harvey Milk was assassinated, I went on a hunger strike, refusing all food including KFC, my favorite. My parents indulged me in my tiny revolution; they knew I felt deeply for the gay rights movement even at the tender age of seven and they didn't display a lot of the bigotry that pervades much of our great land, then and now. My dad explained to me early that I knew several boys who would grow up and probably like other boys and that was just fine. For a man not given to deep introspection, he favored a simple approach to life and unlike a lot of crackpots who believe that sexual orientation can be changed (umm, good luck with that!), his deepest belief was that you had to be comfortable in your own skin. The closet was a metaphor I could understand early in my life, how suffocating it could be, how you might die there before you could tell the truth, like a story I heard about someone choking to death in a restaurant because she was too ashamed to draw attention to her plight. And I also understood that life out of the closet was dicey as well; any number of whackjobs might beat you to death to prove their own heterosexuality. Or show up at your funeral with a sign that says, God Hates Fags. I especially love when religious groups show up for this kind of fun. I'm sure, to steal from the great Anne Lammott, it makes Jesus want to drink straight gin from a dirty cat bowl.

Milk, quite simply, is a brilliant movie for any number of reasons. I laughed because I found myself trying not to cry during a lot of the movie and thought back to E.T., another movie I swore would not break me down. But it did, of course. It's a political story, a love story, an ode to the beauty of the seventies and the tragedy of Anita Bryant and I don't just mean being forced to sit through one of her concerts. And it reminds us that the battle still needs to be fought; on election day, many Americans supported a proposition to ban gay marriage. People who were encouraged by the likes of Rick Warren, Mr. Purpose Driven Life Pants, who gently told his many followers to support a bill that denies a group of Americans their civil rights with a compelling argument about how true marriage is in danger. Never mind that heterosexuals have done a fine job of fucking up the convention quite nicely themselves. In his most famous speech, Harvey quotes from the Declaration of Independence about all men being created equal, that you can never erase those words. He got a lot of death threats that day and many days of his life and he still stood up and risked his life. I'm a coward who seldom takes a stand; I can only try to remember those who do, who love our country enough to speak the truth even when it costs them everything.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand." Patti Smith

Cocktail Hour
Drinking cocktail suggestion:

Winter Wonderland
1 part half and half
1 part Baileys
1 dash of creme de menthe
Strain over ice.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!

15 comments:

the walking man said...

Every movement towards freedom needs have its martyrs. The key thing about martyrs is that when preaching to the choir is safest they tend towards the mountaintop for all to see and hear.

Lana Gramlich said...

A shame that brave people are eradicated by close-minded cowards. What a world we live in...

Anonymous said...

Some religious people pick and choose the passages from their holy boooks that under scores their beliefs and philosphies and neglect anything that contradicts them. If something does not fit into a category it is an abomination. This applies to certain foods, animals, birds and humans. Duality does not leave room for The Other. Those who can think outside of that paradigm are far more tolerant. KIP

Charles Gramlich said...

That "God hates fags" group makes me want to puke. What a useless bunch of losers.

jodi said...

Sweety, we all need to love our neighbors as ourselves. And we know what to think about the loudest protestors, don't we? xo

Anonymous said...

Tell me about gayness.--Oscar Wilde

Anonymous said...

Either this wallpaper goes or I go.--O.W.

Scott said...

Hi Michelle!

Sounds like a good movie. I'll have to check it out.

Hope your week is a good one!

p.s.-Say 'hi' to Baby Grouchie for me.

Tuesday's Gone said...

And I still think Johnny Depp is hot...

Among other people.

Best of luck and grace with all of your endeavors.

the walking man said...

No comment today, I am gay.

YogaforCynics said...

Wow--a hunger strike for gay rights at seven! I'm embarrassed to say that, having grown up in an environment where "gay" was the standard insult, I didn't wise up until my brother came out when I was in college (even though I was completely against every other kind of prejudice--amazing the blinders we can wear)....

chris said...

I know I don't comment much anymore but HMMMM, Are you on a vacation lately ?

Jill said...

Sweet, Michelle. I hope you're doing okay--it seems unlike you to have not posted in so long. Love you much, dear friend.

Anonymous said...

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