Thursday, December 4, 2008

world AIDS week: the anti-prop 8 campaign could've used some Milk

I can't really blog about my feelings regarding the passage of Prop 8. Sure, it's been a month since it passed, but I've yet to bring myself to put my emotions into words and anything I write just wouldn't be enough to express the disappointment I feel. And I'm not even gay.  Ugh.  I can't even begin to imagine...

Yup.  Still can't put it into words.  Moving on...

The day after it's passing, I called one of my best gays in Cali, A. A is Latino, a dancer, a fashionista, politically indifferent, a horrible student and an excellent procrastinator. He's almost 30 and didn't come out to his family until 6 years ago although he had always known he is gay. That wasn't because he was putting it off in the ultimate show of procrastination. He was afraid of how his mother (a Mexican immigrant who is a devout Catholic and had NO idea her son is gay) would react.

When A is on, he's ON. He's flamboyant and graceful. He's loud and occasionally abrasive. If you're outfit sucks, he'll tell you even if he doesn't know you. He's in-your-face brutally honest. When he's 'off', he's calm and reserved. Proper and polite. His voice is deep and manly. He's an excellent actor. After keeping his true self from his family for so long, he had plenty of time to hone his acting skills.

It's hard to be gay in the OC. It's the red part in a sea of blue in an electoral map of CA. It's conservative and often not gay friendly, unless you're in Laguna, where the hippie artist liberals hang out (that's not a dig, I love Laguna...and I don't mean the part they showed on MTV's Laguna Beach: the Real OC). A has lived in Orange County his whole life.

Being politically indifferent, A was the first person I thought of to call on Nov. 5th after I heard the news of Prop 8's official passing. After an emotional campaign that elicited passionate responses from normally indifferent individuals (see: Jesse), I was curious to know how A was doing.

His reaction:

I'm sad. I don't get it. When the Supreme Court said we could get married, I was so happy. I felt like, finally, people will start to see us as regular people. Wow. The gays are normal. What a concept, you know. And then the people voted and they're basically saying, we'll never be like everyone else. I just don't get it. I pay taxes too. I vote and go to jury duty and other things that you do. Why am I not allowed to do the same things? Because I'm gay? Because your church says that I chose to be this way and I'm wrong?  Like I had a choice! Bish, PUH-LEASE!

What could I say? I had the same questions. And no answers.


I'm not really a movie goer (I'd rather wait to NetFlix 'em) but I've been excited about Milk. Jesse's been sick but if he feels better this weekend, we're going to go (I think I gave him whatever bug I'm still recovering from). There's Oscar buzz about Sean Penn's and Josh Brolin's performances for those of you who into these things. But that's not why I want to go. I want to know more about the first openly gay man to be elected to public office.

Harvey Milk sounds like a fascinating figure. From what I know, he was part of this team who worked hard to essentially decriminalize homosexual activity (oral sex was illegal then!!! can you imagine?) and help push a gay rights agenda in San Francisco in the 70s. He was a fiscal conservative but socially liberal, opposing government interference in private sexual matters (I can totally get behind THAT). And that's pretty much all I know.

But I want to know more. I know the gay rights movement didn't start yesterday. I need to know about the struggles back then and how they relate to today. Maybe if Milk had come out before the election, Prop 8 wouldn't have passed. Voters would've seen that gays have been around for a long time. They would've seen that they were persecuted and shamed for being who they are. They would've seen that no one would choose to be discriminated against so being gay is NOT a choice.

But most importantly, they would've seen that gays are just fighting for something they should already have--the same rights as everyone else.


Generation Next said...

I heard a bit on NPR about Milk. Apparently it was also a political situation as there was a lot of change going on at that time. I'd like to see the movie too. Diane Feinstein was also involved.

anOCgirl said...

i love dianne feinstein since she's so awesome. i read somewhere that she's the one who discovered milk's body, which is a horrible, horrible thing to witness.

instatick said...

I also heard a little bit about Milk on NPR recently.

I can also totally relate to what you said about not being able to talk about Prop 8, I'm just too pissed, too bitter and too hostile to make sense of my thoughts on it...