Today is Harvey Milk Day. Had he not been assassinated in 1978, today would be his 86th birthday.
Milk’s legacy is tied more to the values for which he stood than to the historic significance of his being elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Milk inspired many young people to break down the closet door, including myself. Today, we should take a few moments to reread his words that inspired a generation.
“Gay brothers and sisters,… You must come out. Come out… to your parents… I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth!”
“To sit on the front steps — whether it’s a veranda in a small town or a concrete stoop in a big city — and to talk to our neighborhoods is infinitely more important than to huddle on the living-room lounger and watch a make-believe world in not-quite living color.”
“I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up, and let that world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would imagine..”
“I was born of heterosexual parents. I was taught by heterosexual teachers in a fiercely heterosexual society. Television ads and newspaper ads — fiercely heterosexual. A society that puts down homosexuality. And why am I a homosexual if I’m affected by role models? I should have been a heterosexual. And no offense meant, but if teachers are going to affect you as role models, there’d be a lot of nuns running around the streets today.”
“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door in the country.”
Have a great day! We are all able to live more open lives due to optimism and activism of Harvey Milk.