As an openly gay man, I have a debt of gratitude to those LGBT people who lived their lives honestly and openly during times when people could serve prison time for being gay. Up until 2003 (Lawrence v Texas), it was still legal for gays to be imprisoned in many states. In fact, because of the virulent anti-gay laws passed in 2004 in Georgia, my husband and I decided to move to Oregon, where we have much greater legal protection. Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected and serve in public office.
Milk was not in office for a full year before he was assassinated in 1978, but he did manage to pass a gay rights ordinance for the city of San Francisco and increased visibility for all LGBT people. My hope is that with the way in which I live my life and through this blog, I might make it easier for generations of LGBT youth that follow me. We plant trees from which we will not enjoy their shade. Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
I cannot prevent anyone from getting angry, or mad, or frustrated. I can only hope that they’ll turn that anger and frustration and madness into something positive, so that two, three, four, five hundred will step forward, so the gay doctors will come out, the gay lawyers, the gay judges, gay bankers, gay architects … I hope that every professional gay will say ‘enough’, come forward and tell everybody, wear a sign, let the world know. Maybe that will help.