05:32 am - I'm gettin' all worked up.
One of the most indelible moments in the Academy Award winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk
occurs after the assassination. Dan White has slain Harvey, and the mayor if San Francisco. And in response, our community filled
the streets of the Castro, candles in hand, and marched in a moving testament to their grief and solidarity.
But one lone voice cut through the sobs and whispered reverance. Tom Ammiano recalls a seemingly homeless man crying out to the tens of thousands marching, "Where is your anger?
Harvey Milk, our first openly gay elected official, had been murdered by a small-minded, jealous, bigoted heterosexual. We were robbed of a hero. We were reduced immeasurably in our representation. We lost a clarion voice for our silenced majority, and we responded to that violence en masse, with a loving tribute instead of storming City Hall and demanding retribution.
But when Dan White escaped the murder conviction, we found our anger, and it wasn't pretty. But the legacy of our outrage is openly gay and lesbian elected officials all across the nation.
Decades later, when an overpowered Mathew Sheppard was found slumped on a lonely Wyoming fence, tears streaking, the lifeblood dried on his face, again the cry went out... "Where is your anger?
Many of us called to the community for action, for justice, for an end to free speech, for politicians and religious leaders and community watchdogs who spread bigotry and encouraged such violence. Most of our anger was drowned in our sorrow, and silenced in rhetoric. But enough remained to begin anti-hate-crime bills in city and states.
And now we have witnessed an election season where even our friends felt free to spit on us. No one was surprised to hear G.W.Bush call for legislation against us, but where were our allies
? John Kerry, for whom I hosted the most profitable GLBT fundraising dinner ever held in New York, told the nation he would support a constitutional ammendment in Massachutets to ban
Can you imagine? Instead of standing up and saying, "Hey, we've had gay marriage for months in Massachetutes and no one's getting hurt, no one's getting special rights, no heterosexual marriage is suffering. So let's stop the panic, and act like rational adults.
" Instead of standing up for reason and equal justice, he used his national platform to say, that is was okay to discriminate. With friends like Kerry, we might as well have Clinton.
Oh, I know there are those among us who think Clinton was our pal, and I am certainly among those who are grateful that Bill spoke our name, and hired us openly for his White House, and treated us with a modicum of respect. But let us not forget that it was on his watch that the Defense of Marriage Act
was created, and he
signed it into law. And it was on his watch that Don't Ask, Don't Tell
became official policy, causing higher rates of anti-gay violence, and record-breaking discharges from service. Where was our anger then?
My brothers and sisters, I'm not usually an alarmist. But I feel that someone needs to say this. If they can so easilly pass laws to ban us from marriage, none
of our rights can be taken for granted. If Community Standards is reason enough to legislate anti-gay discrimination, the backslide of our freedom has just begun. I beg out, take a long, hard look at the election results from around the country, get in touch with your anger, and put it to work. If we do not, I promise our community will be attacked by the Fascist Right in the name of decency and family values with unprecedented vigor. Better to find your anger now, than wait for the next election and ask, "Where are my rights?
- Harvey Fierstein, Where is our Anger?0 comments