god. it’s like they only ever read half of the story. harvey milk was deeply closeted, deeply concerned with appearing straight and respectable to his colleagues. a math major. served in the navy. worked on wall street while volunteering for the goldwater campaign. and maybe in some lesser, unkind universe, he continued down this soul-destroying path of self-denial. maybe he settled down and married a woman and had a kid or two and died of old age.
but he walked away from it. all of it. came out of the closet and left every semblance of safety to live openly and run for office explicitly to promote the rights of his community. his neighbours. he was a beacon of hope for the gay community, obviously, but there are other folks he helped that you don’t hear about. san francisco’s labour unions. the bay area’s asian-american communities. the city’s underpaid contract workers. his first priorities were constantly and consistently the establishment’s last priorities. and he did all of this while living openly as a gay man, fucking demanding respect, weathering pervasive death threats. do i even need to remind you how his life ended? how his death echoed throughout the gay community? what he inspired?
you don’t get to do this. you don’t get to freeze him in this moment in time, in the closet, and accuse him of retrogressive republicanism when he literally spend the latter half of his life fighting who he had been and the social forces that had made him that way. you don’t get to ignore who he was and what he did and what he stood for. shame.