May 22 marks Harvey Milk Day. Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, making him one of the first openly gay people to be elected. He fought for the rights of all minorities on the grounds that such rights are inextricably linked, and that without such a fight minorities would be crushed by the mainstream. He was assassinated in November 1978. Harvey Milk Day was declared official in 2009 by the wily California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The political right is kicking back against Harvey Milk Day, and in a radio advertisement calls on California parents to keep their children out of school “on and around May 22”.
“Parents, your boys and girls are being targeted for immoral indoctrination at school on Harvey Milk Day. Given this man’s notorious agenda against marriage, family, morality, and God himself, you’ll be shocked at what Harvey Milk Day will teach boys and girls as young as kindergarten.”
The idea of the ad is to strike fear into the hearts of parents. Unlike the “pro-family” group Save California, the warped minds behind this campaign, Milk stood for an inclusive society rather than prejudice and conjecture. The historian John D’Emilio said on the twentieth anniversary of Milk’s assassination, “The legacy that I think he would want to be remembered for is the imperative to live one’s life at all times with integrity.”
Save California is headed by a man called Randy Tomasson. He’s obsessed with claims that homosexual activists are “brainwashing” students. He is firmly opposed to any brainwashing but his own. Responding to Senator Ted Lieu’s bill to restrict the practice of “reparative therapy”, he concluded,
“It’s actually hateful toward children of stopping parents from seeking help for their molested boys or confused boys, and stopping loving Christian professionals from helping people charitably with their hearts and professionally through their services.”
In other words, repression is charity, humiliation is the work of the loving, and all homosexuals molest boys. This is what Harvey Milk stood against. It is to dishonour the work of the man to make the claims that Save California make in this campaign.