Assistant Professor Don Bruce
9 March 2013
Be Heroic, Make a Point
Have you ever imagined living in a world so cruel that a man or a woman could not become a political leader? Harvey Milk is a prime example of this situation. Based on a true story, Milk is a 2008 film directed by Gus Van Sant on an American gay activist who struggles for gay rights. It all started in the 1970’s when he lived in New York opening a camera shop, Castro Camera, which becomes the store for San Francisco’s increasing gay community. Throughout the process Milk organizes gays to pull together upon political coalition. Milk moves to San Francisco while running for office with his significant other Scott Smith as his campaign director. Harvey Milk runs several times for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and finally wins. Milk became the first openly gay man to be selected in politics. I agree with this inspiring film on a gay activist with passion who came through showing the world it doesn’t matter who you are, become what you want.
As I compared my life to the film, I realized I have a certain someone that goes through some of the same cruelty day to day. I grew up with a brother who came out when he was a sophomore. This was a big issue where I come from because my town is very stereotyped. I’m from a small town where if you were different from everyone else, you were very easily judged by everything you did. Therefore, it was a very difficult process for my family and I to accept. We all had to cope with the challenges that came along. As I continued to watch the movie, I saw several comparisons that related from Milk to my brother. They are both willing to keep fighting in any situation. My brother moved from our small town of about 2,000 to the city of Columbus. Now he interacts with other gays and fits within the community much better. He felt like such an embarrassment to my family because he was different than everyone else. Despite the circumstances, we all are the same at heart.
As the film showed different scenes about Milk continuing to grow gay rights, really let us see the passion he had. He was so committed to his work that no one would put him down, no matter the circumstances. Milk stated, “Without hope, life’s not worth living.” This quote shows the importance of how he was going to succeed. Overtime, Harvey was threatened by being told that no one wanted to accept gays into society. The way society is today, people are going to outrage and do unnecessary things because they don’t agree. Milk had the passion and courage to stay strong and continue to fight. Not only for the political purpose, but for spreading gay rights and having them be accepted throughout the world. Anything you put your mind to, be faithful and achieve that certain something.
Throughout the movie, Milk builds a relationship with his much younger lover, Scott Smith. Milk and Smith decided to start their own business, Castro Camera, to openly broaden the gay community. This allowed for any gay people to come out and be accepted to everyone else. Also, besides selling cameras, film, and taking photographs, Castro Camera was where Harvey Milk campaigned to run for office. This business became a very popular spot because he changed it into a social aspect. The establishment of this company brought these two together and formed a tight connection between them. Allowing for Smith to always have Milk’s back in whatever he wanted to do. Smith being dedicated to Milk’s work at all times formed a strong bond, yet a shaky ride throughout the process. Smith was willing to have his back and help him, but Milk took advantage of him and focused more on himself. This slightly affected their relationship, but they both had compassion for one another that kept them to have a stable connection.