May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and May 22 is Harvey Milk Day. So this week we're going to look at issues in activism in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
We're going to start out with Harvey Milk as a statewide activist, a role near and dear to us at the Tennessee Equality Project. Take a look at this fascinating interview Milk gave about the Briggs Initiative (Proposition 6) that would have banned gays and lesbians from working in California's public schools:
In some ways, the whole movement is summed up in this interview. Milk moves easily from local to state to federal politics. He is fully conversant with the religious arguments and is staking out a constructive position of his own. He takes the divisions within the community in stride and calls everyone to get involved rather than criticize. He's making common cause with labor and racial and ethnic minorities. He presents in ten minutes so much of the blue print we're still trying to follow today. Best of all, he represents American optimism at its best, an optimism that was richly rewarded with the defeat of the Briggs Initiative.