Know Our History!

By Daniel Coriell also known as

Harvey Milk

As we begin Pride month, we need to take time to reflect on our past leaders that have paved the way for us to be able to be who we are; out, proud and loud. We must never allow the hate and bigotry to silence us again. We will never go back! As a gay man at the ripe age oftwenty two, born in the 21st century, who grew up closeted in a small rural town in easternWashington I will admit I don’t know a lot about gay history. One man that I have learnedwas a real trailblazer was the great Harvey Milk. Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, I took the time to educate myself on this remarkable person. He impacted so many of us, even in my generation, as he afforded us the opportunity and the inspiration to proudly be who we are. That lesson continues to be important even now. I wanted to remind us of what he got us through and how it continues to be relevant.

Before Harvey Milk became the man we know he was a nearly forty year old man in a lackluster job, closeted, and afraid of being who he truly was……sound familiar? Like many of us Harvey had a realization that at forty it was time to stop living as what he was told to be and to start actually enjoying life as his authentic self, to allow himself to be happy. So he packed up and moved with his new lover across the country in hopes of a happier, more authentic life. What he was welcomed with was the same hate he was trying to flee from. This new found out and proud Harvey was no longer going to be silent; he knew it was time to fight. After many failed attempts at pursuing public office he was able to become the first openly gay elected official. His most notable challenge, besides being an openly gay man in politics, was Proposition 6 which proposed to ban gays and lesbians (even perceived) from working within the California public school system. His opponents would claim that the gay teachers were exposing children to being gay in order to try to convert them. Now doesn’t that sound all too familiar? Harvey was able to ignite a spark under the people still in the dark by being loud, out, and proud.He rallied the gay community together, which in return shut down prop 6. This truly just goes to show when we unite there is nothing we can’t do.

You all might be thinking okay why is this young man preaching to us about things that so many of us already know? Well I wanted to remind us all of our past because it is quite relevant within today’s current events.After our huge win in 2015 with gay marriage being legalized. Almost ten years later they are once again trying to keep us down and trying to silence us from being out and proud anywhere. It seems as if we are again fighting the same fight that Harvey fought so long ago. This Pride Month we need to show the World we will NOT go back and that it is time to march again and be even louder, more out, and proud. I leave you with some wise words that ring so true even today, as the great Harvey Milk would say; “I recruit you!”

Learn More about Harvey Milk!

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