Thursday, January 08, 2009
Back to the Movies
I better catch up on the movies. Last week we also saw Milk, which tells the story of Harvey Milk's activism and election in San Francisco during the 1970's. Milk was a resident of the Castro district, the gay village in San Fran. After several failed attempts he was elected as a city supervisor, the first openly gay man to be voted in to a significant public office in the United States.
Milk also opposed legislation which would have made it illegal to be a teacher and homosexual in California. Religious leaders and personalities such as Anita Bryant led a relentless campaign to ban gays from teaching and other public offices, but in the end they were defeated. President Jimmy Carter, a committed Christian, opposed the legislation.
Watching this story made me think of how often people tell me that they believe in rights for gays and lesbians, but... They usually go on to tell me which rights they don't want extended to homosexuals. It also reminded me of how much societal attitudes have changed and the degree to which I have been pushed to address my own prejudices and stereotypes through my lifetime. This has obviously been one of the most controversial areas the church has addressed in the past forty years, and it still leads to tension and division.
This is a well made and well acted film and Sean Penn is brilliant, once again. Would you be comfortable watchng a film such as Milk? Have your attitudes and perceptions changed over time?