Gus Van Sant: Happy Milk Came Out AFTER Prop 8

Sean Penn with Gus Van Sant at the 18th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards on Tuesday night

QUEERTY REPORTS — “A new step” in gay cinema is how director Gus Van Sant described his Harvey Milk biopic last night at a Q&A following a screening at the the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Queerty attended, if only to see if Van Sant was as charmingly handsome as he seemed in his Entourage cameo. (Answer: He most certainly is.) Fielding a handful of questions after Milk‘s credits rolled, Van Sant was lauded by the audience. A 25-year-old blonde New York transplant, who says he is still harassed daily, even in New York, and saw new hope in the film, gave the director a tearful “thank you.” An executive from the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home to New York’s gay-friendly Harvey Milk High School, attended with some of his students, and commended Van Sant for perfectly capturing Milk’s “legacy.” And of course, somebody asked the director how he felt the film could have impacted Proposition 8, if only it came out before the election. And that’s where he surprised us:

Focus Features and Van Sant could’ve rushed the film out before California’s Proposition 8 vote, the director said, but they didn’t even hear about the measure until July, and at that point it wasn’t polling well and didn’t have much support, so there wasn’t reason to think the movie would need to impact the outcome. (He also didn’t want to put Milk out before Prop. 8 in case the movie sucked and would’ve helped pass Prop. 8, he joked.)

But now that the vote is over, Prop. 8 passed, and Milk came out a month later, how does Van Sant feel?

Actually, he said, he’s happy about Milk‘s post-election timing, because seeing the film will make people “wise up” to gay civil rights, which will do more than passing “just one proposition.”

Not sure we entirely agree with that sentiment, but that’s just poetic license.

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  • Leland Frances

    Oh, fucking Joseph and Mary! Pull your balls back down! And spare us another “Anderson Cooper ‘He’s Cute So He Can Do Whatever He Wants’ Award.” You KNOW what he said was retarded and deserving of being flamed under your broiler. They didn’t even “know” about Prop H8TE until JULY? It’s “JUST one proposition”?

    I’d thought that the shame of the script rewriting history to say Harvey was the “first openly gay man elected to major public office” when he wasn’t [it was Minnesota legislator Allen Spear, and, NO, that is NOT a put down of Harvey!] was the result of their deep throating Cleve Jones’ spoon fed Harvey hagiography. But now it’s clear these Holly Woodlawns are not just selectively ignorant about gay political reality but are willfully, ineffably stupid.

    Were Harvey alive HE would be the first to scream, “Are you fucking kidding me?!” and continue with such boiling wrath at such piercing volume that Shamus and Van Sant wouldn’t know whether to just shit or go blind.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Leland Frances:

    You’re absolutely right, Leland. Harvey was a good friend of mine who used to stop by my store in Manhattan regularly to chat prior to his moving to California.

    He was never afraid to speak is mind and let the chips fall where they may which was one of the many things I liked about him. You always knew where you stood with him.

    It bothers me also that Hollywood distorted the facts. Whether this was intentional or just the result of not doing their homework, I know not.

    I also agree that their “position” sucks. HTF could they not have knows about Proposition 8, for crying out loud? And then to add insult to injury my minimalizing it as they did?


  • David Hauslaib, Queerty

    Worth noting: Van Sant readily acknowledged “embellishing” some facts in order to tell the story on screen. For instance, he said they changed the sequence of when Milk recorded his will — in the movie, he records it very close to his death, not just after he was elected.

    Meanwhile, you can revisit Queerty’s take on the movie here.

  • Faberge L'Eggs

    “Unconscionable”? Really?

    I don’t know what’s dumber, assuming that 575,000 Californian homophobes would see a single film and miraculously vote differently, or equating Prop 8 with LGBT rights.

    Marriage is a stupid institution. It’s rooted in patriarchy, property and the stupidest thing that ever was: God. Ideally, you will one day be able to designate anyone (lover(s), relative, friend,) as a civil “spouse” and they will get all the legal rights pertaining to your health and your precious money. Marriage, as such, will be “divorced” from anything religious, but if that’s what you want you can pay a church to do it.

    Until then, there are better things to fight about (like trans rights, housing or the problems older and frequently childless LGBT people have). If you honestly feel oppressed by Prop 8, you have no idea how bad it used to be, and how hard people like Harvey Milk had to fight.

    But that’s a tangent: equating same-sex marriage with the entire movement is totes homonormative, and THAT is unconscionable.

  • Brendan D.

    @Faberge L’Eggs: I agree that there are a slew of other important issues that should not be overshadowed by the fight for equal rights to marriage. I agree that marriage has historically been a flawed institution. Like you, I have little interest in religion or lifelong commitments to monogamy. HOWEVER: You say that people “equating same sex with the entire movement… is unconscionable.” The “movement” is about what we as a community want. Lots of us want trans rights, and that’s part of the movement. Lots of us want better health care, and that’s part of the movement. And, as you may have noticed, lots of us want to get married. Maybe it’s because they’re religious and that’s their choice. Maybe it’s because they want to confirm their commitment to one another. Maybe it’s because they want the tangible and significant legal and economic securities of marriage. What I’m trying to say here is this: your insistence on prescribing what our community wants in terms of marriage is no less unconscionable than it would be for another person to declare that transfolk have no place in the movement or are a lower priority (here’s looking at you, HRC) due to their own personal belief. Yes, YOU may not be interested in marriage. I may not be interested in marriage. But a lot of people are. Our “entire movement” sets its agenda based upon what our community wants. I’m not arguing for a tyranny of the majority here, I’m arguing against one person declaring what is acceptable in terms of our political priorities based on their own notions of what is “homonormative.”

  • Leland Frances

    Faberge de Rotten Eggs, I don’t know what’s dumber: your mimicking the Mormon, Catholic, and assorted Protestant religious fascists in declaring what gays should be allowed to choose to do or not getting that EVERY right we’re denied “equates” with the entire movement.

    And that’s still true regardless of whether or not one chooses to exercise any particular right. Ya don’t wanna get married? Ya don’t wanna adopt kids? Ya don’t wanna be in the military? All fine. But spare us your puerile Papalesque arrogance by declaring what’s stupid for you is stupid for all.

    That’s simply stupid.

    PS: Try to pay attention. Nowhere in the U.S., from Hawaii to Massachusetts to San Francisco’s City Hall, has there been any serious effort to demand “religious” gay marriages. While there are ministers from the mainstream to the lunatic fringe who will marry couples “in the name of God/Goddess/Shiva/Whatever,” I would guess that 75% of those thousands of marriages in MA and CA were performed by “civil” authorities.

    Why? Because they’re “rooted” in love and commitment not “God.” Check out the 21st Century. You might like it.

  • Leland Frances

    “Homonormative”—Brilliant, Brendan! I hope I have your permission to use that term as we are still plagued not just by AIDS but a gay ghettoizing of how the loudest among us would decree how each of us is to live his/her life.

    While I preach being out to everyone in one’s live within earshot that would not GENUINELY endanger one’s financial or literal survival [telling Islamic slime who’ve kidnapped you Iraq that you’re gay might be unwise], beyond that, as Miss Patti would sing: “Be yourself and no one else!”

  • Cody

    I saw the film last night and I think that the only thing unconscionable is that we are all sitting here behind our computer screens bitching and not out there doing what Harvey Milk encouraged people to do.

    I think that the movie would have done wonders for people that were unsure of how to vote. Seriously.

    It was an emotional movie and from the moment it started until the moment it ended it was hard to hold back the tears. What makes it so sad, is that it is so apparent that people hate and hated us for no reason. I mean, police used to raid gay bars (an beat the patrons) and the press used to publicly shame homosexuals for NO REASON – and they’d get away with it. Now they accuse us of going on witch hunts and creating blacklists. Well, FUCK THEM…at least we aren’t physically attacking people and denying them civil rights.

    I’m not sure if this is as much of an emotional issue for everyone, but I know that for me…it is. See, I grew up in North Dakota and moved away from the Midwest to get away from bigotry and ignorant people. It seemed a slap in the face that my beloved CA would actually mimic the actions of a largely uneducated set in rural areas. SLAP.

    The movie had historical footage in it that repeated nearly WORD FOR WORD what people are saying in defense of Proposition 8 in 2008. It’s scary.

    I think we are doing the work and LIFE of Harvey Milk a disservice by sitting idly and complaining on blogs about Hollywood and what the director could have done or about how the MOVIE (yes, a commercial movie that was made to make money and sell tickets) wasn’t accurate or interesting or blah blah blah. It is not THEIR responsibility. It is ours. So quit bitching and get out of your goddamn seats and into the streets.

  • Cody

    Oh, and you old queens that seem to be only capable of name dropping and throwing around the fact that you’re older and have seen more: Where the fuck are you at? Grow some balls and organize this community – the community that you seem to know oh so well…

  • Leland Frances

    You seem to have bought your ticket to “Milk” almost totally ignorant of our community’s past. How old are YOU? 12? Surely, Shirley, your Mama can cosign to get you a library card with which you might check out books [you do know what a book is, we hope] in which you could read [you can read, we hope] about our past.

    Start with “The Gay Crusaders,” “Gay Militants,” “Making History,” “The Other Side of Silence,” “Out for Good,” “Out of the Past,” “Coming Out Under Fire,” “Conduct Unbecoming,” “The Celluloid Closet,” “Odd Girls & Twilight Lovers,” “Long Road to Freedom,” and David Carter’s “Stonewall,” and then give us a call.

    But if the sound of your lips smacking as they move while you read irritates everyone around you, you could always borrow/rent/buy documentaries like “Word Is Out,” “Gay U.S.A.” “Before Stonewall,” “After Stonewall,” “Paragraph 175,” doc versions of “Coming Out Under Fire” and “The Celluloid Closet,” and what some consider far superior to the fictionalized low fat Milk, “The Times Of Harvey Milk.”

  • Faberge L'Eggs

    Explain to me how marriage as an institution is not completely rooted in God, normativity, getting your mother to approve of your relationship, a niggling self-doubt that demands State approval for sexual behaviors that are commonly considered deviant or unhealthy, etc.

    Explain how same-sex marriage is not homonormative. You may not like the pejoration, but that doesn’t change the way it is.

    Be a renegade and live in sin! (Note: I do not subscribe to the metaphysical notion of sin). Sodomy is fun! It’s dirty! Part of the pleasure is the ‘wrongness.’ My favorite thing about Milk was the frank sexual politics. Harvey Milk frequently conscripted cute boys to work for him. 1970s San Francisco was a playground and Gus Van Sant isn’t shy about it. (Obviously, HIV complicates a return to that easily-mythologized golden age, but still).

    If people want to get married, they should. I voted against Prop 8 here in SF because it’s wrong, wrong for all the reasons you think it’s wrong. However, as I said, it’s equating that fight (or the fight to win the right to kill Muslims alongside hetero-Americans) with a movement that used to be radical is now horribly normal.

    The fight for marriage fairness is currently the paradigmatic rights claim in the community’s struggle. It shouldn’t be. There are worthier causes to donate millions of dollars to. It’s not fascist to point this out. (And could ‘fascist’ be a bigger cliche?)

    Nothing proves this better than how HRC (which, as Brendan D. points out, deliberately excludes transgender people from their advocacy) has a store on Castro and 19th Street where they sell ‘gay’ products. Gross! Don’t defend the most oppressed minority of all, buy a cap.

  • Cody

    Case in point: A lot of condescending talk toward other gay people and no useful/thoughtful action.

    I don’t know how you can assume that I am unaware of the history of our community from what I previously wrote, but of course, you do. Education isn’t to be used in a condescending and bitchy way toward people. It is to be used to make a better world.

    Listen, I don’t know you, and I’m not judging you (but seeing how you take offense to what I wrote previously, maybe I should be) but I see way too much windbag crap on here. I’m sure you are very educated in the sense that you’ve read a lot and perhaps you’ve earned a few degrees from very respectable institutions, but education is useless if one doesn’t do anything with it. Again, I don’t know you so I’m not aware of what you’ve done, but from your comments on this blog, it seems you know only how to bitch at and marginalize your own community. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s exactly what you’ve done in your last post.

    Being condescending toward somebody because they are of a younger generation (“…your Mama can cosign to get you a library card…”) is certainly not admirable – but if you are so wise and educated about the subject – why aren’t you leading OUR community to end this bullshit?

    That is all I’m asking. If you know so much about the gay rights movement and we don’t (the younger generation), why aren’t you stepping up to the plate?

    Sitting behind a computer and CONSTANTLY picking on people of your own community because they are so uneducated is not being as productive as you could be…in my opinion.

    Why aren’t you out there educating and being kind to the younger gay people you so deplore?

  • Leland Frances

    So sorry, Cody. I guess someone else wrote “you old queens” and signed your name. It happens.

    Note, however, the topic of this particular thread was, as I understood it, how Van Sant & Co. might have failed in their potential for helping defeat Prop H8TE. In expressing my belief that they did, I elaborated that such choices on their part, and his revelations about their ignorance about Prop H8TE and its significance were yet further manifestations of the ignorance they demonstrated in unnecessarily reinforcing certain Milk myths.

    That does not take away from his actual accomplishments but, as I’ve written elsewhere, I believe Truth not Hagiography will help set us free. While my posts might read like simple, armchair bitching, if you look closer you might discover the intent to educate in order to ACTivate. I repeatedly write here and other sites variations on “Out of the blogs and into the streets.”

    And while I believe sharing informed opinions is justification enough for anyone posting, for the record I have been the head of a university LGBT group, the president of a gay political group in a major city, participated in numerous demonstrations for gay rights, racial equality, and peace, helped organize numerous gay, AIDS, and antiwar fundraising events, appeared on television and in print discussing gay rights and peace, was a volunteer coordinator for the anti Anita Bryant campaign in Miami, have been denied promotions for being gay, fired for being gay, been physically attacked for my antiwar work and for simply being gay, and this year alone contribued thousands of dollars to promote gay equality and justice and fight AIDS.

  • Cody

    I guess I aspire to be an old queen…fact of life. Sorry if you took offense but that is hardly a reason to question another person’s intellect! Living in San Francisco one is constantly reminded that we are all a mistake away from a (certainly) life changing and deadly disease.

    So please don’t be offended by the old queen comment. Sarcasm doesn’t transfer well without intonation…not in my case anyway…

  • Ben

    Oh no.

    This isn’t another game of “Let’s Provocatively Shame the Producers of Milk For Not Granting Us The Supreme Salvation That We Foolishly Required From It” ®2008 … it? I know it’s almost as fun as the Blame Game, but I really think we’ve had enough of that for now.

    Can you please post some full quotes instead of paraphrasing? And/or move on. I love Gus Van Sant. I’m glad he made this movie. I’m glad he’s happy that he did, too. It came out when it came out. By insinuatingly casting shame on them (as if they were our only hope) is so divisive, not to mention completely worthless.

  • Joseph Mills

    I bought my megaphone and I am protesting in Atlanta at Lennox Mall 12/13.

    My name is Joseph Mills and I am here to recruit you.

    enough talking… I am acting.

  • Todd

    You know, it’s encouraging to read a comment thread like this on a gay blog. A conversation has started. Prop 8 and Milk have allowed us to vent, to converse, to articulate our feelings and opinions. All good. The older of us have our opinions and we oldsters don’t always agree but thrown up against the younger set who really don’t agree with us, is so good and so positive. It’s about damn time the entire community talked and hashed out things. We’re different but we’re still a community. Personally, I find the new Queerty a bit flip, but I wouldn’t miss reading it every day. I love it. In fact I never commented until now, that should say something. Our community is going to get stronger, but only if we, all of us, communicate. Thanks Queerty.

  • Garrett in SF

    Also, we’ve posted online a number of award-winning documentaries that you can use to help people understand LGBT equality. The films are designed to discuss homophobia thru a cultural lens and help parents, co-workers, friends, understand LGBT issues. You can view them for free online at

  • Cody

    And all I am saying is that if some older, more knowledgeable guys would step up I would gladly spend every waking hour helping them and learning as much as I could from them.

    My problem is that I have no experience with community organization and very little with activism but at this point in time there is nothing that I would be happier dedicating my time and hard work to.

    Me being a bit provocative about this is really just a bad way of venting my frustrations.

    Day after day I read in the newspapers opinions and viewpoints from the people that helped pass proposition 8 but never from the other side. Why is this? Its frustrating. And as Leland touched on…who is gonna listen to a young and inexperienced person like me?

    I am just calling for somebody to step up to the plate and be an example for us younger guys to follow and learn from hands on experience and work…not through blogs…

  • M Shane

    I don’t know about you, queerty, but from everything I know regarding the deterioration of the gay rights movement over the past 15 +years Van Sant could not be wiser and more
    Perhaps you need to have lived before the onset of the deludinoid assimilationists (Andrew Sullivan and Bawer)
    torqued peoples brains into buying the myth that they were really part of the mainstream and not a minority . Like Gus says folks ‘wise up’ : or keep being fucked up.

  • Garrett in SF

    Cody: If Prop.8 has taught us anything, its that we can’t wait around for someone to lead us.

    If there is something you want to do, do it. If there is an idea you have, enact it. Whatever you do, don’t just sit there.

    Get out and talk to people openly. Live your life openly. You’ll have more impact than you’ll ever know just by doing that.

  • jguard

    I think we have to work with what we have. Would it have been nice to have the movie show BEFORE the election-Yes, I do. But did it? No. Ok, so what do we have? Well, we still have an exceptionally well made movie with a powerful message. Laws change all the time, and this movie can be fuel, a catalyst that can steer a national consensus in the direction of giving us the rights we deserve.

  • Drake Roberts

    FYI Leland Frances: Allen Spear came out of the closet two years after being elected, so Harvey Milk was, in fact, the first openly gay man elected to public office.

  • jerry pritikin

    The Movie “Milk” had several timline and location changes… and some that eraces my footnote to gay history, by changing the ending of the impromptu march as the result of the Dade County Vote. According to them, the march ended at City Hall… and it was Union Square. The also noted that Robert Hillsbough died 4 years before he was murdered just days before the 1977 S.F. Gay day Parade. THE FACTS MAYBE OUT OF SEQUENCEM BUT DOES NOT TAKE AWAY FROM EDUCATING SO MANY WHO NEVER HEARD OF MILK. The movie gave much time to the
    Cleve Jones march regarding Wichita, but that came almost a year after Dade, and loses in St.Paul and Eugene. I recommend a website that is a great repository of the evolution of the Castro and Harvey Milk… it is not a recreation… with real images and stories by those of us who were there. and mine at

  • Braeden

    Why are old gay men so angry all the time?

  • Charles J. Mueller


    >”Why are old gay men so angry all the time?”

    Because, Cody, we have listened to so much shit over the course of a lifetime, similar to what we are hearing from you, that it is coming out of our fucking eyeballs!!!

    You come across sounding so much like the old joke about a young man seeking employment.

    “Hire me now…while I still know everything!”

    I am 72 years old, Cody and I sure as shittin’ don’t need to be pistol-whipped by someone young enough to be my grandson. Show a little more fucking respect (and gratitude)for your elders, those who preceded ahead of you and what they have already done for you, for crying out loud. And get off your holier-than-thou-platform and quit the finger waggling. It sucks and we don’t deserve it, God damn, it! Does that sound angry enough for you?

    I have been out and politically active since the age of 16 and like Leland, I too have been around the block a few times. I won’t bore you with the list of activities and events in which I have embroiled myself all these years, but I can safely assure you that I have participated in most of things Leland and many of us “old timers” have…and perhaps then some. We’ve paid our dues, kid. It’s time for others to pick up the torch and run with it.

    And, despite my age and a few medical problems that I could easily use as an excuse to not participating, I was on the the street (again)in front of the Tampa City Hall on the National Day of Protest that took place the week following the passing of Prop. 8 in Ca. as well as similar props. in AZ, AK and right here in my home state of Florida with Prop. 2.

    So don’t you dare admonish me or anyone else on these forums that are in my age group of “just sitting on our asses in front of a computer screen.” And as Leland also pointed out, that too is a way of being involved and continuing the good fight, especially for those who are wheel-chair bound or physically incapable of marching or being in the streets. How arrogant of you to marginalize those who would like to do more, but are no longer capable of doing so.

    I understand your frustration, Cody. Perhaps no one is listening to people of your age. if it is any consolation to you, however, no one is listening to us old farts either. Prop. 8 was a glaring example of the fact that no one is listening, despite all the time, effort and money many of us threw at it.

    Personally, I disagree that no one is listening to the youth of today. Many fine young folks, just like yourself, str8 and gay alike, are being very vocal about the injustices we in the GLBT community live with daily. We hear about them daily in the numerous gay blogs that did not exist in my time.

    Do not underestimate the power of the written word. The Internet has brought the LGBT community together in a way I could never have imagined when I was your age, Cody. A good exmaple of that cohesiveness we now enjoy, was the rapidity with which the National Day of Protest was put together and the sheer number of people who turned out for it all across America. I sincerely dought that such a large undertaking could ever have taken place in my day.

    Garrett in SF said if far more eloquently that I ever could. Stop waiting for someone to “lead” you. The trannies, the drag queens and gay guys just like me, had no one to lead us at Stonewall. We took the bull by the horns and did what needed doing. The rest, as they say, is history.

    In closing, Cody, I have bad news and I have good news for you.

    The bad news is, there is no savior coming.

    The good news is, YOU can save your own ass!

    I appreciate and applaud the fact that you are anxious to see change and want to help turn the recent tide of events that are just as upsetting and demoralizing to us older gays as it is to young men like yourself. That is most admirable and I applaud you for it.

    You need to remember, however, that we older gay men lived through times that you’d have a problem with, had you been there with us. You enjoy freedoms today, that did not exist in my time and those freedoms were brought about, in part, by the actions of older gay men like Leland and myself who were out there in the streets, protesting, zapping, sitting-in, marching and doing everything in our power to bring about positive change and make life for the gay community a more meaningful and fulfilling experience.

    In my lifetime, I belonged to more gay organizations that I can recall or list here, many of which no longer exist or simply outlived their need like the GAA firehouse in NYC.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    My apologies for the bad continuity of my post.

    I should have composed this in Microsoft Word where I could have spell-checked and edited before posting. Trying to compose a meaningful post in a postage-sized box is tedious and at best, frustrating.

  • Cody

    I think you have misunderstood. First, I didn’t ask why old gay men are so angry all the time…that was somebody else.

    Second, I never said or implied that one should hire me while I still know everything – if you had read my earlier comments closely you would have read something entirely different. I said that I am unexperienced and that I would love to work for somebody and learn as much as I can from them because I am clueless and could learn a lot from somebody that actually KNOWS something.

    I understand that you were out at a time when it was super dangerous to be out, but that doesn’t make you a martyr and it doesn’t make you any different than a lot of younger people today. I could share my horror stories about growing up gay in North Dakota, getting my ass kicked, being forced to drop out of high school, blah, blah, blah, but I’m sure you can imagine.

    Just because I went through that horrible crap doesn’t mean that it lessens the impact on the people that are going through it right now – probably in a very similar way. I feel for those people and if anything, my experience makes me want to make it better for those people – not degrade them because I went through it first. You seem to think that your fights, troubles, and triumphs have lessened the effect… News: It hasn’t and hate crimes continue to rise.

    You talk about things that you’ve seen in your lifetime like they no longer exist and like they are no longer very serious and dangerous issues…that is not the case…as you well know.

    So, please, next time you spout of your “angry” BS, carefully read what we are saying and maybe try to respond in a more thoughtful and meaningful way. Blame and false martyrdom are not going to get you anywhere…not in my book anyway.

    I appreciate everything you have done, and thank you, but we still have a lot of work to do.

  • chuck


    Cody, my sincere apologies for a attributing the “Why are old gay men so angry all the time?” comment to you. That was, indeed, somebody else and if I’d had my bi-focals on at the time I read your comment and replied, I would have realized that. I hate the damned things and find every excuse in the world not to wear them. Mea culpa.

    I think perhaps we have both misunderstood each other. You did, in fact, emphasize the fact that you were looking to learn as much as you can from others. That is very commendable, to be sure. I would never take issue with that.

    Judging from the tone of your reply, however, there is definitely a generation gap here that I am certain contributes heavily toward the misunderstanding of each other. From your point of view, I am just an “angry” old BS artist and from my point of view, you are a young snot-nose who is still wet behind the ears and has a lot to learn. That makes us about even, doesn’t it? lol

    As to being a martyr, I have never thought of myself in that venue. I acted on my own impulses, did what I felt what needed to be done and have no regrets. All in all, I have had a very good, happy and fulfilling life for which I am appreciative. I refrain from saying thankful, because that would imply that I owe it all to some sky daddy and that taking any credit for helping to bring it about, would come off as sounding self-serving to many who post on these blogs.

    No need to share your horror stories with me. Been there and done them all, starting with getting my ass kicked in Sulphur Springs, Fl., being forced to drop out of high school, tossed out of home at the age of14 and forced to start supporting myself without any financial help from my family, and as you say, blah, blah, blah. Who really gives a good shit, right? Life’s a bitch and then you die. The important thing is what these experiences taught you and how you use these events to become a better, stronger person.

    Like you, I too feel for people and want to make things better for them, despite your impression that I am a person who simply wants to degrade you because I went through it first and play the role of martyr. If that were true, then everything I have stood for and spent my entire life trying to bring about was just a fucking waste of time.

    You wrote” You seem to think that your fights, troubles and triumphs have lessened the effect…News: It hasn’t and hate crimes continue to rise.

    Apparently we oldsters went though a lot of shit for nothing, and no appreciable change, to hear you speak. How cavalier of you.

    Prior to Stonewall, gay bars were illegal (run by the Mafia) and you could be arrested and put into jail just for being in one.

    Prior to Stonewall, it was common practice for the police dept. to plant cute looking police officers in tight Levi 501s and torso t-shirts in gay bars for the purpose of enticing customers into making a sexual overture, whereupon they were immediately arrested and dragged off to jail.

    Prior to Stonewall, it was illegal for more than three homosexuals to gather on a public street and you could be arrested for “congregating”, and put into jail.

    Prior to Stonewall, anyone who felt like it could beat you up, rob you and leave you for dead and you dared not report it to the police, because you would be told by the police that you deserved it…and would get more of the same (rubber hosing) from the very folks who salaries came out of our taxpayer dollars.

    Prior to Stonewall, police raided illegal gay bars, baths and gay cruising places, rounding us up like cattle and dragging us off to the infamous Tombs where I, along with 100 other unfortunate gay males, got to spent a night in hell for “Violation of the waterfront act”, got fingerprinted and labeled a criminal simply for taking an evening walk on West Street. Back in those days, any old law could be used to arrest homosexuals if they really wanted to.

    Prior to Stonewall, you could not rent an apartment outside of the “gay ghetto” if you were obvious and could not hide your homosexuality.

    Prior to Stonewall, you could not get a job outside of the “gay Ghetto if you were obvious and could not hide your homosexuality.

    I could go on indefinitely, but I don’t wish to add to your conception of us older gays just being a bunch of martyrs. I know that it is difficult for someone of your age to imagine what life was like for gays before Stonewall and all the advances we have made since then. You weren’t there, so how could you know?

    You were born into a world where you have all the freedoms we never had, so it is hard for you to comprehend and understand just how far we have come, just as it is hard to the young people of today to understand that we might all be saluting a Japanese or German Flag had not hundreds of thousands of our American boys given up their lives to WWII to keep America a democracy.

    But, enough of my “angry” BS. You’re absolutely right; we still have a lot of work to do.

    Thanks for the blow-off. You just made me realize what an utter waste of time it is sitting here in front of a computer screen and indulging in these kind of useless conversations.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    When I was just 14 years of age, my father was sent back to his homeland of Germany by the American Immigration authorities because he was an illegal alien. After a separation of 15 years, I managed to get my father back to America, only to lose him to a car crash less than a year later on Christmas Eve. of 1969. That I lost my father, not only as a child but again as a grown man, was heartbreaking.

    New Year’s Eve 2008 will mark 6 years since I met my Philippine partner on line. Once again,my government has made it impossible for me to be with yet another member of my family. This time, by discriminating against me as an American taxpaying citizen and by discriminating against my same-sex partner, both as a Filipino and as a gay may.

    Because of this discrimination, I have been obliged to travel back forth over the Pacific Ocean every year since then and have been forced to set-up another domicile over there, in addition to having to run a business and support a domicile here in America. Not only is this painful to our pocketbooks, especially in this time of economic turmoil, the long months of separation we must endure every year, is also exceedingly painful.

    While I am away from my country, my Medicare will not pay for any of my doctor’s visits, emergency room visits or any of my medications. All these must come out of my own pocket.

    While I am away from my country, my company-paid-for supplemental medical insurance will not pay for any of my doctor’s visits, emergency room visits or any of my medications. All these must come out of my own pocket.

    Because my partner lives in a foreign land, my company-paid-for medical insurance will not pay for any of his doctor’s visits, emergency room visits or any of his medications. These too must come out of my own pocket.

    If I suffer an accident or illness that limits my mobility and/or ability to function, the cost of air-lifing me back to the States for medical care, could cost me $10K or more. Neither medicare or my supplemental insurance policy will pay for those expenses either.

    Not only am I denied the right as a gay man to obtain a green card for my partner and sponsor him for citizenship, we cannot even obtain a visa for him to come to this country.

    Despite the fact that I got my partner successfully registered in a prestigious college here in Florida and was able to provide proof adequate that I could pay his tuition and support him for the four years he would have been here, the American Embassy in Manila, P.I., where we applied for a student visa turned his application down…on three separate occasions.

    The first time around, the reason given for the refusal to grant a student visa to my partner was, “We cannot believe that someone you met on the Internet would be willing to pay for your college tuition and support you while studying.”

    The next two times, the reason given was as follows, and I quote verbatim.

    “We do not have reason to believe that the applicant has sufficient reason to return to the country of his origin after completing his studies.”

    And you want to know why old gay men are so angry all the time?

    Wait until you’re 72 and your government is still fucking around with your personal life and finances.

    Perhaps then, you’ll understand.

  • chuck

    Can anyone, despite the fact that the movie was released on November 26th and the date is now December 9th, why it is not playing anywhere in the state of Florida except Miami?

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