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11/29/2018 01:49 pm ET

Harvey Milk 'Would Have Gone Directly' After Trump, Dustin Lance Black Says

The "Milk" screenwriter said the late politician's work stands as a "message of hope" for young LGBTQ people.
Harvey Milk would "have seen Trump as an opportunity to get the LGBTQ<br> community to re-engage, to shake off any complacenc
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Harvey Milk would "have seen Trump as an opportunity to get the LGBTQ
community to re-engage, to shake off any complacency,” Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black said.  

LONDON, Nov 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The legacy of
openly gay U.S. politician Harvey Milk, assassinated exactly 40
years ago, has never been as critical with LGBT+ rights under
threat around the world, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of the
2008 film “Milk” said on Tuesday.

“I think Harvey Milk would have gone directly after (U.S.
President Donald) Trump,” U.S. film-maker, writer and activist
Dustin Lance Black told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an
interview.

“He would have seen Trump as an opportunity to get the LGBTQ
community to re-engage, to shake off any complacency.”

The Trump administration moved in 2017 to ban transgender
people from serving in the U.S. military.

LGBT+ rights are also under threat elsewhere in the world,
Black added.

In 2013, Russia passed a “gay propaganda” law aimed at
banning the promotion of homosexuality to children.

“Minority rights must always be vigilantly defended,” said
Black, 44, who lives in London with his British Olympic diver
husband Tom Daley and their son.

“Every minority has to defend the freedoms that the previous
generation has won – and we have to do that vigorously.”

Milk was the first openly gay person elected to public
office in California, becoming a member of San Francisco’s board
of supervisors in 1977.

Earlier this year, a study estimated 0.1 percent of U.S.
elected public officials - or 559 people - were openly LGBT+,
while Jared Polis became the country’s first openly gay man
elected to governor, in Colorado, earlier this month.

Whilst in office for only 11 months, Milk has since been
widely recognized as one of the world’s most influential LGBT+
politicians.

He was killed at the age of 48 by a fellow San Francisco
city official on November 27 1978.

His life and work stands as a “message of hope for young
people that you can be open about who you are and still be loved
and succeed,” Black said.

“In fact, your life will get better when you come out.”

Black, who won the 2009 Academy Award for writing the
screenplay to the Gus Van Sant-directed film, which starred Sean
Penn in the lead role, said Milk’s message that “hope will never
be silent” still resonated today.

Penn won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Milk,
whilst Van Sant was nominated for best director.

“Forty years later, we’re still talking about this
revolutionary idea that he had,” Black said. “That by coming out
you could dispel myths and stereotypes.

“It was an incredibly helpful message for people who didn’t
have a whole lot of hope before gay liberation lit up.”
(Reporting by Hugo Greenhalgh @hugo_greenhalgh; Editing by
Belinda Goldsmith
Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm
of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian news, women’s and
LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate
change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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