SAN FRANCISCO LGBT PRIDE PARADE MESSAGE: ‘INCLUSION’ NOT ‘TOLERANCE’ – INSISTS STUART MILK, NEPHEW OF MARTYRED HARVEY MILK

PARADE CROWD GIVES NEWSOM ROCK STAR OVATION

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Sherri Black-White, left, and partner Shidiva Black-White walk yesterday
in San Francisco’s gay pride parade

BY PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2008

All eyes yesterday were on this very town that shin-kicked California into legalizing same-sex marriage, a town where LGBT joy and pride Sunday burst unabashed.

Unabashed.

A day to roar with joy for love of life, of knowing no second-class lie, and living the comfy fit of being on the safe inside.

Even the man who started it all, a gentleman of sparse aggrandizement, let loose.

“I’ll have to admit I know what it must feel like to be Barack Obama!” San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom belly-laughed following his rock star reception by crowds.

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Donna Sachet, Catherine Heenan, and Jan Wahl provide commentary
for KRON parade coverage

Photo by Official Pride Photographer Bill Wilson © 2008

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Photo by Official Pride Photographer Bill Wilson © 2008

For his part, Newsom returned a high-sign welcome to the globe.

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Cyndy Lauper, Mayor Newsom, Jennifer Siebel and Margaret Cho
Photo by Official Pride Photographer Bill Wilson © 2008

“On behalf of all of the people of San Francisco, we welcome people from every part of the globe to our great City,” asserted San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

“This has been, from my perspective, one of the most enriching and one of the most fulfilling Pride Parades that I’ve participated in 15 or so years… in what I really think is one of the world’s great celebrations of life, and love, and humanity.

“And I remind people of that because at the end of the day what we are celebrating is not just the LGBTQ community, but we are also celebrating each other.

“We are celebrating our capacity to live together and advance together across our differences.

“We are celebrating all of our uniqueness and our unique expression, but at the same time we are celebrating our unique humanity — that’s what makes me very prideful to be mayor of a remarkable City where I can say that it is absolutely true that good part of the world does look to us to see that that’s possible.

“And we’re proud as well this year because we have the opportunity to bookmark an already extraordinary year with the production team that is going to be celebrating the life and history of our City by celebrating the life and history of Harvey Milk.”

Harvey Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk, who served as a Grand Marshall for the 2008 San Francisco Pride Parade, noted much of the world deigns the word ‘tolerance’ toward the LGBT community.

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Stuart Milk
Photo by Official Pride Photographer Bill Wilson © 2008

Stuart Milk suggested much of the world chuck the world ‘tolerance,’ replacing it with San Franciscan nomenclature ‘inclusion.’

“Riding in the parade as Harvey did 30-years ago as the first openly gay elected official — and, of course, it would be his last gay pride as well — really reminded me of where we’ve come from and still how far we have to go,” reflected Stuart Milk.

“Gavin talked about ‘equality’ and I’m going to change the dialogue a little bit and say that it’s due to an individual like Mayor Newsom who doesn’t backtrack on anyone, who didn’t say, ‘Let’s be tolerant.’

“He said, ‘Let’s be inclusive. Let’s be accepting.’

“It takes individuals like that to move the bar.

“Folks have heard me in the last couple of days talk about ‘tolerance’ because I’ve heard it from some of our national leaders, ‘let’s be tolerant.’

“And yesterday I mentioned that I live in South Florida.

“We have mosquitoes there.

“I’m tolerant of mosquitoes.

“What we embrace and celebrate are ladybugs and dragonflies and that’s what the LGBT community is, and we need to change the dialogue, we need follow the lead of a grand leader like Mayor Newsom and be accepted — not allow the dialogue to change to ‘tolerance.’

“We are stronger as we are included. That’s Harvey’s message. I think it’s absolutely important that we continue that message.

“So we build on what’s happening here in San Francisco. I always say San Francisco is the epicenter.

“It attracts amazing leaders like Mayor Newsom. It attracks amazing people like the Pride Board and the Pride executive director and the whole community.

“Harvey’s message was ‘the us-s.’

“When I was out on the Parade route what I felt was this tremendous diversity with no backtrack. There was no backtrack on transgender issues, there was backtrack on any element of our community.

“It was embracing.

“And it wasn’t tolerance it was acceptance.

“I thank San Francisco for the guidance that we give the nation and in that way the world.”

The world gains new perspective this November as the film ‘Milk 2008′ premiers at the Castro Theatre.

Director Gus Van Sant acknowledged the marriage equality juggernaut itself would make a good movie.

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Gus Van Sant and Lindsey Jones backstage of the main stage
Photo by Official Pride Photographer Bill Wilson © 2008

“Yeah, it would be an interesting movie to make of this period,” Van Sant responded to a Sentinel question.

“We would do anything with Gus,” nodded a Milk 2008 producer.

Van Sant also complimented San Francisco Supervisor, and presumptive California 13th District Assemblyman, Tom Ammiano on playing himself just fine in Milk 2008.

“Tom Ammiano did amazing — one of our great actors and helped a lot with research.

“Everyone else — Frank Robinson, Cleve Jones — helping with years and years on working on like the story and the foundation of the final movie.

“And the movie came out really good, which is fortunate because if it was really bad we wouldn’t be opening in the Castro Theatre in November!”

GUS VAN SANT BEFORE THE HARVEY MILK LGBT DEMOCRATIC CLUB
ANNUAL DINNER

HARVEY MILK’S LAST WORDS

THE BODY OF HARVEY MILK

San Francisco Police Commission President Theresa Sparks spoke of the Stonewall Rebellion as a turning point in the modern-day gay rights movement, several days of rioting led by transgendered persons.

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San Francisco Police Commission President Theresa Sparks
Photo by Official Pride Photographer Bill Wilson © 2008

“Today was fabulous,” Sparks remarked.

“I just want to thank San Francisco for including transgenders in their celebration.

“We’ve been part of the community.

“In Boston they had a trans march, the first one ever, and the T-Shirts they wore said, ‘Remember Stonewall,’ that was us.

“Transgender people have been here from day one.

“We’re still here, and I want to thank the mayor for his support of the transgender community and also San Francisco for including us in everything.”

The Stonewall Rebellion was a series of violent conflicts between LGBT individuals and New York City police officers that began during a June 28 1969 police raid, and lasted several days.

They were centered at the Stonewall Inn and are widely recognized as the catalyst for the modern-day movement towards LGBT rights.

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Also called the Stonewall Uprising, Stonewall Riots, Stonewall Revolution or simply Stonewall, the clash was a watershed for the worldwide gay rights movement, as gay, lesbian and transgender people had never before acted together in such large numbers to forcibly resist police harassment directed towards their community.

Many also credit the events as igniting a movement to celebrate gay pride with events such as pride parades, dyke marches, and — born in San Francisco five years ago — trans marches.

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BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photographer
Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and Bay Area media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past four years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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PAT MURPHY
Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past eleven years. Pat scribes an offbeat opinion column of the human family. Email Pat Murphy at SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com.

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