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Dustin Lance Black marks 40 years since Harvey Milk’s assassination

Dustin Lance Black marks 40 years since Harvey Milk’s assassination

Dustin Lance Black and Harvey Milk | Photos: Wiki

Believe it or not, it’s 40 years since LGBTI icon Harvey Milk passed away.

The US politician, who was openly gay, lost his life on 27 November 1978. He was at San Francisco City Hall when he was assassinated by Dan White.

He immediately became an icon for gay men, and the entire LGBTI community.

His life and work advocating for LGBTI rights were of course captured in the Oscar-winning 2008 biopic Milk.

The movie famously starred Sean Penn and was written by Dustin Lance Black. It depicted Milk’s journey to becoming one of the first openly LGBTI politicians in the world.

Dustin, the husband of Olympic diver Tom, marked the anniversary on social media [above].

‘Many feared his legacy was being lost’

The star also gave an interview to Focus Features marking 10 years since the making of Milk.

Speaking about the years preceding production, Dustin said: ‘I was working as a writer on the HBO show Big Love. Every weekend, I would drive to Palm Springs or San Francisco to meet with people. […] Harvey Milk’s friends, co-conspirators, and even those who knew him but didn’t agree with him.

‘From those conversations, I learned more about the man than I had from other books or documentaries and was able to construct an original story about Milk.’

Speaking about Milk’s legacy, he added: ‘Before the movie, whenever I brought up Harvey Milk’s name outside of San Francisco, all I got was blank stares. Sure, a certain generation who lived in San Francisco knew who he was. In fact, many of them were quite disappointed that a mainstream depiction of his life had yet to come to fruition.’

He later added: ‘Many feared his legacy was being lost, and for LGBTQ+ people, who already suffer from having no well-recorded history, it was a tremendous loss. Now people in London or Spain or anywhere in the world know who he is.’

‘Charismatic, funny’

Writing for The Guardian, Harvey’s close friend and colleague Cleve Jones remembered Harvey as ‘charismatic, funny and something of a father figure to me.’

The former City Hall intern furthermore added: ‘He was one of the first people to tell me that I had value as a human being and that I didn’t need to change.’

A march in remembrance of Milk will take place in San Francisco tonight. For details, click here.

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