Harvey answers the phone and it’s some gay kid from Minnesota. The kid is thinking of killing himself. Harvey’s distracted but tries to focus: “No, no, don’t do that. Get on a bus. Go to the nearest big city. Go to Minneapolis or New York or LA. It doesn’t matter what anyone says. You’re not sick. You’re not wrong. God doesn’t hate you.”

It’s true what they’re saying: Sean Penn is incredible. I’m a Milk completist and I had to concentrate, hard, to see that it was Penn in the role, so absolutely does he disappear into Milk. It’s Gus Van Sant’s masterpiece, the film he was born to make. It’s painful, of course, and some parts of it were very hard to watch: Prop 6 so neatly prefiguring Prop 8, but without the wrenching end; the murderer walking through the City Hall where my dear friends married last month. The candlelit march down Market.

But it was at “Get on the bus” that I started crying. GLBT history doesn’t matter only to GLBT people. It matters to all the fellow travellers, to anyone who likes opera or books better than football or stock car racing, to anyone who even just doesn’t want people like us dead. Weird kids, misfits, outsiders. “Get on the bus”; where would I be now, if no one had said it to me? “Get to the nearest big city. You’re not wrong. God doesn’t hate you.”

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.