Monday, January 12, 2009

PGH Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, etc.

Over the holiday my family and I engaged in our X-mas tradition of watching incredibly depressing movies because we are not in church or at mass. This year we decided to take on Milk--Gus Van Zant's biopic of the first "out" gay politician in the United States. Whilst I was a little skeptical of the selection of this topic and this figure to give voice to a particular moment in the history of LGBT struggle, not to mention I had heard that Sean Penn performs a "slow" or seemingly "touched" version of this San Francisco council member, I found myself enjoying this movie.

As opposed to Broke Back Mountain, the first mass market film about the loneliness, isolation, and (in this case, muted) violence of closeted, but practicing, queer life for two cowboys, this film attempts to link its protagonist to a movement and a struggle, something Harvey Milk himself was adamant to foreground throughout his career. Van Zant actually does an excellent job of connecting Milk's story to the story of this moment of struggle. Whereas I found myself feeling rather unelated and disconnected from Broke Back (which incidentally produced a slew of pornographic knock-offs based solely on name parallels), I felt "moved" by aspects of this film. Also, unlike Elephant, where Van Zant obliquely implies that the Columbine teen agents of massacre were acting on some repressed homosexual tendencies, Dan White's reasons for killing Milk, along with San Francisco's mayor, are left ambiguous.

Official Trailer Below:

Watching Milk, reminded me of one of Harvey Milk's most powerful nemeses, Anita Bryant. The singer, citus-council spokeswoman, and anti-gay christiano-facist whose legacy is still with us, worked to enable state governments to make legalize discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Here she is getting hit by a pie and weeping:

Bryant's legacy is apparently felt here in Pittsburgh where the county is about to vote on whether or not to include sexual orientation in an employment and housing non-discrimination ordinance. I fucking swear, in every middle-class gay's rabid pursuit off the gay marriage issue, we forgot the issues that are actually much more vital to all queer people.

I've posted some info below on this ordinance, voted on today by the city:

Did you know that in Allegheny County it is legal to fire someone from their job simply because that person may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?  It unfortunately is true, and happens even today all too often.  We need your support to end this discrimination, and help pass a county-wide non-discrimination ordinance that would protect all LGBT people.

This past summer, Councilwoman Amanda Green introduced legislation prohibiting discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment, housing and public accomodations.

Take action now by asking your Councilperson to support Ordinance 4201-08, a county-wide non-discrimination ordinance!

We also need to show the County Council that their constituents support fairness for all people. A hearing for public comment on this ordinance will take place on January 15th at 5:00 p.m. at the Allegheny County Courthouse, 436 Grant Street, Pittsburgh on the fourth floor Gold Room. 

The American Family Association of Pennsylvania has mobilized their membership against this ordinance, and we need to show Councilmembers the broad-based support this bill has! 

Please take a moment to e-mail your councilmember, and attend this hearing.  We must stand up for our voices to be heard!

  • Please join us by writing to your councilperson! Let them know that you think it is only fair to protect LGBT people from being fired, thrown out of their homes, or refused services, simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. Your voice is especially important if you have been the victim of this type of discrimination!

    Go here to let your council member know about your support (that is, if you live in Pittsburgh or Allegheny County).

    Update: the ordinance passed unanimously.

    Anal Slut said...

    Haven't seen Milk yet but I'm getting it via Blockbuster.

    Homophobic Christians need to be taught a lesson.

    Himself said...

    OK, I reviewed this. I do agree with your review though – I was moved by this film, though that said I was also moved by Brokeback – but that was only because I saw it for what it was, an essentially heterosexual story of not being able to be with the one you want, and that's what struck a chord with me qua hetero.