this is my compass

Towleroad: I grew up in a very conservative Mormon military household in San Antonio, Texas. I knew from the age of six what people would call me if they ever discovered my “secret.” Faggot. Deviant. Sinner. I’d heard those words ever since I can remember. I knew that I was going to Hell. I was sure God did not love me. It was clear as day that I was “less than” the other kids, and that if anyone ever found out about my little secret, beyond suffering physical harm, I would surely bring great shame to my family. So I had two choices: to hide—to go on a Mormon mission, to get married and have a small Mormon family (eight to twelve kids)—or to do what I’d thought about many a time while daydreaming in Texas history class: take my own life. Thankfully, there weren’t enough pills (fun or otherwise) inside my Mormon mother’s medicine cabinet, so I pretended and I hid and I cried myself to sleep more Sabbath nights than I care to remember. Then, when I was twelve years old, I had a turn of luck. My mom remarried a Catholic Army soldier who had orders to ship out to Fort Ord in Salinas, California. There I discovered a new family, the theater and soon, San Francisco. That’s when it happened. I was almost fourteen when I heard a recording of a speech. It had been delivered on June 9, 1978, the same year my biological father had moved my family out to San Antonio. It was delivered by what I was told was an “out” gay man. His name was Harvey Milk (EXCLUSIVE: Milk Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black on Milk, 30 Years Later).

Wikipedia: Dustin Lance Black (born 10 June 1974) is an American screenwriter, director, film and television producer, and LGBT rights activist. He has won two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the television series Big Love and an Academy Award for the 2008 film Milk. Black told the Daily Bruin that “You hear people say, ‘This is my reason for being here. This is my compass.’ For me, that’s ‘Milk.’ I wanted to maybe inspire the younger generation to start becoming activists in a grassroots way. There’s a lot of stuff that still needs changing not just gay rights (Dustin Lance Black).

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