Last night Stuart Milk came to LJMU to give a really evocative and at times harrowing talk on continuing his uncle Harvey Milk’s work and the Harvey Milk Foundation.
The main message from Stuart was for people to be VISIBLE and celebrate in their individuality, differences and uniqueness. This is something I resonate in that each person is their own person and each individual is different. There has to be difference and individuality in the world, without it what a boring place we would have to endure!
A brief history on Harvey Milk and his legacy was that he was elected as one of the world’s openly gay officials in San Francisco. This was a huge leap forward and a leap that symbolised freedom and ultimately peace for LGBT men and women worldwide. Harvey only served 11 months in public office before he was assassinated after receiving numerous death threats (signed usually) every single day. Despite this, he continued to be visible in his city, community and ultimately a nation and continues to be an inspiration to many LGBT individuals. Peace and justice were Harvey’s motivation and drive, a place were people can be people and not be a label or another statistic.
Sometimes, people can go out and seek fame and fortune as an LGBT individual and activist and the may forget the struggle that people have faced and the brutality people are still enduring because of their differences. By this I mean, some celebrities or local names from the LGBT community who come to events just to push buttons or to tell their personal stories. For me, that’s not what is important, everybody has their stories to tell and voices can never and should never be silenced. However, instead people should make their mark and impact in whatever way they can, maybe starting with education and maybe becoming a Diversity Role Model if you’re in the UK. On the poor quality photo I took last night, there are some images of Milan Rozsa who, before last night, I had never heard of but who really struck accord and reached out to me.
Milan Rozsa led and supported Stuart Milk when he attended a Budapest Pride March in 2011 and he worked tirelessly as an activist in his home city. In 2014, his activism came to an end and he was killed by a train. Looking through local newspapers that reported his death namely The Budapest Beacon and The Hungarian Free Press, reported he had committed suicide, yet Stuart suggested there was a more sinister reason for his death. Either way, this amazing activist and strong individual continued to fight, protest, march and be visible in anyway that he could. Although no longer here, he was likened to Harvey Milk in his sheer perseverance and visibility in all he fought for. To me, Milan is the ultimate example of strength and solidarity, he wanted to make the impact for LGBT equality and he helped on the path towards that.
For me, the message from Stuart was loud and clear, be visible in all that you do and one day you may be able to shake the labels. For me, people are people and I enjoy spending time with people of all shapes, colours, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, cultures and beliefs.
There is already enough hatred in the world, why not just be nice to all people and enjoy their differences? Surely it’s more difficult to be mean than it is to smile?