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”You are not sick, you are not wrong, and God does not hate you.

” Sean Penn channeling the late Harvey Milk spoke these words to the young man on the phone drowning in desperation. The young man was gay, what he wanted others did not want for him. This caged life focused on his own instincts, on his own nature. His parents, the people who loved him, wanted to change him. Like all parents they felt they knew what was best for their child. They were to take him to hospital to “fix him.” “You just get on a bus, to the nearest big city, to Los Angeles or New York or San Fransisco, it doesn’t matter, you just leave.” Harvey made his plea. As the crowd outside surged, emotions sparking like static, igniting and descending. ”I can’t. I can’t walk sir.” The tears welled in the boy’s eyes. The ubiquitous overbearance of his parents, of his friends, of every opinion about him, about who he was, expressed either in secret or openly had broken him. He was broken, he’d lost or perhaps never had faith in his identity. Harvey knew this, Harvey was this, and in haste and in synch with the boy’s unstoppable despondancy Harvey pondered his next words. However, before he could utter them Jim Rivaldo burst into the room in a panic. “Harvey you gotta get down there right now, there’s gonna be a riot!” Harvey’s thoughts split between the crowd and the boy, both symptomatic of the gay rights issue, but when his thoughts returned to the suicidal teenager the boy was gone. The line clicked. It was too late, another lost, or who knows?

He rushed to his feet grabbed his jacket, and the megaphone gifted to him by the Union Boys so many campaigns ago, and went down to the Castro. Anger brimmed within all, especially him, and he needed to save his people from the ruthless and obtuse San Francisco PD, while finding a way to answer the self appointed angel of God, Anita Bryant. He looked out upon the crowd, who for better or worse considered him a leader. They marched the streets to City Hall, defying the world with a singular chant. “We’ve got power too Fight Back!” He spoke. “I know you’re angry, I’m angry too! Let’s march the streets of San Francisco and share our anger!” The energy infected all. The crowd enlisted; all together for endless political warfare.

By Richard Mayer